“It’s not about ‘what can I accomplish?’ but ‘what do I want to accomplish?’ Paradigm shift.” –Brene Brown
On Friday, my LinkedIn feed was full of inspirational quotes and accomplishments in celebration of International Women’s Day. I loved seeing my peers, colleagues, and former bosses posting about the inspiring female leaders who have impacted their lives in some way.
At Scout, we celebrate leaders every day, and I couldn’t think of a better way to do so than share our first SPARK 2019 video session with you, featuring three accomplished Sourcing and Procurement leaders in the Bay Area.
When we set out to plan SPARK, our goal was to dive deeper into this wonderful industry of Sourcing to help leaders do more for their teams and their business. One question we wanted to address: how do leaders manage company goals, talent, team satisfaction, and even misguided perceptions? So we invited Rendi Miller, VP, Corporate Services & Source-to-Pay at Zendesk, Jeri Sessler, Managing Director and Founder at SDMR Advisory Services, and Anagha Kale, Senior Director, Global Strategic Sourcing at VMware to take center stage and share what it takes to lead high-growth procurement organizations.
Watch the SPARK session below to hear their insights:
Confidence, Talent, and Impact: Making a Procurement Leader
Feel free to watch this session at any time. Read on for a summary and insights from the engaging panel. A huge thank you to Rendi, Jeri, and Anagha for being our speakers at SPARK 2019. You inspire us all!
What are some of the barriers that women face in leadership and how do we overcome those?
“It’s really important to quiet that internal voice in your head, which is saying you don’t have all the skills needed for the job. That’s the number one thing: stop that internal dialogue. Then the second thing is surrounding yourself with people who are going to help you get there.” – Anagha Kale
“Find a mentor. That mentor isn’t always your boss. It’s somebody who you can resonate with, who you can bounce ideas off of in a safe environment, and somebody who can help guide you and advise you.” – Jeri Sessler
“Sometimes we can be our own worst barrier. We don’t ask for things, and I always tell my team or anyone that I’m talking with, that you will never get what you don’t ask for.” – Rendi Miller
How do you look at additional leadership roles and purse them both inside and outside your organization?
“You don’t have to just look at what’s out there. Go create something yourself if you’re not finding what you want.” – Rendi Miller
“Find things that both expand your network and add some different skillset to the work that you do.” – Anagha Kale
“Indulge in your intellectual curiosity. Ask good questions of your leadership. Show up and volunteer for things.” – Jeri Sessler
How have you gained the experience or the confidence needed for a leadership role? What do you do when you feel that confidence slipping?
“How do I relate what I’ve done in the past to what I’m doing now? Just try to figure out the puzzle and if you can see a pattern. If I can see the puzzle, then I can work it and that gives me the confidence to move forward. Then I research, research, research.” – Jeri Sessler
“The other thing that really helps me to be confident is in the people that I have around me–my team and my network. I don’t know it all but I that I’ve got people anywhere and everywhere that I can go to.” – Rendi Miller
Could you talk about a role that you found particularly empowering or satisfying and why it was that way for you?
“One of the most satisfying roles that I’ve had is when I led the Center of Excellence for sourcing. That’s really because it gave me an overview of many different aspects of the company.” – Anagha Kale
“My most satisfying leadership role is being a mom. I look at that as one of the greatest leadership roles that I have been offered and privileged to have. No matter where anybody is in their career, you can be a leader in whatever role that you have ” – Rendi Miller
“I’m a builder. I hate maintaining. Consulting is perfect for me because you go in, you resolve the issue, you help your client, and you go on to the next issue. I like being arms deep.” – Jeri Sessler
What are some ways that you have seen your team really shine and demonstrate that leadership potential?
“For the consulting firms and the clients that I’ve worked with, my team members are asked to do extraordinary things with limited resources. I just think of what they can possibly do, and then they just show up, they keep showing up, and it’s magic.” – Jeri Sessler
“If you see training or skill gaps in your organization, bring them up and then volunteer to do something about it. That to me will stand out. It says that you’re thinking about the next thing that needs to happen.” – Anagha Kale
“I’ve seen my team really rise to the occasion of leadership; not just leading me, but leading themselves and leading other more junior team members. That has impressed me to see, and not because they’ve been asked but because they’ve stepped up and have done that on their own accord.” – Rendi Miller
What advice to give talent coming up in their careers?
“People tend to want to have a lane and they want a lane with very high walls and a very straight road. So in terms of advancing careers, the best advice I can give anywhere here–young or old–is to get cozy with ambiguity.” – Jeri Sessler
“Take more risks in your career. Career paths are rarely linear. In fact, they mostly zigzag. You would much rather take that risk and be disappointed that it didn’t work out than to regret never having gone for it.” – Anagha Kale
“I recently heard someone say your network is your net worth. That really kind of says it all in a very short, concise statement. Don’t be afraid to ask. You will never get what you don’t ask for.” – Rendi Miller
It is never easy to lead with the passion to change the world and the world of work around you. I applaud all women who have shown up, sought opportunities, asked questions, taken risks, and led their teams to success as well as the women whose achievements have been overshadowed. Progress over perfection is what drives the unstoppable us. Thank you Anagha, Jeri, and Rendi, we couldn’t do this without you and we can’t do any of this without all of you.