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Anna Nuttall (Senior Manager), Adele Bleakley and Siyi Xu (Consultants) all work Procura Consulting’s London office. In discussion with, the trio explain what daily life is like at the firm.

Anna Nuttall, Siyi Xu and Adele Bleakley - Procura

Bleakley joined the company in the summer of last year, after spending three years as a buyer in the automotive industry. She knew she enjoyed working with new people, but wanted an opportunity to put that toward helping others solve business issues across multiple markets. Fortunately, since arriving, she has had the chance to broaden her horizons well beyond her initial area of expertise.

“I help support the Procura Consulting team on many different projects, which is great, as it is allows me to experience an insight to many different industries,” Bleakley explained. “So far, I have been involved in topics and industries such as electronic components, waste management, biotech and insurance.”

Nuttall has meanwhile been with the firm for four years now. She arrived at Procura Consulting after a decade working in procurement teams across the aerospace engineering industry. Similarly, she shifted into consulting because she hoped to gain experience working with a wider range of organisations – as well as helping them make step-change improvements.

Speaking on her daily work, Nuttall noted, “As a Senior Manager, I get directly involved with delivering a range of different client projects, managing and mentoring internal team members and also leading operational and learning enhancements. As part of client projects, I lead the Procurement Transformation service line of our business, helping clients to further enhance the capabilities of their procurement function.”

The firm does not only provide opportunities for experienced professionals to change the direction of their careers, though. Procura Consulting – like many peers – is keen to provide chances for new members of the workforce to get a broad overview of specialisms, before choosing where to specialise.

Xu took up her current role with the firm straight after graduating from the London School of Economics with an undergraduate degree in Politics and Philosophy. One year on, she is glad to have found a way to continue learning while becoming part of a workplace.

Xu explained, “Apart from consolidating my knowledge and skills through in-depth trainings and 1-1 mentoring, Procura Consulting provides me a wide industry exposure to business and procurement while working alongside senior colleagues across different business service lines.”

“I have also enhanced my wider understanding of business through involvement in the developments of internal projects, such as diversity & inclusion developments and internal training programmes.”

A typical day

With the advent of the pandemic, a lot of Procura Consulting’s workstreams have been at least partially digitalised. While consulting was previously an in-person affair, then, it is one of a host of firms to have hybridised its work in the last two years – allowing for greater flexibility among its workforce.

To that end, when it comes to her specific duties at Procura, Xu’s day starts with a group hub call, where her line manager helps prioritise the daily task list, and check in on strategic projects. As well as accommodating working from home, this shift to at least partial remote work has enabled Procura Consulting’s team to cover work for clients on opposite sides of the world quicker than ever.

“As a consultant, we work in a very enjoyable, dynamic and fast-paced environment,” Xu said. “One day I might be assisting a project team to conduct desk research on the semi-conductor market in China; on another day, I might be assisting my manager during a client meeting, conducting data visualisation of a client’s scope three carbon emissions or supporting internal operations activities such as market intelligence.”

Organising new, digital events is something Nuttall has had first-hand experience with as a Senior Manager. During the height of the pandemic, she was “particularly proud” of a four-day Procurement Conference she organised for a client, with over 90 attendees across 11 different countries with the aim of encouraging team collaboration and procurement improvements. Similar to Xu, she enjoys the diversity of the firm’s daily work as well.

Nuttall remarked, “I know that it sounds like a cliché, but every day at Procura Consulting is different. One day I might be implementing a new supply base management process at a growing biotech company in the US, and on another day, I might be delivering virtual negotiation training for a steel manufacturing company to a procurement team based across four different continents.”

She also enjoys getting to help develop Procura Consulting’s business by mentoring younger team members – something which Bleakley has benefitted from since arriving as a Consultant with the firm.

Since her very first week at the firm, Bleakley has been supported by the senior team to undertake sourcing responsibilities including face-to-face client meetings – something she said has really helped her develop the confidence to work closely with clients and become a more experienced consultant across a diverse and exciting portfolio of work – and beyond.

“Being submerged into many different industries also allows for further knowledge development and market insights,” Bleakley expanded. “But I also am part of the Procura Value Council, working closely with our sustainability goals and how we as a company can become Carbon Neutral by 2023, which is great to have the responsibility and independence to run with such an important topic.”

Women in consulting

As stated in the values section of its website, Procura Consulting aims to “advance diversity and inclusion” throughout its business. To promote this, the firm regularly celebrates differences and ensures that it enables employees to “realise the value that their different physicality’s, cultures and walks of life may bring.”

This sees the firm support a number of events, including a recent ‘Women in Consulting’ session with the Management Consultancies Association. At another external event, Nuttall recently attended a large dinner reception with over 200 attendees from across the consulting industry – and noted first-hand why this kind of work is so important.

“Looking around the room, I was shocked to see so few women present,” Nuttall explained. “Maybe consultancy doesn’t naturally attract many females or maybe they are put off by the occasional travel to see clients, but I believe that the only way to encourage more women to join the industry is by promoting female ideas, values and leadership skills.”

This is something also recognised by Xu. And for her, the first step of raising awareness of gender equality within workplace is to lead by example – promoting a better representation of women’s ideas, values and leadership in all kinds of professional environments.

“A lot of the time when we talk about gender equality, we should also recognise the presence of unconscious bias and that perhaps it requires companies to step in, take the initiative, to encourage more open discussion regarding gender issues and provide gender equality trainings,” she argued.

To this end, internally, the firm also backs a number of initiatives to support women in the workforce. For Bleakley, being able to contribute to Procura Consulting’s push to greater diversity in consulting, is one of her key satisfiers in her work.

“The past period has really opened my eyes to potentially how much further we need to go to help promote and represent women’s ideas, values and what we can positively contribute to the working world,” she concluded. “Being able to highlight this and the amazing work women are producing in all aspects of the world of work, and in particular consulting, really demonstrates what we are capable of, and I am excited to see where women can progress to in the next few years.”