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Brand You: how to create your own personal brand

Kate O'Reilly

Brand You: because no one knows you better…

FLiP 2014 may have been and gone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t reflect on some of the inspirational talks given. One such session saw Kate O’Reilly advise attendees on the art of shaping their own personal brand – Brand You (if you will).

Kate was formerly a Deloitte Director whose work with the Deloitte Inspiring Women program led to her winning finalist for the Deloitte Business Woman of the Year and being appointed to the Deloitte Emerging Leaders Council. Kate’s experience extends to the global public and private sector – she can currently be found heading-up Optimiss, a firm that concentrates on the retention and promotion of women throughout business.

Over in Sydney we had our ear to the ground and took away the following learnings:

What you say, how you say it, how you look is really important. Just look at powerful and famous people of influence – they meticulously craft their personal brand and stick to it religiously. And if you want to distil what makes a brand, it can be broken down into the following: Behaviour, Presentation, and Communication.

In order to build a better brand there are a number of things you need to know (or be mindful of). These include:

  •  Your top three personal strengths and talents.
  • Also think about your core area of expertise, as you’ll need to be prepared to demonstrate the value and experience you can deliver. What is it that you can do better than others?
  • Be clear who exactly you are targeting, and think about what they need to hear.
  • Look out for your brand and be prepared to manage conversations about yourself – you need to control how the world sees you. Consider what you want people to say about you, and help this along by being consistent in your messaging.
  • And finally, always search for ways you can actively build and grow your brand.

You can follow Kate on Twitter @Optimiss_Sydney  https://twitter.com/Optimiss_Sydney

Is this the workplace of the future?

Yes we know… The company’s San Francisco office is a thing of modern beauty too!
Yes we know… The company’s San Francisco office is a thing of modern beauty too!

If you attended FLiP 2014 you’ll know that the underlying message was ‘shake up your professional outlook’. Today we’re turning our focus towards a business that’s been shaking things up in their own way – step forward Atlassian.

This enterprising Australian software company is disrupting the staid and tired workplace culture of old – and it must be doing something right as Atlassian has ranked high consistently year-after-year in numerous ‘Best Place to Work’ surveys.

Being a fast growing and dynamic company – Atlassian is passionate about developing innovative HR practices and building awesome workplace cultures. Obviously talent and culture are the key drivers of the businesses’ future success.

Pay a visit to the company’s website and you’ll see glimmers of this philosophy peeking through – as fresh and as tantalising as a crisp spring morning.

‘Open company, no bullshit’ starts us off, ‘build with heart and balance’ grounds us and reminds employees about their emotional core. ‘Don’t #@!% the customer’ comes next (sage words that underpin the working relationship), ‘play as a team’ follows, before the inspirational ‘be the change you seek’ leaves us with food for thought.

Atlassian preach quite a mantra we’re sure you’ll agree… One that reminds us that these aren’t your typical corporate values – with such an open and honest approach it’s hard not to applaud these mavericks and smile.

Now it’s over to you: what do you make of this daring approach? Let us know in the comments below.

Generation Procurement: Georgina Portelli

Georgina Portelli

Procuring a Bombardier Global Express XRS500 business jet was a once in a lifetime experience for Georgina Portelli, who names this procurement project as her greatest professional achievement so far. She was working at the Casino division of Tabcorp at the time, and needed a flash mode of transport for the VIPs.

“Procurement tends to be mainly indirect goods and services, so putting together a deal for a moveable asset was a key achievement. I’m pretty certain that’s as glamorous as it’s going to get, and I can cross flying on a private jet off my bucket list, which may be considered an achievement in itself,” Georgina laughs.

The general manager of procurement for the country’s largest aged care provider reckons there will be many more days of equally dizzying heights ahead.

For her, procurement has given her the skills to negotiate her way through life.

She hopes to move into a global procurement role in the next five years. Long term, she dreams of running a high-end resort in the Greek Islands.

Emulating greatness doesn’t work, she says. “A very wise woman once told me that people that work hard tend to be lucky and that’s no coincidence, and that’s stayed with me.”

Georgina has been in procurement just over a decade, after originally planning a career as a psychologist. A year into the study, she decided it wasn’t for her.

However, she’s not the type to not finish something she’d started, so completed the degree and used the opportunity to study the greats, discovering her passion for travel and taking a corporate role at Myer. A Bachelor of business followed, with a major in HR management, then an MBA.

Georgina applied for a procurement role at Myer head office post-graduation, and the rest is history.

The CIPSA and The Faculty member attends regular industry events, relishing the opportunity to network with peers.

“The value networking brings to me is the solace that we all face similar challenges with the maturing role and expectations of procurement. It has evolved into a true partnering role, which is very exciting. Maybe it’s the safety in numbers thing, but it always makes me feel positive about the profession as a whole and my position in it.

“I love that my role is valued and gives me the ability to influence buying decisions across the organisation, building on a commercial culture.”

Generation Procurement: Matthew Dierkx

Matthew Dierkx

Matthew Dierkx might rub shoulders with some of the country’s most elite sporting stars all day, but for the Melburnian, it’s all just another day at the office.

The procurement maven for the Australian Football League was offered the high profile role 18 months ago after working in procurement with the Melbourne Cricket Club. He’s met some of the best known sporting names in the country along the way.

Matthew has major influence on various levels of the AFL industry, from the elite level to grassroots. He’s assisting AFL clubs to get matches scheduled and organising accommodation where required. Other days, he could be providing AusKick Packs to youngsters starting out in the game.

And while Matthew might know how to kick a football, he’s quick to point out that he feels far more at home in the corporate box than on the field.

“I’ve always loved Australian sport, so it’s great that my occupation is directly related to the country’s favourite sport. As a nation, we have a close affinity with Australian Rules, and I achieve great satisfaction from contributing to that and being part of the team.”

With a Bachelor of Law/Economics from the University of Newcastle under his belt, Matthew walked straight into the procurement industry from university. His early taste of the profession included roles in the lead-up to the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, where he was charged with the task of procuring the all-important Games Timing and Scoring System.

And while he might be surrounded by sporting greats all day, he takes all that in his stride. He names his father as his best professional mentor to date.

“My father taught me that hard work and being an individual are incredibly important aspects of both your professional and private life. He also taught me that no one ever got anything by sitting on their backside,” Matthew, a young father himself, says.

His networking efforts thus far have been conducted on the side of a sporting field, but he’s looking forward to being an active part of the Procurious community.

Generation Procurement: Tehara Wickham

Tehara Wickham

Tehara Wickham was a young school girl when she migrated to Australia with her family. But the Sri Lankan-born woman ploughed through her studies, finished high school and then university studies in her new country.

She graduated and relocated to Sydney for a finance role before moving back to Melbourne six years later for a manufacturing industry position. At the time, she was heavily involved in the implementation of an electronic procure to pay system.

She enjoyed this process, and continued to look for new professional challenges, which were leaning towards the procurement profession.

But it wasn’t until she decided to return to university to complete a Bachelor of Business and Marketing degree while working full-time that a whole new world of professional opportunities started being offered to her.

“I’m proud of my ability to challenge myself and push outside my comfort zone to learn new things. Sometimes, this puts me in a vulnerable position, but I’m all the more appreciative and proud of my achievements in the end.

Tehara works in Melbourne’s trendy Docklands precinct in the National Australia Bank’s flexible working building with some 5,000 other bank employees. Her core task is raising awareness of procurement internally, ensuring consistency and best practice is adopted in the team and to deliver value to customers.

She names a procurement colleague in a previous job as having biggest influence on her career, empowering her to take some calculated professional risks.

“I will always be grateful to that person for being genuine and instilling confidence in the decisions I was making at the time,” she says.

Learning the importance of trusting her instinct has also been an important part of the job.

“I try not to have regrets about anything, and think of experiences as opportunities to grow.”

On a personal level, she named being a mother as her biggest achievement. “I’ve never been this sleep deprived before, whilst at the same time being high on the happiness that my children bring in to my life.”

Generation Procurement: Aurelie Roberts

Air New Zealand plane

French-born procurement expert Aurelie Roberts was surrounded by champagne when she started out in the profession 14 years ago.

As an intern with a French champagne producer, she was in charge of purchasing promotional items. At the time, the job was known as purchasing, not procurement, Aurelie explains.

This early start proved the ideal springboard into senior roles. Over the years, she’s procured everything from packaging, ingredients and marketing services for companies Cadbury/Schweppes and petroleum giant BP. Most recently, she was in strategic procurement for Air New Zealand, sourcing cabin interior items for new Airbus and Boeing aircrafts joining the fleet.

“My role for Air New Zealand was very eclectic. I would look after tenders for inflight items and supplier relationship management and work with a cross functional team of engineers, financiers, interior designers and marketers.”

She describes New Zealanders as glass half-full types who look for solutions. “They are creative enough to turn a less-than-ideal situation to their advantage. It’s no wonder Air New Zealand achieves such a surprising amount for its size.”

Aurelie named a previous colleague and friend as her mentor, although she’s since sought out a life coach that she sees regularly. “I feel supported by her, and she helps me keep disciplined.”

This French woman living in Australia certainly gets attention, with her accent and frankness catching others off guard sometimes. “Other times, its most definitely worked to my advantage,” she laughs.

Aurelie recently relocated from Auckland to Melbourne after her husband landed a new role. She has three young boys and is currently on maternity leave. She will seek work in Melbourne in a few months.

“I think it’s great to have inspiration from others to always improve and be the best we can be. My previous manager is an inspiration given how she manages to combine being a family, family life and work. It’s always a real juggle, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The Big Question: Could you live in a world without the iPhone?

A wrinkle in Apple’s supply chain could spell doom for the technology giant. Procurious wonders whether we ought to be worried.

The announcement of a new iPhone/iPad is the stuff of headline news the world over. Apple is one of the most respected titans in the hardware industry, its products have a stranglehold over the hearts and minds of millions (in-fact the level of fanaticism is downright spooky). OK there may be the odd misstep (lest we forget the Apple Maps debacle), but with its impressive track record and market dominance – Apple’s products represent go-to gadgets of choice for most businesses and consummate professionals the world over.

The iPhone’s and iPad’s ability to blend effortlessly into your (doubtless) existing Apple ecosystem makes a world without this modern staple unthinkable to many, but a worrying new report from Taiwan’s Commercial Times hints at dark days ahead for everyone’s favourite fruit.

The rumour mill says we can expect to see two new iPhones (iPhone 6) in the not-too-distant future. According to the paper however, production on the larger (5.5-inch) iPhone handset could be delayed until 2015 due to difficulties in sourcing a supplier for the super-thin 2mm battery. Apple’s tough ask involves shrinking their existing battery technology by a considerable 33% – such a demand puts suppliers under immense strain and will almost certainly affect the production cycle, the effects of which will reverberate the length of the chain.

There’s a convincing argument here for the power of the brand – at this stage in its heritage, Apple’s customers will happily wait for the next-generation to arrive in their hands. But how does this make you feel as procurement professionals – can you sympathise with the situation or this unrelenting thirst for innovation a reckless and dangerous play?

We must wonder too what this could mean for Apple. Can we expect to go through the same motions a few more years down the line – a couple more supply problems, a few more delays? If so disillusionment could surely (and will easily) set in. Look at the once mighty darling of enterprise – BlackBerry. Poor components and overall build-quality affected both the Storm and PlayBook, while delays to BlackBerry software and unsold inventory effectively unseated this once proud King.

It’s not all doom and gloom though – recent iPhone sales figures point to strong Apple earnings. Overall Apple saw a 4.6% increase in quarterly revenue, far-and-away beating Wall Street expectations. However iPad shipments were shown to be on the decline (an almost 20% drop – ouch), and with the company soon to enter the wearables marketplace we wonder whether Cupertino’s finest is starting to spread itself too thin…

We must remember that Apple is also forging ahead and reporting success in BRIC countries – the iPhone has just set sales records in Brazil, Russia, India and China. And with competitor Nokia also looking to developing markets to consolidate their rule, such space could prove quite the battleground in the fight for market dominance. Whatever the outcome, the future looks set to be very interesting indeed…

Are Apple’s products still the apple of your eye? Join in with the discussion! Leave your comments below.