Category Archives: Generation Procurement

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.”