Telstra man James Chalupa has taken deliberate steps to look more closely at his personal brand and what it means to him.
Taking his own brand more seriously has not only helped him network with a bunch of hugely influential industry colleagues, he’s also shared and picked up useful new snippets of information that has helped him tackle his role, too.
The Senior Vendor Management Specialist for the country’s major telco agrees that procurement professionals need to consciously consider how their own brand affects their ability to tackle their role.
“When I first started down this path, I started taking LinkedIn more seriously, extending my network as I met someone I wanted to stay connected with. I’m always trying to finesse information on LinkedIn and make sure it’s up to date and accurate. It’s just a really great tool for people to learn more about what I’ve done and what I’m working on now,” James says.
He’s also paid for higher LinkedIn subscriptions from time to time to further build his network.
James also makes sure he’s across relevant industry news and articles and is an active part of the broader procurement profession, fronting up to networking functions and industry events whenever possible, including The Faculty roundtable events.
“I’ll head along to breakfast events, where I’ll be rubbing shoulders with other procurement professionals from major brands. It’s extremely valuable to be at those events, because you’ll always meet someone interesting or learn something new.”
And while attending industry events isn’t specifically part of his job, he thoroughly enjoys the prospect of sharing thoughts and experiences with his industry colleagues.
“I’m a bit of an extrovert, so I really enjoy these sorts of opportunities. For me, personal branding is about being an active part of the broader profession. It’s about connecting with people and sharing your experiences of procurement. People I meet will share information about what they’re working on, and I’ll talk a little about what I’m working on too, within reason,” he says.
“When some of us get together and start to talk about what’s holding us back when it comes to technology, for example, and we’re all contributing to that conversation, you can get a very effective outcome pretty quickly. Someone will always know something that you didn’t know about a certain area.”
Taking a considered approach to personal branding has been hugely beneficial not only to his ability to connect with others, but his ability to do his job, James says. A recent conversation with a procurement professional working for a global FMCG brand about global sourcing initiatives revealed a new approach that fitted well with what Telstra was already working on, which prompted the company to look into more closely.