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This is who I am: Lorraine Copes

Corbin & King's head of procurement spoke to SM

How did you get into procurement?
I studied logistics at Aston University, which led to a job as a food forecast analyst. I soon realised I liked the look of the food buyers’ jobs more than my own. 

What was your big career break?
The closest thing to a big break was when I directly approached contract catering firm Elior UK. A buyer role was created for me, and I joined in 2004.

The best part of my job is…
…working with people, and the range of people I deal with, both internally and externally, is vast. This includes a diverse supplier base, marketing, operations, head chefs, bar managers and finance. 

My current top challenges…
Along with everyone else, anticipating the impact of Brexit on currency, supply and demand and pricing.

Tell us something about the hospitality sector
Procurement is extensive, covering categories from Champagne, spirits, dairy, cutlery to waste disposal, and many relate to our personal lives – I use my Champagne market knowledge when buying my own! 

What’s the best piece of advice you have received?
I have had two mentors, who’ve shown me what it looks like to be a great procurement leader. Both are collaborative in approach and brilliant to work with.

What advice would you give to junior professionals?
Building effective working relationships will be more beneficial to your role than being a good negotiator. Trust and credibility have an immeasurable impact on stakeholders buying-in to the solutions you propose. 

The future of procurement is....
Collaborative and versatile.

What’s the worst thing that’s gone wrong at work?
The very nature of supply chains is that things can go wrong on a daily basis. I have never had a real catastrophe so I am either lucky or extremely skilled!

How do you relax in your free time?
I am completing a diploma in transformational coaching so, while it’s not relaxing, it is something I am passionate about, and also occupies my free time.

What are your three desert-island necessities?
Spotify, so that I could access music, a good book, and my photo album.

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