LouAnn Birkett, a Leader of Change
LouAnn Birkett has experienced change in her career before. Throughout her many years in the supply chain sector, she has moved from smaller roles to larger, private to public, and from the SCMA Ontario Board of Directors to SCMA National. But her latest change, which took place earlier this year, may be the largest transition of her career – the transition to retirement. We would like to congratulate LouAnn on her retirement this May and take the time to thank her for her involvement and impact within the association. Through various volunteer roles, teaching roles and a longstanding membership, LouAnn Birkett, CSCMP, epitomizes the ideal supply chain professional and has exceeded what is expected of a supply chain leader throughout her career and membership with SCMAO.
Reflecting on her career, it is clear that Birkett’s work ethic and positive attitude have always been apparent in her every day work. Birkett sees the beginning of her career as the day she was offered a Buyer role shortly after her twin daughters were born. She was not immediately offered the position, but spent months proving her worth. Birkett recognizes this as her initial position in the supply chain sector as well as a career highlight. Her next big move came when she shifted from the private sector to the public sector, which is also where she finished her career at the Region of Durham. Birkett explains, “I learned so much while I was there, especially with respect to the challenges of implementing change in a large organization. It was a very rewarding time in my career and one I will always cherish.”
A large part of Birkett’s career development also came from her involvement with the SCMA federation. Within the Ontario and National Boards, Birkett chaired two committees, both responsible for implementing a major change. Of late, this included a governance transition at the National Board – a project Birkett remains very passionate about. Alongside her Board of Directors roles, she took on various other volunteer positions, where her team leadership and problem solving skills were a strong asset, and played a key role in the development of the association. Her love of teaching is yet another place she has created positive change. Birkett has been an instructor in each of the educational programs, including the Certified Supply Chain Management Professional (CSCMP) program, and in all formats. Her commitment to SCMAO students and their success is proven by her student-centered focus. Birkett is highly regarded for the breadth of experience she shares in her lessons. Her mentoring ability comes naturally and she has used this ability to guide many members of the SCMAO family.
Birkett sees the rewards she gained in giving back to the association, and encourages others to get involved. These rewards include leadership, presentation skills, self-confidence and – the ability to implement change. But it’s the friends she made through her many roles that have evolved into truly deep connections over time that cherishes. Most notably, those in the Durham District. “I think what I will miss most is the team that I had the pleasure of working with at the Region of Durham. They are truly professionals!”
With retirement, comes the freedom to set her own schedule and manage a work life balance, which she looks forward to. However, she will continue teaching, alongside consulting work. “Stay tuned, I plan on being more active than ever!” LouAnn exclaims, “Of course, I plan to continue as a volunteer, and to mentor others who are early in their careers, encouraging them to give back to both the association and the profession. The reward is so amazing!”
We regret that we weren’t able to join the celebration of her career and time at the Region of Durham, but we wish LouAnn all the best in this change, and know that this is not a farewell but a see you soon.
You can congratulate LouAnn in person at this year’s AGM after the Annual Conference on October 21st. She will be providing the update on SCMA National’s activities in support of members.
Wael Safwat Awarded CIPS Chartered Status
SCMAO is proud to recognize Wael Safwat, FCIPS, CSCMP, current member of the SCMAO Board of Directors and the Chairman of the Awards Committee, on achieving the prestigious designation of Chartered Status, Fellowship Chartered Procurement & Supply Chain Professional, awarded by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) in the United Kingdom. Currently only nine senior procurement and supply practitioner’s hold this individual professional status. Wael Safwat is the first recipient of the Middle East & North Africa Region, while based in Dubai before moving to Canada last year. He is currently Chairman of the CIPS Branch in Canada.
There are multiple routes to achieve the Chartered Status including academic, experiential and applied learning. As a senior practitioner, the experiential route was the most appropriate for Wael. While progressing through the awarding process, Wael had the opportunity to reflect on his 21 years of international experience across different industries in procurement and supply chain. The initial application began a structured five-stage process that often takes candidates six months to a full year to complete. The second stage consisted of a competencies’ assessment evaluating candidate’s knowledge in comparison to the CIPS Global Standards. Wael recognized the importance of this standard in ensuring his daily leadership and practices are exceptional, both practically and ethically. “It’s absolutely important to be challenged and assessed from time to time,” he recognizes, “getting feedback was fantastic, as an input for successful continuous professional development.”
From there, the successful candidate is required to write a series of statements designed to illustrate their past involvement in different aspects of the profession, and demonstrate a reflection of their competencies and skill sets against the CIPS Global Standards. This stage allows candidates to express their commitment and passion for the profession. “It’s challenging to go through all of your past experiences,” Wael explained. “You have to try to make yourself stand out.” The awarding process concluded with an intensive interview where all submissions and profiles were reviewed and past work experience was validated. What may appear to be a daunting meeting, Wael described as more of a discussion – free of judgement – on his experience in the sector.
Wael explains his drive towards achieving Chartered Status as a dedication to constantly remaining challenged. “Case in point – I wanted to demonstrate to colleagues and peers to never stop your professional development,” he admits. “Respect your seniority and asses your competency. This profession is getting more and more complex, while having high demanding customers. We must be capable, to ensure the supply chain is absolutely up to the mark and well recognized.” On that note, he encourages any senior practitioner committed to developing their careers to consider this as a means of continuing to further their professional development.
Wael concludes, “At the end of the day, the goal is to challenge your skillsets and capability.”
Achieving Chartered Status is a significant milestone in Wael’s career and advancement in the procurement and supply management profession. As a member of the SCMAO Board, Chairman of the Awards Committee and Chairman of the CIPS Branch in Canada, Wael actively promotes the profession in Canada and globally. He is a valuable member of SCMAO and Ontario’s procurement and supply chain community.
2015 25 Year Award Recipients
At this year's annual conference gala dinner, we celebrated with honourees who have been long-standing members with the association. Presented by President and CEO, Kelly Duffin and SCMAO Board Chair, Richard Lough, members were given an elegant glass award detailing their time with the association.
Surrounded by fellow members and colleagues, this was a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge those members who have achieved this milestone with SCMAO.
We would like to congratulate all of our award recipients. Your membership is what makes us the leading association in supply chain.