Heading image New Faces in our Community Leadership

New Faces in our Community Leadership

On April 1, 2015 a member of the CIPMM team sat down with Lisa Campbell, the new Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of the Acquisitions Branch of Public Works (PWGSC), and Government Services Canada to learn more about her thoughts on the Procurement and Materiel Management Community.

Ms. Campbell was appointed to her current position in January 2015. She was previously the Senior Deputy Commissioner of the Mergers and Civil Matters branches at the Competition Bureau. She has worked as a litigator in private practice and has held various senior management positions within the federal government. With a team of over 1400 employees, Ms. Campbell will be leading projects and initiatives that will help the federal government continues to offer innovative, effective solutions to its procurement needs.

She shared with us some of her ideas since taking on her new post….

Question: Coming from a smaller organization and having worked as well in the private sector what has been the most pleasant surprise of becoming the ADM of the Acquisitions Branch.

Response: The size of the organization has not been a surprise to me. I have worked in both large and small organizations in the past. Perhaps the most pleasant “surprises” of my new post have been the sheer breadth of the goods and services that the Acquisition Branch buys on behalf of the departments and agencies and the creativity and innovative practices of the employees. I have met about two thirds of them already and have been impressed by their engagement and commitment towards their jobs. The Acquisitions Branch is in the middle of a great deal of transition and as a group they demonstrate a willingness to embrace this change.

 

Question: The life of an ADM may not be understood by a new Procurement Officer. Would you describe a typical day and shed some light on how you manage the complexity of the work?

Response: This job is really about building and sustaining relationships. I spend most of my days, from 9 am to 6 pm in meetings, often with many of the same stakeholders as some of our files are very complex and span decades. I consciously try to also carve out time to think and to reflect on where the organization is going and what it will need for the future.

Question: Where do you see the role of the Acquisitions Branch going in the next five years in terms of the services it provides to the other departments and agencies?

Response: I see the role of the Acquisitions Branch continuing to evolve as we work on introducing more formal client and supplier engagement strategies, as we use the data we collect to help clients to plan and forecast their procurements and we look to incorporate practices we see in other countries into our approach. I believe we will evolve to more of a facilitator role and have less of an emphasis on the processing of individual transactions. I think we will continue to try to delegate down to the lowest level so that acquisitions can happen more rapidly  at the client  level.

Question: How do you feel technology will change the role played by the Acquisition Branch?

Response: I have been trying to work paperlessly and am so far meeting my target around 99% of the time. I recognize that for some security reasons we may not hit the 100% mark but I think that increasingly technology will provide us with the tools we will need to do our jobs. Most of our new employees and many in our client and our supplier communities are already comfortable with using fully automated processes. I expect that over the next 18 to 24 months we will introduce even more use of technology in how we conduct our routine transactions.

Question: What do you see as being the most pressing problem for the procurement and materiel management community over the next 18 months?

Response: I think the most pressing problem will continue in the short run to balance the need for timeliness in our procurement environment with fair and transparent processes. In the middle to long term I think the biggest challenge will be our demographics. We need to continue to recruit and train more of the same calibre of strong engaged employees while continuing to transform our way of doing business.

Question: What advice would you give a new Procurement Officer or Materiel Manager?

Response: I would tell everyone, new or old to have fun in their job. Seize every opportunity that comes their way. Take some risks and try new things. There will be lots of chances in the future to grow in the procurement and materiel management community.

 

 

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