My procurement experience before joining Proxima was in the public sector for a Local Authority and later the NHS. I was eager to gain experience in the private sector without losing touch with the public sector and I found consultancy work offered this and more. Proxima offered me an opportunity to gain accelerated exposure to a diverse range of private sector clients in a range of industries, while staying in touch with the public sector and utilising my knowledge. I don’t know many professions where you can establish a new procurement operations team in a FTSE 250 company one week and embark on a major commercial service redesign for a government during the next.
I will never forget the answer I received from colleagues when I asked, “Why have you stayed at Proxima so long?” Their response was, “The diversity of clients, industries and opportunities means you are learning at an enviable rate and exposed to stakeholders who you can only dream of in a procurement role”. Since I had this conversation, all I can say is how true these words are!
On a day-to-day basis I have contact with stakeholders across the UK, from CEOs and Ministers through to commissioners, front line staff and suppliers, both nationally and globally. What I will be doing is very much dependant on what project I’m assigned to. The one guarantee is two days will never be the same. I might be preparing a Treasury Green Book Business Case, training graduates in the art of procurement, engaging operational staff, or presenting to the C-suite; the variety is second to none.
So, what are the benefits of having such a diverse role? I’m able to constantly learn, develop and apply these learnings to my engagements. This enables the best outcomes for my clients. Being exposed to public and private sector clients means I can take the learnings from working with them and become a bridge between the two. The notion that one is better than the other is not true. Each sector, industry, and client work in different environments. I have been fortunate enough to design new procurement procedures and also help organisations embed social value into their spending, bringing wider benefits to communities and small businesses. Making the service more agile and delivering enhanced outcomes to customers are just some of the benefits we’ve achieved. This is what my role is all about, making a difference, and where possible improving the societal and environmental impact of purchasing decisions.
As a consultant you need to be prepared for a dynamic, fast-paced and challenging work environment, but I would say to anyone who is thinking of a career in consultancy that the unique challenges you face make the job special. It’s not all plain sailing, but when you are waking up to make a tangible impact for businesses and society, the reward is more than instantaneous, it’s lasting. The culture at Proxima also stands out for me, the unique opportunities you’re presented with and talented team that surround you have made my career incredibly rewarding so far.