Category Archives: Generation Procurement

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.”