Learn more about how the APICS can help launch your career in supply chain management.
In the first post, Early involvement with APICS can help achieve your career goals, I shared that I consider myself to be a successful supply chain management practitioner. I also shared with you how my journey started and the vision that guided me, one that I created early into my four-year supply chain management degree program.
I also told you how I took advantage of the college’s memberships with professional organizations and student groups in order to start building a network and improve my understanding of the field of supply chain management by getting some industry context.
In this second article, I’ll tell you about how APICS was a factor all along the way, a road that I was surprised to find was the least travelled, and I’ll tell you about some of the people I met along the way.
In the third and last article, I’ll share with you how I expect APICS will play a part in the next phase of my career.
Part 2: The road less travelled
In January 2007, just a few months into a four-year undergraduate supply chain management program, I had signed up to be a student member of four professional organizations, and I was the college representative for all, including APICS. I was one of only a few students who took advantage of these opportunities, hence the road less traveled.
As a student member, I attended all of the APICS events, and coordinated other events with my co-college representatives to increase attendance. I tried my best to encourage my classmates to get involved and helped them when they did. I introduced them to industry professionals I had come to know, nominated them to sit on committees, and encouraged them to help with networking events.
During one of those events, I was given the job of hosting the keynote speaker. This boiled down to making sure our guest had a drink in hand, introducing him to students, professors and other professionals in the crowd, and filling in the awkward, silent gaps that anyone who has been to networking events will be familiar with. I found this person fascinating. He was an entrepreneur, just like I had been, but his experience was in my chosen field of study, about which I was desperate to learn more. I felt like I had hit the jackpot. He talked, and I listened. I learned about his company and the ground-breaking work he and his team were doing. He explained how his customers were using his company’s product to blaze trails by improving their supply chains and making them more responsive and agile. He was clearly excited about the future, and genuinely curious about what we were learning and put many things in context for me. Afterwards, I thought to myself “This guy’s company sounds like it could meet all of my career criteria, and perhaps even more!”, so his company’s logo became my beacon, that thing that when reached, meant that I had fulfilled my career goals.
I kept in touch with him from that moment on, and always made sure to say hello and chat with whenever we met at various events. Much later, at a different event, he said that he felt that APICS was the go-to professional organization for supply chain knowledge and globally recognized certifications. Let’s call this guy Mr. X.
Not long after, I applied to be an APICS scholar at the APICS Global conference (I encourage you to learn more about this program). I was thrilled to be accepted. The scholar program covers most of the costs associated with attending the conference, but not travel costs. I was unexpectedly offered some assistance with travel cost by the president of one of the organizations I was an active of. He mentioned my efforts in helping my classmates as one of the main reasons behind helping me. I made sure to thank him and his colleagues on the board, and offered to report upon my return. Going forward, I made sure to keep in touch with him too. Let’s call this guy Mr. Y.
The conference was a great success for me. I won the international student competition, and three of my classmates were in the top ten! I also made sure to introduce myself to as many people as possible. During one of the conference events I struck up a conversation with an extremely interesting individual with whom I later developed a friendship. At that point in time, he had been approached by a past colleague, the owner of a boutique supply chain management consulting firm based in Sao Paolo, Brazil. His colleague had asked him to rejoin his firm and lead an expansion into North America. I saw consulting as a good way to quickly learn the ropes so I made a point to keep in touch with this guy too, and made it clear that I’d be interested in being part of that venture if it ever came to be. Let’s call him Mr. Z.
Fast forward to the fall of 2010. Having graduated, I was working in logistics for a small government department. I liked the job well enough; it paid okay, the benefits were excellent, and my colleagues were fun to be around, but I wasn’t using all of the skills and knowledge that I had gained in school, and I couldn’t say that I was on track to attain my career objectives.
Having kept in touch with everyone in my network, I hoped that something else would pop up. One Monday morning, my office phone rang, and the voice on the other end said “Yanick, it’s Mr. Z. I’ve re-joined my old firm and we’re going ahead with our expansion plans. I was hoping that you’d be our man in Canada. Is that something that would interest you?” Score one for APICS! Two weeks later, I was on a flight to Brazil to begin on-boarding. I worked the next 18 months on a project in Florida, followed by 7 months in Texas. I loved working there. I liked my colleagues very much, the work we did, and where we were headed.
In December of 2012, we were told that the company had been acquired by very large multi-national advisory firm. This, for me, was an unbelievable opportunity. Score two for APICS! I thrived for the next three years. I was eventually let go due to re-organizing of the team, and I found myself with no job for the first time in my life. I had been give plenty of notice and had maintained good relationships with key individuals in my network so I put that to work.
I always went to local APICS events when in town, and often met Mr. X and Mr. Y there. I told him about my situation, and he encouraged me to get in touch with his HR department and apply for a job, which I did. After a couple of interviews, the hiring manager said that he wanted me to meet one last person by phone, this time by someone who was currently doing the job that I was applying for. That person turned out to be Mr. Y. Score three for APICS!
Now, I work with both Mr. X and Mr. Y. We work for a company on the leading edge of our chosen field. I am surrounded with people who challenge me and from whom I learn every day, and even though someday I’ll eventually have the means to retire, I don’t think that I’ll ever want to!
Now you know how APICS helped me broaden my career potential, and reach it. Thanks to my continued involvement with APICS, I learned more about supply chain management, and met people who helped me along the way. The most important thing that I learned from all this involvement is how helping others attain their goals leads to others helping you attain yours. In other words, people help those who help them.
In the next and last article, I’ll share with you how I expect APICS will play a part in the next phase of my career plan. One always needs goals and since I’ve attained all of mine, it’s that time again, the time to plan the next phase!
In the meantime, if you haven't checked out APICS yet to find out how you can help, I encourage you to do so. Now!