Episode 14 of the Public Procurement Leaders Podcast with Guest Marcheta Gillespie
Not everyone knows they want a career in public procurement, but we commonly hear how much people love it after they arrive. The same is true for Marcheta Gillespie, whose procurement journey started after an opportunity to interview with a Director of Procurement during her senior year at Arizona.
After spending year 1 figuring out exactly what she had gotten herself into, Gillespie quickly discovered she had a knack for helping people solve problems. “Sometimes the solution was simple, but as I grew in the profession, the problems became more complex.”
Her first big break came with the opportunity to work on the Modern Streetcar Project, a multi-million dollar public works project in downtown Tuscon that required significant coordination from myriad contractors and stakeholders. “The streetcar project required use of all my skill sets. From learning how to deal with complex issues, handling difficult situations regarding people that I wouldn’t normally interact with like representatives from international contractors, learning their culture and business norms….It’s what I was really drawn to.”
The relationship building and problem-solving she developed during her career have been integral in the work she’s done since her public sector departure, specifically with the Global Council for Women in Procurement. Her personal philosophy is to improve things wherever possible. “If you really enjoy something, find a way to make the organization better, whatever it is. Apply your skills to help improve procurement, to elevate procurement.”
Now a champion for creating more opportunities for women in procurement, Marcheta is part of a group of leaders encouraging women to be more involved in the profession. “I have encountered so many women that have tremendous skill and a lot to offer, but as I talk to them they aren’t getting involved, there is something holding them back. Whether self-doubt or lack of organizational support, I always try to find a way to help them connect an opportunity to an interest.”
Get out there, be bold, build your network! Marcheta says. “Always be curious and look for ways to build your opportunities beyond your organization.” Great advice for procurement professionals everywhere, and especially for women who are finding new voice and courage to lead us into a brighter future.
Listen to Marcheta Gillespie tell her whole story on Episode 14 of the Public Procurement Leaders podcast!