Calling Fellows of the future - the more global and diverse the better

Cath Houlihan10.43am on Wednesday 10 September was a defining moment in my professional life. That was the moment I was told I had been awarded CIPS Fellowship.

I started thinking about applying a couple of years ago, but decided against it as I thought (quite wrongly) that because I didn't work for a multi-national conglomerate, with a large procurement team and spending billions, that I wouldn't meet the criteria. The image I had built up over time was that to be a considered, you had to be male and retired. So what changed my perception?

I read the following article on SM. This was a turning point for me, I was enthused by the passion of the Fellows committee and decided I wanted to be part of this fantastic transformation.

There were some interesting statistics mentioned in the article. I have met some wonderful male and female procurement professionals of all ages. However, procurement has been a historically male dominated profession and earlier this year I attended a workshop where I was the only female in attendance out of a room of 30 or so people.

Fellows of the future need to be truly global and diverse, we need men and women to bring their substantial business experience to the fore and encourage CIPS members to step forward and represent our incredible profession. I am proud of my profession and passionate about the positive impact professional procurement has on businesses of all shapes, sizes and regardless of the sector you practice in.

I go to work every day knowing I am making a significant contribution to my organisation’s success. I am extremely lucky to be in a profession that gives me such a huge sense of achievement and accomplishment.

As a Fellow my first duty will be to attend the Fellows of the Future event this week (29 October). I will be taking along an up-and-coming member of our profession who I believe has the potential to become a future CPO. I’m looking forward to introducing them to the Fellows, many of whom are their idols, and giving them leadership skills. If, as a Fellow, you’d also like to come along, please identify your aspiring Fellow and book to attend the event.

Cath Houlihan is head of procurement at RICS 

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