Kelly Bengston is Senior Vice President, Chief Procurement Officer at Starbucks. Kelly is responsible for enhancing Starbucks enterprise-wide functional strategic sourcing and supplier relationships, creating consistent global sourcing processes, developing a sourcing talent management program and building a values-based approach to working with suppliers across all categories of the business.
Kelly has held numerous leadership positions during her 8-plus years with Starbucks. Most recently, Kelly served as Vice President of Starbucks Global Supply Chain’s Strategy & Deployment team, a new team created under Kelly to support Starbucks supply chain’s aspirations of becoming digitized, strategically aligning resources against priorities and building capabilities through long-term capacity planning and supply chain intelligence.
Prior to joining Starbucks, Kelly gained broad experience in packaging, product development, manufacturing, and project management at Macy’s, Bensussen Deutsch, Cranium and Hasbro. She enjoys running, traveling, and spending time with her family. Her favorite Starbucks beverage is Nitro Cold Brew.
Can you share a little more about your day-to-day role and responsibilities as the Chief Procurement Officer for Starbucks?
I am fortunate to have an amazing job, working for an amazing company. My day-to-day is filled with connecting with great partners and suppliers to deliver products and services to our stores and customers.
Anecdotally, I have been hearing of huge increases in the amount being paid to sourcing professionals in recent years. From the top down, that has been true. As you know, we have a Career Network at SIG and I keep a folder of executives looking to move on to other senior leadership roles, so I know what kind of packages they are getting since I do a lot of match-making.
In the last five years, I have seen that starting salaries for a recent college graduate are at least 25% higher in the sourcing industry. It is not at all odd for a person with three years of experience to command a minimum salary of $100,000 a year. Ten years ago, I didn’t have a single CPO making over $500,000, and now that is becoming a possibility for fully-loaded compensation. Of course, talent-level, cost of living, and location make a huge difference in the numbers. At the Midwestern Regional SIGnature Event in March, I confirmed the jump in salaries for sourcing professionals.
A master’s degree intern from a strong supply chain or finance school commands $31 per hour for a paid internship and an undergraduate intern makes about $26per hour. What happened to the free internships we vied for when I was an undergrad? Interns now make the equivalent of $54,000-$64,000 per year as an intern. I know someone that was named “intern of the year” at a high tech company who was offered a starting salary of $85,000 after receiving a bachelor’s degree, and they turned it down - that was four years ago.
Jane Zhang is the Co-Founder of ETCH Sourcing, a Canada based consultancy specializing in providing strategy and execution services in the sourcing, procurement and category management space. She loves people, solving problems, and has years of expertise working throughout the entire sourcing spectrum, from building and executing multi-million-dollar tactical strategies, to being entrusted with some of the most complex and strategic contractual negotiations on business-critical projects. Graduating from the Haskayne School of Business twice over with a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and an MBA in Finance with a focus on Global Energy Management and Sustainability, she has returned to build and teach business contract negotiations with her Co-Founder as a part of giving back and elevating her alma mater.
Jane is passionate about education is a member for multiple boards, most notable is her role as Board Director and Chief Operating Officer of a non-profit designed to connect children aged 8-13 with industry learning and development through play.
Jane’s latest passion is to champion the role of sustainability in procurement and is celebrating the launch of ETCH’s sustainable procurement offering, which integrates the UN SDGs as a sustainability function into the procurement process from an end-to-end perspective.
It’s no secret that technology, data analytics, globalization, and other factors have completely changed many aspects of modern business. Supply chains are wider than ever, sales and procurement strategies are increasingly predictive thanks to advance data approaches, and more companies are outsourcing work and relying on contractors.
Amid all this, the C-suite has seemed relatively stable. A business might have a CEO, a COO, a CFO, or other executives, but they tend to focus on business processes within their domains of expertise. But increasingly, it looks like those widespread shifts in other departments have reached the C-suite.
Whether through collaborations or new roles, the executive level in many companies has been adapting to new realities. Here’s how they’re doing it.
The technological shifts and trend toward outsourcing have been a boom for bottom lines, but they have also made the nature of business decision-making more complex. Consider, for example, the role of a CIO. For years, information and technology managers chose and oversaw the implementation of network solutions for a company to use in-house. But now that many businesses hire outside firms to handle cloud storage, data security, and other essential IT functions, the CIO’s role has changed. Now they are having to think more about purchasing, contracts and third-party risks, like a CPO, and about strategy and long-term competitiveness, like a CEO.
As a result, the traditional walls between those positions have begun to break down. The CIO in the example above can’t move forward with new contracts or strategy without consulting their peers in the C-suite. Likewise, if a procurement officer or human resources lead want to implement new software solutions that can add value and intelligence to their departments—an increasingly common occurrence—they’ll benefit from consultation and buy-in from the CIO.
Patrick Gahagan, Director of Contract Compliance Audit Services at SC&H Group
“Fake it ‘til you make it.” This unattributed idiom (with a nod to Aristotle) is oft-used advice to people early in their careers. But how wise is it to follow? How many people have résumés that truly portray their strengths vs. a laundry list of what they want you to believe about their abilities? How confident would any shareholder be if they believed the CEO got to the top by faking their skills rather than building them? But more importantly, is it a person’s skills that give you confidence in their leadership abilities?
If you think about the last person who truly inspired you, was it their title…or the last three companies where they worked that piqued your interest? Was it their ability to run a shareholders’ meeting, analyze volumes of data and manage their exceedingly crowded schedule that excited you? Doubt it. When you think of someone who is truly motivational, you are usually moved by the things that don’t make it on to the résumé: their heart, integrity, authenticity and ability to enroll others in their beliefs and passions. It’s not because of their title.
It’s About Mindset
Too often, CEOs have the mindset that what has gotten them here will get them there. If they have successfully led profitable companies, why would they have any reason to believe they need to evolve? When things aren’t working, it doesn’t take much convincing that something has to change. But when they are…CEOs often don’t understand the need. They have the pedigree and the track record – and past accomplishments are a good indicator of future success – so why fix what isn’t broken?
Jon Kesman is the Head of Services Procurement with Allegis Global Solutions (AGS). With more than 20 years of procurement operations, sourcing and category management experience across various industries and global organizations, Jon is responsible for developing strategy, structure and operations for AGS’ procurement product. A self-proclaimed procurement geek, Jon shares what he’s learned over the course of his career, his definition of success and what excites him about the changes and development in procurement today.
Can you talk about your background and education--how did you get involved in procurement?
I actually have my degree in Purchasing and Operations Management from Michigan State University, so it’s all I’ve really known from a professional perspective. I guess I am officially a procurement geek! I started my career as a buyer at IBM. Then I moved on to procurement and sourcing consulting roles with Accenture where I was exposed to so many elements of value within this space, whether that was a full-on procurement transformation effort, or just some sourcing work to drive savings. I’ve spent over 20 years now in various procurement roles, almost evenly split between both the buy-side and the sell-side.
Ever heard of a thing called inertia? Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion, or the tendency to do nothing. In business speak, this phenomenon is often characterized as analysis paralysis. In a corporate world of business cases, business plans, strategic roadmaps and the push to constantly sell, align and achieve, it’s no wonder procurement leaders are drowning in what needs to be done, but struggle to scratch the surface. How can it be that a top procurement leader whose very career path has been the result of their outstanding productivity and accolades suddenly faces a precipice of declining performance and the disastrous stagnation of innovation? Simple. Because their knowledge impedes creativity, causing inertia.
Procurement leaders who have spent the entirety of their career in one industry, one company, or one function, namely procurement, subconsciously experience limiting beliefs—and by limiting I mean success-hindering, momentum-killing beliefs—about themselves and the procurement function. Without ever intending it, procurement leaders often poison their potential by allowing their knowledge and experience to cloud their creativity and vision of what they can imagine going forward. They often resist any change to the current state of operations because they are so focused on delivering in the here and now. Even if they manage to recall their vision for a world-class procurement organization, the age-old question emerges: where do I even begin? The path of least resistance is to simply do nothing, to change nothing; the alternative could lead to failure. To these skeptics wary of innovative change, I’d like to pose the question: isn’t the very act of doing still far more productive than the act of thinking or talking about doing something, regardless of the outcome?
When was the last time a presentation inspired you? Seriously…think about it. Now envision the last speaker who truly motivated you and ask yourself, was it their slides? (Dramatic pause.) I’m willing to bet that what got your attention had virtually nothing to do with the content presented…and everything to do with how it was delivered.
When presenting to an executive audience, this is even more critical. You have only a few minutes to convince your audience that the most valuable way they can spend their time right now is by tuning in to what you are saying. So, as you prepare for that next opportunity to speak in front of executives, keep these things in mind.
Set their expectations – They call it an executive “briefing” for a reason and the execs in attendance will be chomping at the bit to ask questions. Let them know at the outset that you will provide plenty of time for discussion.
As we move further into arguably one of the worst hurricane seasons in history, our minds and hearts become even more focused on those who were affected by some of the most recent hurricanes. Each news outlet has been sharing the accounts of ordinary people performing heroic acts to save the lives of their neighbors and even strangers. In times of natural disasters, we often find our humanity and the need to reach out a hand to those in desperate need.
I wonder what happens when tragedy is not raining down? Where is the humanity? I would suggest that it is ever present if we choose to look for it. Humanity is shown in the small acts of kindness such as when a stranger goes out of their way to help someone with their luggage, or when a wallet is found and returned in complete condition.
Gandhi stated, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
In business, leaders must be the humanity, providing servant leadership to our teams as they struggle through the daily work challenges. We must remember that our role as leaders is likened to that of a silent hero, focused on helping others in a time of need and without personal recognition.
Here are five things you can do right now to add humanity into your work culture:
Mark Pollack, Vice President, SIG University and Chief Strategy Officer, SIG
I recently finished two-and-a-half days at Singularity University’s Global Summit (not to be confused with our own SIG Global Summit!). It was an incredible, mind-blowing, education-packed few days. Singularity packs their event with high-energy speakers who speak passionately on their area of expertise. I heard presentations on virtual reality, augmented reality, healthcare, leadership, socially responsible business, entrepreneurship, the future of work and so much more. The presentations covered a wide variety of topics, but they all had one thing in common…they all made you think about the possibilities…they all challenged the status quo…and they all embraced the concept that disruptive technologies are changing our world exponentially.
No session covered this better than keynote David Roberts whose core message was that slight variations in key assumptions could have a HUGE impact on our future. In his impassioned, funny and moving presentation Roberts connected the dots on some of the most exponential technologies our world has seen by asking everyone to consider some “what ifs” in life. His enthusiastic presentation and challenging questions inspired me to dig further.
What if…your phone was smarter than you? In 2013, Gartner predicted that by 2017 smart phones would, in fact be smarter than humans. Are they? Artificial intelligence (AI) has certainly progressed to such a point that you might argue that they are. In an article and related research, Gartner presented four phases of cognizant computing: