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Five People Who Inspired me in 2016

Source | LinkedIn : By Alexander Atzberger

I am fortunate to have a job where I not only lead a high-growth business and incredibly talented individuals, but get to meet some amazing people – from colleagues and thought leaders to customers and partners. These individuals inspire and motivate me every day to think outside the box and push the limits of what is possible I want to highlight five in particular who stand out as I reflect on 2016:

  • The Customer: Melanie Singh is procurement lead at Loblaws, Canada’s largest retailer. And her energy is infectious. Melanie has set out to completely transform procurement at Loblaws – making it more collaborative and digital than ever. And out of the gate, she made everyone – from IT to Finance – part of the change and got them excited about it. Melanie is a true leader. And the lesson she imparts? See the importance of every individual and the contributions they can make to your success. Then energize and empower them around your mission.
  • The Thought Leader: Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism. Greg is a fabulous public speaker who imparts an important message in a world where everything is about more: Don’t try to do everything. Focus on what matters. He inspired me to say no to projects that are not awesome.
  • The Celebrity: Boris Becker. The tennis great served up more than his share of inspiration at SAP Ariba Live in Madrid last June. Boris has fans from everywhere in the world, but he is down to earth. And best of all, he recognizes what he was always best at: tennis. And he has stayed close to it as a coach to the former #1 player, a commentator and a trainer for the future generation of the sport. My takeaway? The main thing has to be the main thing. Be the best at what you do.
  • The Employee. Dennis Pan is an outgoing young man with a BS in computational mathematics. Though wheelchair-bound, he carries a positive attitude wherever he goes. In 2015, he joined the Autism at Work training program at SAP. Today, he is part of the SAP Ariba family, working on the team responsible for developing our Supplier Risk solution. Dennis is a fighter and a doer. He inspired me that no matter the odds, to never give up.
  • The Partner: Rob Meshew, the CTO for Microsoft’s supply chain division. Rob runs one of the largest supply chains in the tech world. And it is growing fast. Rob looked for a transformational network to collaborate with his suppliers on and challenged SAP Ariba to act like a start-up. We took the challenge and it has inspired me and my team to be a start-up within SAP.

I am thankful for these inspirations. Inspiration can come from anywhere. And it can lead to great things. Take these words that Christina Ooi, the CPO at Malaysian Airlines, shared with me when I met her for the first time earlier this year: “Procurement is Awesome”. It was a simple phrase, but I took it to heart and gave it a twist, challenging my team to #MakeProcurementAwesome. It set us on a new course. And I am inspired by where it will take us – and our customers in 2017.

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