Return to 2011 Changemakers List

CARRIE CHAMBERLAIN
Senior Procurement Specialist–MRO Manufacturing Coca-Cola Refreshments

CRED When Chamberlain was first asked to establish an strategic meetings management program, she says, “I had planned a few company meetings in the past, but I really had no idea of what I was getting into!” As first steps, she developed a meeting policy and a standardized contract, “and convinced my senior management that mandating and supporting the program is in the best interest of the company.” (Once management got on board, her compliance went from 34 percent to 77 percent in North America.) Her next step was “to investigate what a third-party meeting planning company could do for us, not only with providing additional negotiation leverage, but to help us streamline our processes. We found that a key to our success was to have a third-party meeting team in place that was dedicated to our account that interfaced with the planners directly and also assisted the hotel community with our best practices.”

AHA MOMENT “At this point in my procurement career, travel and meetings management is my beacon of light. It’s a great place to find additional savings and cost avoidance numbers for any company. Companies are just starting to take notice of SMM, and many still don’t understand a program’s full potential to the company’s overall bottom line. In some cases, the SMMP can even generate additional revenue for a company.”

LOOKING AHEAD “I have moved to a new procurement category, Manufacturing, Repair, and Operation (MRO), where I will continue to grow my procurement skill set. As for the SMMP, it continues to grow and develop.”

MENTORS “So many people within my company have shown me the ‘bigger picture’: Amanda Somers [now director of global travel, Infor Global Solutions] helped me understand business travel and why the meetings category should be approached strategically, and Crystal Bell [now manager of indirect procurement, Porsche North America], reinforced the importance of sustainable relationships.”

ADVICE “Don’t forget the importance of a smile and handshake! Partner with industry experts and continue to learn and build those relationships.” —Barbara Scofidio