Who will stand on your shoulders? Mentoring and guidance for Fellows of the Future

Over 300 years have passed since Sir Isaac Newton used the familiar expression “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” however at no time has this expression been more relevant than in the development of future purchasing and supply leaders in the 21st Century.

Given that the future of our profession is heavily dependent on the nurturing of our student population, it is crucial to ensure that our student members are provided with the best opportunities to develop in a professional and academic context.

I consider that the spearheading of the Fellows of the Future programme by the Fellowship Committee provides an excellent medium to achieving this very objective. The chance of engaging with senior influential leaders within our profession enables such students to gain first hand mentoring and guidance by these highly influential professionals and provides a first-hand insight into the world of our CPOs and CEOs.

As a student member I feel the various challenges currently faced by the student population also bring great opportunities. With the world changing so rapidly it is crucial the up and coming leaders of our profession are as innovative, entrepreneurial and adaptive as they can be to stand out from the crowd and reach their full potential. This involves getting involved with the Institute, engaging with peers, challenging the status quo and helping steer the direction of the Institute for future members.

Being involved with organising the Fellows of the Future event has been an excellent experience. It has provided me with the opportunity of working with highly talented, driven and professional individuals from a wide range of organisations and industries - from FTSE 100 companies to global management consulting firms. I consider such interaction and mentoring crucial for the sustained growth and development of the aspiring leaders of our profession and will be of great benefit to my career as an aspiring leader. Most importantly it has provided me with an excellent platform to ensure that issues affecting our student members are considered and addressed in the organising of the event and the wider programme.

For the initial event it will be fascinating to engage with the Fellows but more importantly the members who have been elected by their Fellow counterparts to ascertain their aspirations for the profession of the future and gain suggestions on how they see CIPS as an Institute and the CIPS student experience developing in years to come.

I hope to see the future of this programme develop to include the mentoring of students wishing to attain MCIPS status by the very students who actually attained their MCIPS in the same way, as those MCIPS members will be mentored by the FCIPS members in the first Fellows of the Future event.

• Visit the CIPS website for more information on the first Fellows of the Future event at City Hall in London on 29 October.

☛ Rhodri Morgan is an independent procurement consultant and the CIPS UK student representative

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