Bray: "The initiatives being procured here have the potential to change lives, so to be part of that is a humbling experience."  ©Jess Hope
Bray: "The initiatives being procured here have the potential to change lives, so to be part of that is a humbling experience." ©Jess Hope

This is who I am: Alice Bray

The procurement specialist at the Ministry of Education of New Zealand talked to SM

How I got into procurement…
I knew I wanted to be involved in an organisation that was not fixated on profit, and after mulling over government policy roles during my time at university, a family friend asked if I had considered procurement. 

How I got my current role...
As part of a procurement graduate programme, I worked in a dual role at the Ministry of Social Development and Oranga Tamariki [the Maori name] Ministry for Children, so when this role came up I jumped. I am in the education services team, working towards better social and commercial outcomes. 

My average day…
The team is always looking to educate our business groups on how we can support them. I could be with stakeholders; running tenders; developing tools; or meeting with government agencies to brainstorm new ideas for working better with our communities.

The best part of my current role…
The initiatives being procured here have the potential to change lives, and we know education is the key to success for our children, so to be part of that is a humbling experience. It makes the tough days not so tough, and the small issues seem less significant.

What’s your biggest lesson to date?
That stakeholders are people too. There are times when they have gone above me looking for answers, and I wondered what I was doing wrong. But I wasn’t understanding them fully. I learned to step back and assess, step sideways to re-evaluate my approach, and step forward to a better solution. 

The best advice I’ve received...
A manager once told me to control the controllable. It was a light bulb moment. You control yourself, how you act in the face of adversity and the work you produce – your attitude and actions are your own.

The future of procurement is…
People and value, and not in the dollar sense! In New Zealand the role of the social enterprise is evolving. ‘Value’ is moving from a monetary focus to an ethical and social one, where all along the supply chain we’re asking ourselves who and what benefits from these choices, and who and what is negatively impacted.

My dream dinner party guests would be…
Michelle Obama and Freddie Mercury. 

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