Winter, June 2013

Career by design

Tran Nguyen, NAB, advises other rising stars to take a considered approach to procurement career planning

Tran Nguyen FLiP AmbassadorCapability may still be the number one issue keeping CPOs up at night, but if FLiP delegates are anything to go by, the future of procurement is in good hands.

Promising to ‘Shake up your professional outlook’, the inaugural Future Leaders in Procurement (FLiP) Forum, held the day prior to the Asia-Pacific CPO Forum, attracted rising stars from across Australia’s leading companies.

Gathering to network, share ideas, and be inspired by leaders as diverse as CPOs, digital wizzes, social entrepreneurs and even a film-maker, one lucky FLiP delegate was also afforded the chance to ‘cross-over’ and attend the CPO Forum as 2013 FLiP Ambassador.  

Chosen through a competitive process, Tran Nguyen, a member of NAB’s procurement function for six years was selected as FLiP Ambassador by Roundtable members.  Having managed categories as varied as facilities management, property, employee benefits, logistics and IT professional services, Tran is representative of the intelligent, collegiate and driven approach among her peers. “For me, the opportunity to attend the Forum was really about capturing knowledge to share with the wider “Future Leaders” body, building an even stronger next generation of procurement leaders”.  

Here, Tran offers other shares some of the words of wisdom the CPOs had for her over the two days:

Is there anything that you will do differently as a result of something you heard at FLiP or the CPO Forum?

I feel more prepared to take risks, accept there will be failures along the way, and move on from them quickly.  

The most accomplished people in life understand that success involves failure.  Growth will arise as people learn from their mistakes and the key here is to be self aware, reflect and identify what you need to do differently in the future.
As the FLiP Ambassador, what advice would you give CPOs looking to recruit and retain young procurement talent?

My advice to CPOs is to:
- Value investment in learning and development initiatives to raise the skills of your people and provide opportunities that will allow them to realise their full potential and to remain at the forefront of the industry
- Create a positive working culture that values diversity of thinking and working styles and one which encourages people to make a contribution
What advice did the CPOs have for you?

  • During your career, remain open to learning, take the jobs that no one else wants or you don’t feel quite ready for.  
  • Have a vision for your life – 18 months and five years seem to be good timeframes - and work hard to reach your goals
  • Stay true to your values

 If you missed out on attending FLiP in 2013, ensure you receive an invitation to the event in 2014. To be held on Wednesday 14 May in NSW, you can register your interest by contacting Training & Events Program Manager, Belinda Toohey, here.