Kathy Golding: Delivering Exceptional Experience

Kathy Golding | EY Global Procurement & Supplier Ecosystem | Services Leader
Kathy Golding | EY Global Procurement & Supplier Ecosystem | Services Leader

With solid strategic planning and decision-making abilities to build and maintain effective relationships with suppliers and key stakeholders and a deep understanding of the industry and the various factors that can impact it, Kathy Golding has proven herself with her leadership.

As EY Global Procurement & Supplier Ecosystem Services Leader, Kathy implements her decade-old experience to deliver results with a seamless work procedure.

Kathy’s dedication to her work is unmatched, which is why CIO Look discussed her professional journey to date and where it is headed.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Kathy, kindly brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at EY. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?

Upon graduation with MBA from York University in Canada, I joined Celestica, a Canadian outsourced electronics manufacturing company. I began as a cost analyst for the Chief Procurement Officer, who then asked me to help start up a procurement office in Switzerland, which is when I transitioned into a procurement manager role. Over time, I worked my way up and was eventually promoted to director level, which brought forth challenges such as working in a “24 hours a day, seven days a week” environment and managing the cost and availability of critical manufacturing parts, especially during shortages or unforeseen supplier factory issues.

I met my husband while in Switzerland and decided to take a step back from my role at Celestica to relocate to the UK. I then joined Tesco as a Corporate Procurement Manager for Technology, including retail hardware, software and services. It was extremely rewarding to see the solutions I procured together with technology stakeholders come to life in the market.

Around the time my son was born in 2010, I realized I wanted to take my valuable experience and work for a global organization with a strong brand in the market …and the rest is history!

I started my journey with the EY organization over 10 years ago and have spent the entirety of my EY career in Supply Chain Services (SCS). I assumed my current role of Procurement & Supplier Ecosystem Services Leader in July 2022, managing the global spend categories of Talent, Technology, Brand, Marketing and Communications (BMC) across the organization, from sourcing inception to full contract lifecycle management of our supplier relationships.

I believe my past experiences have helped me to develop a truly global mindset. Being raised by Chinese immigrant parents, developing my professional skills as a woman in the technology sector and in positions of leadership, and working in offices and with people all over the world have provided me with the agility to adapt to change and transformation on my career path.

Tell us something more about your organization and its mission and vision.

The purpose of the EY organization is to build a better working world. The insights and services the organization provides help to drive long-term value for clients, people and society and to build trust in the capital markets. An essential function under EY

Business Enablement, SCS is a global team with more than 600 professionals in over 35 countries supporting the EY organization globally. Our structure helps enable knowledge sharing across categories and regions, which streamlines efforts in seeking innovative suppliers that can provide exceptional client service to maximize SCS’s value for the EY organization and the world’s supply chain.

Under EY SCS sits Procurement & Supplier Ecosystem Services (PSES), whose purpose is to drive more significant synergies and value creation from sourcing to contract lifecycle management, deliver exceptional client experiences and build more vital collaboration to manage Technology, Talent and BMC spend categories.

We forge meaningful supplier relationships and strengthen supplier resilience to help EY maximize long-term value for its people, clients and communities.

Enlighten us on how you have impacted the procurement sector through your expertise in the market.

A crucial part of PSES success and collaboration with the business is our Center of Excellence (CoE) model, which is made up of virtual teams of category professionals that actively gather, develop, share and apply knowledge to a global category, collaborating with stakeholders and groups to drive long-term value and execution across the EY organization.

Our CoEs cover the following key Talent and Technology spend areas including Automotive Mobility, Cybersecurity, Health and Insurance, Human Capital, Learning and Development, Managed Services, Professional Services, Rewards and Benefits, Software, and Telecoms.

The CoEs continue to grow and raise the bar of the art of the possible through the delivery of innovation, integration, simplification and realization of value. They are also continually recognized outside of the EY organization for their efforts.

Recently, EY Global Automotive Mobility CoE Lead Marc Wittenberg was recognized as the winner of Mobility Management Event’s 2022 Mobility Manager of the Year and the Fleet Europe Awards 2022 European Smart Mobility Manager of the Year. Additionally, EY Global PSES CoE sponsor, Jelle Hoogendoorn spoke with The Hackett Group in September 2022 on PSES’ multiyear CoE transformation and the value of the concept.

Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drive your organization.

While PSES strongly emphasizes the importance of operational excellence, brand value and quantitative value, our most important asset is our EY people. With that in mind, the entire SCS leadership team strives to provide our people with the resources they need to thrive personally and professionally.

The SCS Wellbeing Network, established in 2019, is a network of members across all categories and teams within SCS including PSES, Real Estate, Travel, Meetings & Events, Environmental, Social, Governance and Enablement, and Source to Settle Enablement. It aims to equip our EY people with the knowledge and support they need to care for and prioritize their emotional, financial, physical and social well-being. Led by PSES team member Maria Harrison, this network runs wellness sessions and challenges and connects with EY Talent to share knowledge and help disseminate the wealth of resources offered across the EY organization to our EY people. We strongly value our EY people and aim to cultivate an environment that allows for open communication, transparency and care.

Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?

There are several technological developments that PSES has brought to life over the past year, with one of them being the SmartSpend app, an internal application built by our Enablement team (led by Dan Jenkins and with the technical knowledge of Michael Roche), that allows sourcing managers to quickly and efficiently help manage Spend under Management data. The Enablement team has also been instrumental in driving innovation within PSESby creating a Commercials application, providing instant access to financial spend information and executing its continuous improvements to enhance the user experience.

Another fundamental way in which our team is utilizing technology to simplify the way we work is the recent implementation of a SCS Smart Landing Page, on which any EY internal stakeholder can submit a sourcing request and be quickly completed through faster buying channels or be directed to the right team to drive the sourcing process for an overall smooth and seamless stakeholder experience. Created in collaboration with the Source to Settle Enablement team, the goals of implementing this enhanced landing page include enhanced supplier due diligence and engagement with diverse suppliers, vital consistency across the sourcing process and an overall simplified experience of working with SCS.

What change would you like to bring to the procurement industry if given a chance?

One change I would like to bring to the industry would be continuously raising the procurement brand internally and externally. Procurement is often seen as a cost-cutting department. However, at EY, we strive to help deliver long-term value through strong CoE excellence, process efficiencies and innovation.

We act as a trustworthy, trusted business advisor and genuinely global function and also think on a local scale. This is what we call brand value: going beyond the quantitative value of procurement and supplier relationship management by thinking strategically, implementing transformation and adding value in other ways in collaborating with our stakeholders.

Working with smaller diverse suppliers, attending supplier pitch events for minority-owned businesses and working collaboratively with our Environmental Social Governance and Enablement Services team to continue raising the bar and building a Better Working World are all ways by which we drive.

Our PSES team leads the charge in striving to provide internal and external stakeholders, clients, and vendors with the ultimate experience, and we drive and foster long-term and mutually beneficial relationships; this is a game-changer in positioning the procurement industry in the best possible light as we experience an ever-changing environment.

What, according to you, could be the next significant change in the procurement sector? How is your organization preparing to be a part of that change?

Leveraging technological advancements to strengthen the procurement experience internally and externally is the change I expect to see in the sector. The EY organization is already demonstrating internal changes, particularly in the Enablement function of PSES, regarding supplier experience.

We are continually raising the bar to become a digitally enabled function that attracts the absolute best talent. We have prioritized collaboration with our technology supplier, SAP, reducing the administrative burden on our sourcing managers’ daily tasks by 80% through a relentless pursuit of innovation. The success of this initiative was highlighted during the 2022 SAP North America Customer Advocacy Day.

To provide a smooth and streamlined onboarding and collaboration experience for our suppliers, we are also preparing for a new, game-changing supplier experience portal that will dramatically simplify the way suppliers work with the complex EY organization.

The supplier experience portal will help enable complete transparency in our supplier relationships, will incorporate all facets of the onboarding process and include operational steps required by various functions across the business into one centralized location for an enhanced and connected onboarding experience. With a June-August 2023 launch, we are already experiencing a huge interest in the platform from both internal stakeholders and external clients, so watch this space!

Additionally, the EY organization recently announced plans to potentially separate into two distinct, multidisciplinary organizations, and I believe that what we have achieved over the past 10-plus years in SCS has placed us in a position of strength to wholly support this exciting transformation.

Where do you envision yourself in the long run, and what are your future goals for EY?

I am fortunate that my career has always been centered around my passion for procurement. I am excited about the potential EY organizational restructure and the opportunity to be a part of something that only happens once in a lifetime at this scale. PSES has made a significant effort to achieve giant steps, supporting all of our business units. We have the right team to drive and help deliver continued results together, whatever the future may hold.

What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the procurement sector?

The EY organization is well known for fostering entrepreneurship, holding the “EY Entrepreneur Of The Year” global program that recognizes entrepreneurial achievement among individuals and companies demonstrating vision, leadership, and success.

A few tips for budding entrepreneurs aspiring to excel in the supply chain world – be part of teams that:

  • Empower and encourage change
  • Make employees feel like partners family
  • Create a safe environment to share ideas
  • Demonstrate a creative culture
  • Are always open to mini-failures!

I’ve been fortunate to find this at the EY organization and we strive to support budding professionals. Since 2018, PSES has helped develop young, budding talent by bringing on board 25 interns to date. During the recruitment process, we seek out students who have demonstrated entrepreneurial flair – their activities and university studies have ranged from a “side hustle” homemade holiday card business to fitness coaching!

Our interns have brought enormous levels of creative energy and enthusiasm to the SCS team. We challenge each student to think differently and challenge the established way of doing things here. While with us, they all build a robust network and develop various skills for the future, including facilitation, supply chain, and consulting methodologies.

In a working world competing for the best people, the intern initiative helps promote the EY organization to the brightest students and create new opportunities so that these entrepreneurial students may become EY leaders of the future.