“I see the job description as a starting point, expanding my role into other areas,” says Melinda Johnson, commercial director at the Department of Health and Social Care.
When I was commercial director at the Department of Transport, I was keen to lead beyond my professional home of procurement.
So, I became director of digital, property, and security and information. The commercial director role I have now means being responsible for six different companies, which stretches me in a way I hadn’t been before.
I’ve always been a grafter. Coming from a pit village in Yorkshire, I was actively discouraged from going to university. But I did and never looked back. I was so grateful for the opportunity. I cleaned in a nightclub six nights a week to pay my way. It’s why one of my passions now is social mobility.
Having worked at CIPS, sat on the Global Board of Trustees and been Congress chair, I’m an advocate for the procurement profession. We have a lot of skills we can bring to bear and it’s good to diversify into wider business areas as you get more senior. By diversifying you can enrich your approach, seeing your function through the eyes of others and improving it.
You’ve got to keep learning. I have done several leadership courses, a post-graduate diploma in marketing and an MBA. The marketing diploma taught me how to sell my skills and what we do [in procurement]. In the MBA I chose not to focus on procurement because I wanted to appreciate what it was like to work in another profession.”
Other case studies
CPO, National Grid
Global head of supply chain management, Standard Chartered Bank
Adrian Cook FCIPS
Director of fresh foods, Sainsbury’s
Global VP procurement directs, Mars Wrigley
Global business services director, Imperial Brands
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