Negotiating with Vendors Can Be Fun. With Parrots? Not so much.
...a conversation with Danielle Partington, Sourcing Manager, ProcurementToday we shine the Support Centre Spotlight on Danielle Partington, Sourcing Manager, Procurement, who tells us about her role in Procurement and the reason she’s unlikely to get a bird as her next pet.
Tell me about your background – how long have you been with dentalcorp and what were you doing before you joined?
I have been with dentalcorp for just over 2 years now. Before that, I spent 14 years in retail in Category Management. I worked for Well.ca, Indigo, and Canadian Tire. I managed quite a few different categories including Baby, Toy, Tabletop and Fishing & Hunting – ironically enough I have never fished or hunted.
I learned about dentalcorp through my husband who is also in the dental industry; he had a lot of great things to say about the company. It sounded like an exciting, fast-paced organization with a unique approach and a start-up vibe that made for an environment that felt both familiar and enjoyable.
Can you tell me a bit about your role on your team? What does a typical day look like?
I am responsible for the evaluation of our supplier network. Our goal is to partner with new and existing vendors who will provide the most value to our practices. I negotiate supplier agreements & vendor contracts on behalf of the practices, and help practices save money & improve operating efficiencies as they relate to procurement.
COVID-19 has resulted in a change in focus within my role as the company has had to adapt. With the global shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), suppliers have been struggling to meet demands. Our team has had to source inventory from new and non-traditional sources, as well as learn to forecast and understand new demand requirements. We are responsible for ensuring practices receive the supplies they need while always being mindful of the business impacts to the organization, even with guidelines that are constantly shifting and changing. While managing current needs, we are always evaluating and planning for the future so that, if the need arises, we will be equipped to handle any future supply chain shortages.
Tell me something funny that’s happened to you.
When I was in university, my roommates and I were in the process of moving into a new house. I noticed a parrot in the hallway – one of the neighbour’s pets who had escaped. No word of a lie – I ran around the house for 20 minutes, chasing this parrot. It was when I got close enough to coax the bird onto my arm like a pirate that I realized how huge its claws were. I realized this was a two person job and made my way out of the house to find help. This must have really upset the parrot because it jumped on my head, flapping its wings, squawking, and pulling on my hair. Screaming, I ran down the street. I did find my roommates, but they were no help as they were laughing hysterically. I can only imagine how I looked to the rest of the neighbours as I ran down the street with a parrot on my head. I have never been able to live that one down with my friends, and I no longer trust birds!
Tell me about an experience you’ve had that’s really left an impact.
I would have to say everything that has transpired since COVID-19 struck. Initially, I found it very hard as I am used to structure. From March until June, my husband and I were both trying to do schoolwork with our 7-year-old son while working from home. Add to that the sense of isolation from not being able to see certain family members and the disappointment of having to cancel travel plans. Still, there have been some positives that have come from this experience. I feel fortunate for getting to spend this much time with my son; his resilience through this whole experience has amazed me. As a family, we have all had to learn to adapt to a new work schedule, taking on different roles within the household and finding new ways to occupy ourselves. We have played a lot of board games and started doing family workouts together! In the end, all things considered, we have been fortunate through this whole experience.
Tell me something about yourself that your co-workers would never guess?
I am obsessed with the Raptors and Blue Jays. I try to never miss a game on TV. I have re-watched the Raptors playoffs series twice throughout the lockdown!
What are your aspirations for personal and professional growth? Do you have a 5 year plan?
From a professional perspective, I want to be able to continuously learn and expand on my skill set. As I did not come from the dental industry, expanding my knowledge in this field is something that I am constantly working on. From a longer-term perspective, I want to be able to evolve with the organization and help mentor and lead within my team.
On a personal level, when things start to go back to normal, I want to focus on my friends and family. I think the pandemic has reminded me how important these relationships are and how fundamental they are to my happiness. And of course, I cannot wait to travel again!
What advice do you have for new team members joining dentalcorp’s Support Centre?
In my experience – and this goes for any company that I have worked for – your role is going to be what you make of it. Take the time to network with different cross-functional groups, learn about different departments and their roles and try to understand how your role impacts their job and vice versa. If you are looking for additional responsibilities or want to develop new skills, take control and ask for these things.