Conferences Risk Management Show

128: Prepare for the Unknown at ISM2017, w/ Lara Nichols

My guest on the Art of Procurement this week is Lara Nichols. Lara is the Head of Procurement for insurance company NFP Corp, and is also leading the conference organizing committee for ISM2017, the largest procurement related conference of the year.

Prior to NFP, Lara enjoyed roles of increasing responsibility across Fortune 100 organizations such as Wachovia (now Wells Fargo), Tyco and Merck.

Our conversation today is broadly split into three different parts. Lara shares her experiences switching the comfortable surroundings of a Fortune 100 procurement organization for a mid-market firm in procurement start-up mode.

We then discuss the impact that the current anti-globalization political environment is impacting her procurement strategies, with an increased focus on risk mitigation.

Finally, we talk conferences. What does it take to plan a conference with the depth and breadth of ISM2017, and what, as an attendee, can you do to maximize your experience.

“We are focusing on the Big Unknown and exploring paradox. We have three different business segments, an economic segment a professional segment and a business segment. And each one of those has a paradox built-in, so, for example, the economic segment has a paradox between economic boom and economic bust”

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Lara’s experiences in moving to a mid-market company in procurement start-up mode from a series of Fortune 100 organizations – and how she needed to adapt to be successful.
  • Why Lara is passionate about continuing education.
  • What goes into planning a conference that is the size and scope of ISM2017?
  • What are the focus areas of this years’ event, and how did that evolve as events such as Brexit and the US election changed the shape of globalization?
  • How can an attendee get the most out a large procurement conference?
  • How Lara is responding to the wave of anti-globalization in her role at NFP, and the increasing role of supply chain risk management.
  • Tips for how to think about supply chain risk management when you are buying Indirect services that do not have a physical supply chain.
  • What topics Lara believes the procurement professionals have to keep abreast of to remain relevant.

Links and Resources:

About the author

Philip Ideson

Philip Ideson is passionate about the role that procurement professionals and leaders can plan in creating competitive advantage for their organizations in ways that go beyond the traditional value proposition.

Philip founded Art of Procurement as a way for the procurement community to learn from each other, increasing the impact they have on their organizations. In 2017, he co-founded Palambridge, a virtual platform of procurement experts, technology, and intelligence. Palambridge provides a broad range of flexible procurement solutions, available on-demand.

Prior to Art of Procurement and Palambridge, Philip enjoyed a career that spanned the procurement value chain, working across three continents for organizations such as Accenture, Procurian, Ally Financial, Pfizer and Ford Motor Company.