Debi Hamill, CEO, IAOP

In this three part series, Atul Vashistha, Chairman, Neo Group speaks to Debi Hamill, CEO, IAOP. They discuss what IAOP does and how it is aiding its members with making smarter decisions on sourcing. Debi shares her thoughts on automation and ethical implications of AI and why there needs to be a focus on education to take away the negative connotations around AI. She talks about the future and relevance of ESG. Debi Hamill highlights IAOP initiatives for industry leaders and young professionals.
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Expert Wisdom- Debi Hamill on IAOP creating real-time value for members

Career Advice- Debi Hamill, CEO, IAOP on educating the young workforce

Atul:
Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Sourcing.Guru I’m delighted to have with us, the CEO of IAOP, Debbie Hamill. Debbie, welcome.
Debi:
Thank you so much Atul. Thanks for the opportunity.
Atul:
Thank you. Debbie, IAOP has been iconic in the industry, has really set the stage for so many of us that started their careers in sourcing in outsourcing, and it really has been a great place for us to both learn from, and also to work with others. Tell us a little bit about IAOP Debbie, and particularly, what do you focus on in your role as CEO?
Debi:
IAOP Became association in 2005. And since that time we’ve been focused on bringing professionals together. Because we know that outsourcing, and those that are working within that industry, are professionals themselves. So what was important to us to pull together was what we call the three legs of the stool. The buyer, the provider, and the advisor who was working with all of them. We have also added in over the years, the academics. So really it’s kind of four legs of the stool, I think at this point.
Debi:
What we have been focusing on during all of this time is bringing education, connection and professionalism to the industry. So through that we’ve developed the certified outsourcing professional program. We have done events, we have had chapters and we’re doing more and more every day to make sure we’re delivering as much value to our members and those that really need to be connected to the resources that will help them in their jobs now and in the future.
Atul:
Yeah, truly a spirit of collaboration between these different stakeholders. And as you know, Debbie, I’ve been very fortunate to be part of IAOP from its very beginning. Thank you for that.
Debi:
Thank you.
Atul:
Welcome to another episode. Debi, let’s switch to the next part. So one of the things we’re seeing in the industry and really in the business environment is these rapid changes. So the frequency of change, severity of change really going up. And then when you think about IAOP, talk to us a little bit about what is IAOP doing to support its members so that they can actually respond better to some of these changes in the business environment.
Debi:
Yeah. And nothing has caused or accelerated change like COVID has. So what we have been trying to accomplish at IAOP is to make sure, again it’s all about collaboration and connection, so making sure those that are looking for information on certain topics, whether it be technology or how to do business in the future or how am I going to recover, business continuity and all of that, that we have the resources readily available to them.
Debi:
And IAOP has always been set up as for the members by the members. So our members are our thought leaders. They’re our experts in the field. So being able to connect say a buyer with a potential partner or someone looking for information on, hey, how do I govern now with multi-partners in an online environment? I can’t really do that. The four walls are no longer there. So we’ve been having a lot of conversations around that. So what we’re doing now is bringing people together more in kind of an online network as we’re going through the transition of the pandemic, developing those resources with our members for other members, all about connection and collaboration.
Atul:
Right. And that enables things to stay current, right? And not necessarily things that are outdated. Let me talk to you a little bit about some of the trends. And I know the audience would love to hear, Debi, in terms of what IAOP is doing. So one of them, of course is automation, right? Automation’s having a major impact when it comes to whether it’s digital technologies focused on the tech automation or whether that’s business process automation. Talk to us about what are some of the efforts that IAOP’s putting behind and for its members around automation and digital technologies.
Debi:
Well, we have developed with the help of our strategic advisory board, of which you are now chair if I can say that, the idea behind focusing our resources on the areas that our members, where they’re really putting their dollars and where they are doing their business. So the development of centers of excellence became really, really critical. One of those, of course, is the digital technology COE, which is very much focused on automation. We’ve been lucky enough to create a partnership with COGNITIVE WORLD and their think tank. And we just recently did, as you well know, as you were the moderator, a wonderful and really exciting webinar, which is available on the website for anybody that wants to learn more about what we’re doing and what these experts have delivered for us.
Debi:
It’s constantly changing, and if we can stay on top of the new technologies and when you think about AI and automation, it’s nothing to be of afraid of. We have to embrace it. But we have to do it right and we have to be ethical and we have to understand it. I worry so much that because outsourcing had a bad connotation for so many years, you know you took my job and you sent it overseas, now it’s going to be you took my job and you gave it to a robot. So I want to make sure that a lot of the focus is on education because without that we’re really not able to see beyond what’s right in front of us right now.
Atul:
Yeah, no, absolutely. And, Debi, I also just recently joined the think tank at COGNITIVE WORLD. And one of the things that’s very clear is it’s human-enabled AI. And I think people a lot of times mistake. So there’s a tremendous amount of effort that humans can put in. And I think that chapter is doing a great job of educating members, exposing them to new technologies and new companies as such, and also helping educate how do you actually start programs and how do you scale them. That’s a great addition there. One of the other trends, Debi, that we see is this tremendous attention to ESG: environmental, societal, governance issue, diversity, equity, inclusion. Talk to us a little bit about the IAOP initiatives around ESG/impact sourcing/corporate social responsibility.
Debi:
Oh yeah. Perfect. That’s near and dear to my heart. Many years ago, we were contacted by the Rockefeller Foundation when they were launching their Digital Jobs Africa initiative. And over the years, I have just found so much that draws me and others to this. And I think as we look at everything that’s coming our way, and we want to make an impact. People entering the workforce out of colleges now want to work for companies that are making an impact. So we focus a lot on impact sourcing. We do the global impact sourcing award. This is the fourth year in connection and partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation. We’ve developed the impact sourcing SRO center of excellence, which we will be expanding as we move on to include diversity in supply chain. ESG is a perfect home there.
Debi:
These things are what buyers are going to be adding to their RFPs. This is the wave of the future. We need to educate. We need to understand why it’s important. We need to make the connection so that we all can come out of this feeling like we’ve done well by doing good or we’ve done good by doing well, or however you want to say it. That impact is going to be critical and we need to educate people.
Atul:
Yeah, absolutely. And in fact, that’s one of your four centers of excellence.
Debi:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Atul:
Right?
Debi:
Yes.
Atul:
Impact sourcing being one of them. And I also love the way, Debi, that how IAOP’s approached it in terms of collaborating with other organizations like Rockefeller Foundation and others. Let’s think about kind of, when you think about the next 12, 24 months, what are some of the areas that IAOP is looking to invest in more and particularly around what members are asking you for?
Debi:
Well, definitely the four centers of excellence. We will grow those and the thought leadership that will be readily available. And as some of our members have said, what we really need is real-time information. So we will be working hard to make sure that is constantly updated, that all of the information is fresh, that our members have the opportunity to provide their insight to help us get there. The other thing is we will be working very hard on our certified outsourcing professional program because as we know, especially folks that are entering the workforce now they’re looking for certification. They’re looking for the opportunity to have those initials after their name. This is important. So we are very much focused on taking what we have, the COP masterclass and the certifications that go along with this program, and making them, updating them, rewriting them, making sure they’re fresh and current to go along with everything we know now and the changing technologies. I think that’s going to be really critical and a big focus as their business environment is changing. Let’s talk about you as a leader, how you think about careers. What resources do you rely on…
Atul:
Welcome to another episode. So Debi, let’s talk about you as a leader, how you think about careers. What resources do you rely on to make yourself a better leader?
Debi:
Oh, that one’s so easy. It’s our members. So many of the people involved with IAOP have been part of IAOP since the beginning. I rely on them for advice and counsel; what’s coming down the road? What should we be focused on? Our strategic advisory board, I don’t know what I would do without them. That’s really where the rubber meets the road. Only these experts in the field, these executives who see this every day, can tell me, “Hey, this is the next thing coming. Let’s make sure we’re on the forefront of it.”
Debi:
So that, to me, is really, really critical. I rely on those members, and I don’t know where I’d be without them. And I think that’s true for everyone. One of the things I would say, when you’re thinking about whatever career it is, but especially in this space, find someone that really knows, has been at this for a long time, and let them mentor you so you really have a fresh perspective on what the industry looks like.
Atul:
So just to maybe expand on that a little bit more, Debi, what other advice would you have for young professionals, or professionals that want to have a career in outsourcing, insourcing, vendor management? What other advice would you give them?
Debi:
Well, first and foremost, get connected to organizations like IAOP, where you can tap the resources. Our members are there to help, they want to help. One of the reasons we developed this Centers of Excellence was that we could provide that kind of one-on-one connection. Our members are willing to give so much of their knowledge and their time. So I think that’s very important. Get connected with these organizations.
Debi:
Again, find a mentor, but connection is all of it. Get on LinkedIn, find the people, reach out. There’s nothing like that connection to get you to the next step, and not just what’s the next job I’m looking for, but for knowledge and support. I think that’s really critical. Get involved, more than anything. Get involved.
Atul:
Debi, I think that’s great advice, and thank you to you and the amazing contribution that IAOP makes to the industry, and to the professionals. Thank you, Debi. Thank you for making time to be on Sourcing.Guru.
Debi:
Well, thank you too. Thanks so much.

In This Episode

Debi Hamill

CEO

IOAP

Debi is a hands-on Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with expertise in strategy, business development, operations, global conferences and events, She is known for her relationship development acumen. Through strategic foresight, drive and determination, she helped build the foundation for IAOP’s success. With 25+ years’ experience working with Fortune 500 companies and the C-Suite, Debi’s work has been instrumental in positioning IAOP as the preeminent professional association for organizations and individuals involved in transforming the world of business through outsourcing and collaboration. Through her leadership and vision, she developed IAOP’s Impact Sourcing and its Women’s Empowerment, Leadership and Diversity chapters as causes near to her heart. She is a Private Sector Advisory Council member of the World Bank initiative: Solutions for Youth Employment, on the advisory board of the Global Mentorship Initiative and a member of Global Impact Sourcing Coalition. Debi is also a long-time supporter of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.
Atul Vashistha is recognized globally as a leading expert on globalization, governance, and risk. He has authored three best-selling books: The Offshore Nation, Globalization Wisdom and Outsourcing Wisdom. Atul pioneered the global sourcing advisory space in 1999 when he founded Neo Group which collaborates with Global 2000 enterprises, empowering them to build new capabilities and generate rapid savings by leveraging global talent, analytics and automation. Neo Group offers Global Sourcing Advisory, Data Governance, and Risk Management services. Atul serves on the boards of the US Department of Defense Business Board (Vice Chair), IAOP, Shared Assessments, and Zemoga.

Atul Vashistha

Chairman

NeoGroup

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