Having in the past had the privilege of traveling the world to speak about procurement, business trends and social media, I was glad to end my one and a half year hiatus from the circuit this past week in Pittsburgh at the Denali Group’s Executive Sourcing Forum.
During my time of travel inertia I was anything but idle, filling my days with authoring several books and countless articles for a number of blogs including this one. What can I say, I love to write.
And let’s not forget the radio show the PI Window on Business on Blog Talk Radio. In August we aired our 500th show, which makes me wonder where the time went as it doesn’t seem that long ago that I took to the virtual airwaves with our first show.
All this being said nothing can compare with being able to meet with individuals face-to-face to talk about a timely topic.
Whether it be an audience of 10 or 400, as anyone who has attended my sessions will attest, they are collaborative affairs in which the podium is generously shared.
From this latter standpoint, the Denali Forum was exceptional on many levels.
To start, the opportunity to meet and talk with participants the night before at a dinner hosted by Denali helped to establish a rapport with those who would invariably play an important part in the following day’s discussion.
The fact that Denali had the creative foresight to have the head chef Bill Fuller speak to everyone about the challenges of sourcing for 16 diverse restaurant brands, added a noteworthy dimension to the meal itself. I for one found the food sourcing process particularly interesting as I had just finished reading Nancy Deville’s Death By Supermarket book.
Understanding the work behind the scenes also gave me a greater appreciation for my exquisitely prepared salmon with fresh sun dried tomato dish. Given the ease in which we can order a meal or shop for various food items in our local grocery store belies the actual efforts that go into what we routinely take for granted.
Of course this is what makes procurement great, in that it ultimately touches all areas of our everyday life.
Along these lines, the diversity of backgrounds and experiences of the individuals in front of whom I had the opportunity to stand the following day is what really drove this point home.
Coming from both the private and public sector, the professionals who attended the Denali Forum were there to share as much as they were there to learn. Trust me when I say this, but having been in the industry for more than 20 years there is always something new to learn. Understanding this key tenet of knowledge exchange, Denali did what any great host will do . . . they created the ideal environment and then helped to facilitate an energetic and meaningful discussion.
Not everyone who was in attendance was a Denali client, but when you are passionate the way they are about what you do, you tend to be inclusive rather than exclusive. This is always a good thing and is one of the reasons why I was happy to get back on the road again in Pittsburgh.
In part 2 of this post I will touch on some of the key revelations that came though the actual Forum discussion.