ISM World 2024: Career Development Through Mentorship, Cross-Functioning and More

April 30, 2024
By Sue Doerfler

Three emerging professionals offered firsthand accounts of how procurement, technology and business trends and disruptions have impacted their roles — and themselves — during the “Top Trends, Tips and Tricks from ISM’s Emerging Professionals Committee” session Tuesday at ISM World 2024 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Their insights and advice can serve as learning tools for a supply management professional at any role and level.

How has mentorship impacted your career? “I wouldn't be anywhere without the help of my mentors,” said Timothy Mansure, senior manager, advanced therapies procurement at Johnson & Johnson. “Some of those mentors are coworkers, some are friends, some family. I'm very grateful for and appreciative of all of them.”

Mansure said that It’s important to see mentorship as a two-way, not one-way, street: the mentee and mentor learn from each other. He also mentioned that having a diverse mentorship network — mentors of all ages and roles, from those slightly more senior to executive-level mentors — can make for an enhanced experience because of the different perspectives.

Eden Jacoby, senior adviser, logistics operations program manager at Dell, agreed, saying, “Even if you have a mentor assigned to you, still go outside that to find more of those organic relationships. … I still leverage my professors from college — I would not be here today without my professors. Even my parents.”

A give-and-take relationship is key to mentorship. “I really value trust and openness — those are the relationships that really benefit me,” Jacoby said.

What has helped you become a cross-functional professional? Justin Hyrb, senior procurement consultant at Proxima, who moderated the session, said that connecting with others at events like the Conference has helped him become more cross-functional. For him, learning different perspectives was a priority.

“We may all work in different in areas, but at the end of the day, there's a lot of similarities in our job functions,” Hyrb said. He offered an example of how, a year into his career in the steel industry, he met someone working in biotech. “The services we were each procuring were pretty different, just by the nature,” he said.

But they started talking about the concept of supply-based optimization. Hyrb implemented a few insights he learned through the conversation, which generated more costs savings than he would have had otherwise. “We’re all so driven with our companies,” he said, “but being able to learn from others, I think, has really helped with my career progression.”

How has artificial intelligence (AI) helped enable your role? Comments included: “We are using AI to better leverage our decision-making … and improve our supply chain for the future.” “We’re looking to see how we can leverage AI to potentially automate the RFP and go-to-market processes.”

Among the other questions asked: What strategies and alternative approaches are sourcing professionals doing to combat price increases? What roles or job functions have you seen be automated? What has been your experience with nearshoring?

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t be insular. Learn from others, whether mentors, colleagues, those in other professions.
  • Having cross-functional experience can help you, no matter your role.
  • Develop professional relationships across functions.


“If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.” — Mansure

About the Author

Sue Doerfler

About the Author

As Senior Writer for Inside Supply Management® magazine, I cover topics, trends and issues relating to supply chain management.