Melissa Hendrick (Lockstep photo)
Starting a new position during a global pandemic is not necessarily ideal. How do you finally connect with your new colleagues and get to know the basics of the organization – all from a distance? Fortunately, Melissa Hendrick had some experiences that made her a success.
In early 2020, Hendrick quickly had to play a role at the start of the Covid crisis. She learned to connect virtually with colleagues with a newfound reliance on Zoom meetings. Fortunately, she was able to bring this experience and leadership skills to her current position as Executive Vice President of Marketing at Lockstep, a provider of B2B accounting technology.
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Hendrick and the entire Lockstep organization operate 100% remotely in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Without her first experience, Hendrick realizes that “it would have been very difficult to adapt. Everyone in the workplace had to find a new way to keep going in business, even when we’re not face to face. “
When it comes to the impact the pandemic is having on her workforce, Hendrick admits there are pros and cons. As marketers, their teams made a living from working and brainstorming in person before the pandemic.
“Learning how to work remotely and keeping the team motivated had its challenges,” said Hendrick. “But how great is it to have this opportunity to learn new things about management in a remote world?”
Hendrick’s silver lining on the pandemic horizon reflects her attitude and determination to constantly learn and develop. She realizes that she has been very blessed in her life. Her early work experience after graduating from high school resulted in her graduating from college while working as a marketing assistant in downtown Dallas.
“What really got my career going is that my career really picked up speed because I had those years of business experience combined with a marketing degree in business,” said Hendrick.
On her career path, Hendrick initially focused on working for large companies. She wanted to “learn best practices and have a much wider field of experience,” she said. While these larger companies taught her many great things, they also showed her that her real passion was working in marketing roles for smaller, high-growth, emerging companies. She loved helping these B2B companies thrive.
But how did Hendrick first find his way into the procurement industry?
When asked by Yooz’s AP automation specialists to lead the North American operations, Hendrick was shocked to see that the entire procure-to-pay (or P2P) side of one of the companies was one of the last areas in which companies have considered automation. She couldn’t believe that the systems that handle an organization’s money were operated so inefficiently and manually. She also loved having a job where “you looked forward to getting up every day because you have so many things to do and can actually see the results of your marketing efforts,” she said.
As a marketer who works specifically in the procurement industry, Hendrick looks forward to many things for the present and the future. The opportunity at Yooz enabled her to revolutionize the North American market with a focus on medium-sized CFOs and their weak points around the advantages of automating P2P. Today and in the future, helping C-suite finance leaders and their teams replace inefficient processes with automation – so they can run more value-adding, strategic initiatives that really add to the company’s ROI – is important and necessary now and in the future.
For the future, Hendrick sees a strong consolidation in the area of P2P providers. She believes there will be no more stand-alone accounts payable or accounts receivable platforms, but rather a one-stop solution with comprehensive reporting and analysis – what Hendrick calls “networked accounting”.
As a woman who works specifically in the procurement industry, Hendrick knows that the C-suite level still tends to be very male-dominated. She sees that this is changing and becoming all-inclusive faster than she would have expected.
When it comes to what advice she gives women in this area, Hendrick recommends networking with industry groups that represent the P2P space. You should build networks with executives and subject matter experts – in addition to becoming a fintech subject matter expert yourself. This is a great way to build your brand and visibility and speak for yourself when the opportunity arises.
In general, for anyone who works as a procurement executive, Hendrick gives some short and sweet pieces of advice that she admits took a long time to complete.
“How much fun is it to stand alone on the mountain and not have anyone to celebrate?” She asked. “It motivates your teams. It’s about setting a good example, setting a good example … Be the first to fall on the sword as a leader. Everyone will make mistakes, ”she said. “And be the last to get credit.”
Hendrick readily admits that she’s also working to prepare the next generation of marketers to step up and one day replace them.
Because when “the next evolutionary stage in automation around cash flow management” will be, with advances that “skip” through to globally networked accounting, it is equally important for women and men to present themselves and innovators in the space.
Read more about other professionals in our “Women in Procurement Wednesdays” series.