Just like the dandelions that pop up on my lawn at this time of year, the month of May sees many procurement conferences pop up as well. Some have very enticing agendas while others are just as annoying as those dandelions that make my lawn look less cared-for than the neighbors.

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The economy and its effect on travel budgets have negatively impacted some conferences. But that is not the case with Corporate United’s annual Synergy Conference.

Corporate United tells me that Synergy, scheduled for May 12 – 14, 2009 in Chicago, is expected to have the highest attendance in its eight year history. Perhaps that can be attributed to Corporate United’s growth as a leading group purchasing organization. But it’s also likely due, in large part, to the dazzling array of speakers that they have lined up. Here are the presentations that I find most interesting:

  • How Industry Leaders are Saving in the Current Economy with Mickey North Rizza, Research Director / AMR Research, Inc. – I’ve personally spoken with Mickey North Rizza and am familiar with her work. She is definitely someone with her finger on the pulse of up-to-the-minute procurement trends. I am sure that this presentation will be packed with powerful information that is super-current.
  • Balancing Relationships and the Need to Renegotiate with Dawn Tiura Evans, President & CEO / Sourcing Interests Group (SIG) – If you haven’t renegotiated at least some critical agreements in the last six or seven months, I would be inclined to wonder what exactly you have been doing lately while your peers are achieving dramatic cost savings. Of course, renegotiation – especially in this era of close vendor collaboration and supplier partnerships – is a sensitive topic. And renegotiation skills aren’t just something you need now. There are always going to be economic expansions and recessions. Renegotiation skills will be needed throughout your career if you’re planning on being in procurement for the long haul.
  • How Procurement Can Move Upward in the Downturn with Geraint John, Editor-in-Chief / CPO Agenda – This looks to be another timely presentation given the economic situation. And Procurement increasing its visibility and value to senior management is a timeless topic.
  • There’s Never Been a Better Time to Start Stealing…Market Share with Jim Donald, Former CEO / Starbucks and Pathmark – This is a rare chance to hear from a recently retired CEO of a highly visible company. This type of presentation – one that focuses on what is strategic to the highest levels of a company, not just strategic to procurement – is sorely missing from most procurement conferences. It will likely be the delicious icing on an already tasty cake of a conference.

Synergy will also feature the opportunity to grill a panel of CFO’s on how they view procurement. How cool is that?

While the Synergy Web site – http://www.corporateunited.com/synergy – indicates that “Admission to SYNERGY 2009 is complimentary for Corporate United Members and invited guests,” Corporate United has told me that non-members that are procurement/spend management professionals can attend for free also by registering in advance at the above-linked site.

And, oh yeah, if you’re an SPSM, Synergy is one of the few third-party conferences approved for you to earn Continuing Education Hours towards your SPSM® recertification requirements!

Let’s face it…with travel budgets being slashed this year, you may have some tough choices with regard to which conferences to attend. With its high-quality agenda and “free” price tag, Corporate United is making those choices a little easier.

Disclosure: Corporate United is a sponsor of the Purchasing Certification Blog.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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