When she’s not challenging the status quo and meeting her budget targets at the bank, Debbie helps to make her community a better place as the leader of the Huntington Women's Network Business Resource Group and as a volunteer with various Columbus charity organizations. A big believer in the power of personal connections, Debbie talks about her role at the bank, the importance of utilizing technology and her tips for building professional relationships that can pay off down the line. Debbie is well-known in the SIG community as a member of the SIG Thought Leadership Council, the SIG University Advisory Board and she leads the Steering Committee of the Risk Management Association’s Third Party Management Round Table.
Your keynote presentation at the Columbus CPO Meet and Eat was about tail spend management--why is this such a hot topic?
Huntington’s sourcing team, like many other companies, is lean. Identifying ways to direct low-dollar, high-transaction volume spend to a consistent, repeatable process through catalogs, spot-buys amongst preferred providers or non-catalog PO’s helps focus the team on more strategic projects while maintaining cost discipline in the tail.
Can you share a little more about your day-to-day role and responsibilities as a Chief Sourcing Officer?
I have responsibility for Procurement across all disciplines and categories from sourcing through contracting. Our performance is measured on cost-over-cost reduction, support of the segment’s strategic priorities and risk mitigation through the negotiation of contracts. We work closely with the third-party risk management team to ensure the appropriate due diligence is conducted prior to execution of contracts. We also support the supplier diversity program. My day is packed with meetings to communicate with internal stakeholders or external suppliers and offering support and guidance to the team on negotiation strategies and approvals of final negotiated contracts.
You were just inducted into the Future of Sourcing Awards Supernova Hall of Fame. What career or practical advice do you have for people who are looking to grow their skills and make an impact in the sourcing and procurement field?
Network. Network. Network. SIG is an exceptional place to build relationships and learn what others are doing. Take advantage of the tools available in the SIG Resource Center. Volunteer for SIG projects or be an online instructor for SIG University. The relationships you can establish in this organization and others will serve you well throughout your career. Use LinkedIn to connect with experts, fellow procurement professionals and suppliers. I use it routinely to identify escalation points within a supplier’s organization or find companies who are connected to prospective suppliers. Get on ListServs for relevant topics of interest to your business and follow experts on LinkedIn to enrich your news feeds. And finally, stay in touch with a pipeline of prospective talent.
What are some examples of how technology has changed or impacted the way you approach your job?
I manage the workflow and report metrics on the performance of the team using an online project management system. We recently executed an agreement for eSignature, having moved to electronic signature via Adobe’s off-the-shelf signature process so I rarely print a document. These electronic signatures are routed for signature and uploaded into our contract system in digital form. Spend analytics and research of invoices is fully electronic with our procure-to-pay and spend analytics tools. RFP’s are submitted electronically via the eSourcing tool or spot buys in the procure-to-pay system. I am connected via laptop, iPad with virtual desktop and iPhone with access to our intranet via mobile devices, so I can literally work anywhere.
What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?
It’s a great training ground for colleagues seeking development opportunities. We are connected to every business function in the bank with visibility into their strategic priorities and support of their operational needs.
To network with industry peers and learn from executives like Debbie, join one of our upcoming one-day SIGnature Events. Attendance is free for SIG members and first-time buy-side attendees. Not a member? Reach out to learn how you can be part of our growing network of sourcing and procurement professionals.
Stacy Mendoza is a Digital Marketing Specialist with Sourcing Industry Group (SIG). Stacy began her career in market research as an editor for Hart Research Associates in Washington, D.C. Since moving back to Florida in 2014, she has worked in marketing and public relations, specializing in content creation, media relations and crisis communications. Stacy is a passionate volunteer who donates her time to help nonprofits develop marketing strategies and awareness campaigns. Stacy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from The Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Follow her on Twitter and tweet at @SIG_Stacy.