Source One Consultant Kaitlyn Krigbaum found her way into Supply Management by way of a non-traditional career path. "I'm not sure I had an epiphany-type moment," she says.

The spark that brought her to Source One wasn't so much a single moment of inspiration as it was a years-long process of developing expertise and recognizing opportunity.

That process brought her to new heights recently with a spot on the Institute for Supply Management's annual 30 Under 30 list. Recognized as one of her field's rising stars, she sat down with the Strategic Sourceror to discuss her professional journey and vision for Procurement's future.

Out of college, Kaitlyn entered the mental health field. While developing and executing client treatment plans was rewarding work, she soon realized her true passions were elsewhere.

"I grew interested," she remarks, "in seeing if I could transfer my skill set. Working as a counselor enabled me to refine skills I think i innately possess, and it also fueled my curiosity. I wondered how empathy and advocacy would serve me in a business setting."

Curiosity drove Kaitlyn to enter the recruiting space where she soon identified a specialty - staffing Procurement and Supply Chain positions.

A key milestone came when Kaitlyn realized she was getting the same piece of feedback again and again. "I was told that I was getting good at asking the question behind the question." She continues, "That was when it became clear that this was the place for me. In fact, consulting started to look like a dream career."

It didn't always strike Kaitlyn as a great fit. With a degree in Psychology and English, she didn't believe she possessed the analytical skills necessary to operate in a Procurement setting. The field conjured images of little more than "spreadsheets and interpreting data."

Today, Kaitlyn recognizes she was selling herself short and viewing Procurement through too narrow a lens. She credits a mentor with helping her see things differently and put more faith in her 'outsider's perspective.'

"I had a mentor," she says, "who explained to me that experience often gets in the way of creativity. He said that sometimes coming from outside the function helps you approach things in an out-of-the-box way."

She believes that organizations across Supply Chain Management are starting to think the same way. Identifying new sources of talent, they're empowering Procurement to embrace new responsibilities and drive a new caliber of results. A big part of that effort includes embracing so-called 'soft skills' to humanize the function.

Kaitlyn contrasts the new, more humane style of Procurement with the old way of doing things. "At one point in time," she says, "it was more acceptable to beat down suppliers and deploy strong-arm tactics. Today, I think they're been a real paradigm shift. We're working to understand the needs of our suppliers and pushing for win-win scenarios."

This shift comes down to a change in priorities. While hiring managers and business leaders once advocated for high IQ alone, they're increasingly interested in emotional intelligence. They're searching for a balance of IQ and EQ. That balance, Kaitlyn suggests, is what will distinguish the next generation of Supply Chain rising stars.

The search for a new, more balanced set of skills is also what inspired Kaitlyn to take the lead in developing Source One's Human Resources service offering. Supporting each stage of the staffing and recruiting process, she encourages clients to broaden their perspective and hire to Procurement's future. Once they've brought top-notch talent aboard, they count on Kaitlyn to ensure they invest in the right tools, implement the right processes, and introduce the right training programs to best engage their teams. 

Tune into the Source One Podcast this Friday for more of Kaitlyn's thoughts on the value of diverse expertise and the steps businesses can take to nurture their rising stars.
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