Liz Phelan   |   22 Mar 2021   |   2 min read

IWD: Women in Procurement Series - Jesse Johnson

Jessej sow

In honour of International Women’s Day, we are continuing our interview series of celebrating ‘Women in Procurement’ around this year's theme #ChoosetoChallenge.

A challenged world is an alert world. We are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day.

We can choose to challenge gender bias and inequality. We can choose to celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create a more inclusive world.

From challenge comes change, so let's all choose to challenge.

We are proud to work with Jesse Johnson, Senior Procurement and Contracts Office at the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley. Jesse is a strong believer in digital transformation across the procurement system and aligning teams through structured sourcing processes.

What was the biggest challenge of 2020 and how did you tackle it?

The biggest challenge to the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley (SWEK) was the WA lockdown. SWEK is located in the Kimberley region of WA and due to concerns around COVID-19 and indigenous populations, all four local government areas of the Kimberley were locked down from each other, the rest of the state and our bordering neighbour the Northern Territory. This made accessing our out-of-region contractors impossible and as a result, where we couldn’t satisfy works and services locally, we had to put a hold on project delivery.

The Kimberley experiences two seasons; wet and dry, so COVID lockdowns isolated us during the majority of our 2020 dry season (the construction season) and as a result we have experienced 12-month delays for some projects.

How has technology enabled procurement at your organisation?

Technology has allowed us to standardise how we manage procurement, to have transparency over all our procurement, to fulfil our record management obligations seamlessly and to operate remotely as a team.

What advice would you give a young woman entering the profession?

It is important to understand all aspects of the project delivery lifecycle and where procurement sits in that cycle. Through understanding the full life cycle you can understand just how critical the procurement phase is for achieving optimal outcomes. Learn all you can from peers and mentors to gain a holistic understanding of project delivery, and where possible ensure your professional development covers the spectrums of procurement, contract management and project management.

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