Suzanne Harris

Vice President,Sourcing & Procurement,
First American

Suzanne’s ProcureCon Story At a Glance

  • First year at ProcureCon:
  • How she has participated:
    Attendee & speaker
  • ProcureCon highlight:
    As a former teacher, she loves the opportunity to train on new best practices.
  • Why she comes to ProcureCon: The unique opportunity to network with people confronting similar challenges in a distinctive space.

My ProcureCon Story: Suzanne Harris

With ProcureCon, I get to recognize that I’m part of a group. These are people who do exactly what I do and have theexact same challenges I do. They are looking at how they’reorganizing. They’re looking at how they’re marketing their team. They’re looking at how they’re attracting and retaining talent.And that’s everything I’m working on right now.

1. The people in the ProcureCon community are happy and exuberant to see each other. Theyare eager to share what they’ve done and listen to what others have done and take back all the nuggets they learn.

Although I had sent several members of my staff to ProcureCon events in the past, I only attended my first ProcureCon conference in the fall of 2014. Needless to say, I was extremely impressed. I wear many hats at First American, from IT Asset Management to IT and Corporate Sourcing and Procurement, so being around people who do what I do is somewhat rare. ProcureCon gave me a unique opportunity to network and trade ideas with some exceptional people doing very similar work. I was able to spend time with old friends, new colleagues, and even some candidates I was evaluating for jobs at the time.

I was struck not only with the seniority of the ProcureCon audience, but also with the similarity of our experiences. We are all trying to show the value within the company of our departments. It’s validating that my problems are not unique; they’re normal. So in a way ProcureCon normalizes your experience. It was very helpful for me to hear how other executives are coping with these challenges and working to mature their divisions.

2. ProcureCon is a safe place to talk to people who do what you do. You’re going to meet people that you’re going to be able to share things with.

I have always found great value in benchmarking best practices with my peers, because I find that I often walk away from those conversations with something actionable that I can apply to my business. Sometimes that takeaway is a creative solution to a departmental structure issue, and sometimes it’s simple validation of what we are already doing. ProcureCon is a great setting for peer-to-peer collaboration, because it is a safe, discreet space in which procurement executives can discuss sensitive issues.

I believe this peer-to-peer collaboration will always define my ProcureCon experience. In the future, I hope to leverage those connections to help solve some tactical challenges my business has encountered; I believe this community has a lot to offer when it comes to solutions that can streamline our operations, help us measure our success, and provide us with new ways of making our departmental value known to key internal stakeholders