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A Story of Determination

Infosys Portland believes in a healthy gender balance in our teams and leadership positions.

We also recognise that as our workforce becomes more diverse many of the workplace norms also need to change and so our leadership team is actively listening to the perspectives of a more diverse mix of people.

As well as listening, we also recognise the power of storytelling. Telling stories about how people have forged their careers not only inspires others, but these stories help to illustrate new models, and models play an important part in cultural change as they work as guideposts and give others confidence that they can achieve something similar.

In this story from Ada Diane Rico, a self-confessed introvert, we learn that even when someone is as determined and clear-headed as Ada was in her college years there are still obstacles to overcome. Thankfully we rarely have to deal with them alone.

On the Right Trajectory Even with Some Twists and Turns

My career in procurement has had challenges, but I am grateful for the opportunities gained and lessons learned

Going into college, I knew I wanted to study business. Nearing the end of my first two years, as the deadline to decide on a major drew near, I had to make some choices about exactly what I studied. I decided to major in supply chain management. I reasoned that it would offer a wider variety of opportunities to learn about the business world compared to other majors.

Since graduating, I have had a string of supply chain and procurement roles and, while there have been obstacles, I’m grateful that I’ve been able to forge the career I’d imagined in my teenage years.

My first serious job came through a graduate intake at a global food and beverage company in their supply chain rotational program. Suddenly, I was a grown-up. Alas, it was not to last, as company-wide layoffs dropped me back into the market after less than two years.

I soon found a good role with a multinational construction materials manufacturer. I started in inventory management and then moved into strategic sourcing. I’d had no sourcing or category management experience at this point, but, reflecting on it now, because they took a chance on me, I was given a role that really set me up for my current area of expertise, in procurement.

Unfortunately, after some time working as a category specialist, I found myself having to deal with a significant health challenge. This meant that I had to take time off and I was out of the workforce for a year.

Thankfully my health recovered, and I was able to start working again. Though I was only out of action for a year, I somehow felt daunted by being away from work and felt rusty.

I shouldn’t have been so worried, as I found the sort of work, I was interested in again fairly quickly. This time, it was with an eSourcing company that conducted RFXs (requests for information, quotations, etc) and eAuctions on behalf of clients.

If you’re a bit of an introvert like me, you’ll know that you will be occasionally perceived as being disinterested, or too weak to deal with the cut and thrust of business. Sometimes it is the case that a more senior person just finds you hard to relate to. For the most part, in such circumstances, I think we just have to prove them wrong.

In my case, I had a team leader who thought I was not suited to the role because I was ‘too quiet’. This definitely added pressure and discomfort, but I was determined to succeed anyhow. I was lucky enough to be moved to another team in a few months, and it made a world of difference. My new team leader was a natural coach and recognised who I really was. Under his guidance, I flourished.

After some time, I decided I wanted to take the next big step in my supply chain and procurement career and move into consulting. I joined Infosys Portland after a recommendation from former colleagues.

The nature of the work is exactly what I was after. Globally, we deal with many different projects and scenarios, so there are always interesting things happening in the business. I’m also surrounded by like-minded people, many with deep expertise, and only too happy to share it.

In terms of culture, it is my favourite thing about working at Portland. I’ve met so many warm, collaborative people that like to both work hard and play hard. From category management advice to assisting with tricky spend analyses, or seeing who can make the best gingerbread house (virtually), to who can score the most points in axe-throwing, I can say I’ve very much enjoyed the past five years with my Portland colleagues. Overall, to obtain the career I wanted, I’ve had to push myself out of my comfort zone and let myself be vulnerable when facing difficulties. I’ve learned that there are many friends, sponsors, and mentors to help with the inevitable challenges that arise. So now, it’s onwards and upwards!

Ada’s story is one of many stories that have been told to demonstrate how varied our consultants are in terms of background and career history. Yet they all have in common a passion for professionalism and excellence. They also show what a difference it makes in terms of satisfaction and engagement when our personality and career interests align.

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