After a few years on the hotel side, Maddy Caliri took a job with information technology company NCR, where she built circuit boards while studying for her degree in logistics. When AT&T bought NCR and then spun it off in 1996, she jumped into AT&T’s fledgling global procurement group, where she worked on large sponsorship deals with organizations such as the NBA and the Olympics. That’s also when her group put together its first version of an SMMP. When she was recruited by Reed Elsevier four years ago to join the newly centralized procurement organization, she was attracted by the challenge of bringing together exhibitions, meetings, and travel spend, and doing it on a global basis.
EVOLUTION Being part of a new global procurement department was exciting, she says, because she was able to define how the total hotel spend—be it related to meetings or exhibitions—other meetings-related areas, and rewards and recognition would fit into the global procurement strategy as it was being developed.
She had to pull together the hotel program’s five divisions that had been running independently. And she had to figure out how to satisfy all the stakeholders of a global meeting program of an Anglo-Dutch company from her base in the U.S. After 18 months of research, she launched the SMMP, which fortunately got a lot of buy-in even though it was not mandated.
Working with Reed Elsevier’s exhibitions division was particularly challenging in the beginning because they didn’t historically work with procurement. Once she determined how and where procurement could add value, “the conversations really opened up,” she says. Now the SMMP is moving into its second phase, which includes strengthening the program outside of the U.S. “That’s been the fun part lately.”
She credits her chief procurement officer, Leslie Campbell, for “getting our procurement department to not just think about savings and mitigation, but also about how we can add value to the business.” For example, she says, “Now I’m looking at hotel space not only from a procurement perspective but also from a business opportunity perspective,” such as how suppliers may be able to use her company’s products and services.
MENTORS An unnamed executive Caliri worked with at AT&T—a lawyer by education and an executive by vocation—helped her bring herskills to a new level, she says. Another mentor was Angela Naegele, whom she worked with at AT&T and now at Reed Elsevier, who, she says, “gives me the freedom to put together the pieces of the puzzle my way, which is by examining the relationships between the pieces, while also showing me how the data fits into the solution.” - Sue Pelletier