I am sure you've all heard the big announcement by now. Today, November 12, 2019, Disney+ is released and millions of fans will have access to all of the wonderful Disney (and Disney owned) content from over the years. This will surely excite fans of the classics like Lion King and Toy Story, but also those who revel in the new age marvels like The Avengers. Disney drives to reinvent the way they distribute content to fans of all ages by going modern and introducing a state of the art streaming platform.

If a business, organization, product, or even an idea is to remain relevant, it must adapt to the times. Disney+ is far from the first streaming provider that only offers content from their own making or ownership. HBO, BET, and a multitude of other platforms all do the same thing. The competition driving this trend gives consumers more of a choice and gives businesses a leg up over others IF they can do it well. As an avid media consumer, my only hope is that I don’t end up with 8+ subscriptions to keep tabs on my favorite content.

But what about other spaces? And because this is a procurement blog, what about procurement? It’s time that we start doing things differently, too. And that’s just what the Chicago Chapter of ISM’s Emerging Leaders Committee aims to do.

On the day before Halloween, October 30th, 2019, the Emerging Leaders group held their first event, “Bridging the Talent Gap.” The city atmosphere was rainy and a bit dreary, but the facilities of HERE Technologies featured a welcoming environment, sophisticated décor, and (obviously) state of the art technology. Marie Mensah, a seasoned consultant in the procurement field, took the stage and gave a wonderful presentation focused on the career development of sourcing professionals. A panel discussion with industry experts soon followed. The session ended with an interactive breakout activity of group work and presentations by the event attendees. You can find more about what happened here.

This event answered some serious questions about Procurement. And no, it wasn’t about best practices or sourcing strategies. It answered, “What do rising experts want from a professional organization?”

Through a comprehensive survey (and candid conversation over happy hour drinks), we found some great gems to share with you.

1. More representation and diversity

Representation and diversity mean a lot of things here. First, let’s start with the obvious. The world is becoming more diverse and Chicago is a hub for that representation. The panel consisted of individuals from different backgrounds and origins. But the panel was also split well between men and women. Furthermore, the room was filled with a wide range of industries. Manufacturing, Finance, Technology, Healthcare, and many others found tremendous value in the event. In addition, roles expanded beyond just procurement.

Using what we learned, we can adapt our roadmap for the future. For future events, we will strive to involve a diverse set of industry experts and include more than the traditional procurement role. This will feature activities that individuals in Audit, Finance, Vendor Management, and Project Management will benefit from and enjoy. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, says, “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.”

2. More hands-on learning at events

The highlight for many attendees was the workshop and presentations during the event. The opportunity to work together with other professionals, share and debate ideas, and then present to the broader audience is the precise level of engagement participants want from an educational/development event.

Moving forward, more events will be focused on hands-on activities and workshops. Part of our goals will be to focus on attendee participation and direct learning outcomes that put learning material into practice. This comes from the well-known quote, “Tell Me and I Forget; Teach Me and I May Remember; Involve Me and I Learn.”

Future events will put attendees in real situations. Imagine participants being able to provide material procurement advice to small businesses around Chicago or influence large corporations or governmental policies based on the results of an ISM workshop or event.

A fascinating part of this practice is that it follows the best parts of the CPSM certification learning track.

3. More brews! I mean…. networking

To put it bluntly, people are shy. But also, by overwhelming amounts, people want to network. Many see networking as one of the most valuable tools to advance their career, often saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” And this is true. LinkedIn’s massive success is due to the shared desire to build professional networks. It’s one of the purest ways to share expertise while engaging in meaningful interaction.

Work Hard, Play Hard. After spending a few hours learning or workshopping an idea or concept, unwinding over drinks and hors d’oeuvres is the perfect ending to the day. This not only allows for the wonderful enjoyment of signature cocktails, but also creates the ideal space for expanding on that great topic from earlier, pitching something completely new to listening ears, or showing off that neat new party trick you’ve been waiting to display.

The ISM Emerging Leaders Committee aims to do something different here in Chicago and inspire innovation across the globe. We welcome creativity and listen to what the budding professionals want. We are resolute in driving engagement through diverse representation, interactive activities, and meaningful networking.

Please contact ISM Chicago if you are interested in joining the team.
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Brandon Hummons

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