Leading by Example Through Lifelong Learning
Price’s ever-growing team is made up of extraordinarily talented individuals from different backgrounds. Our profiles of a “person of Price” gives you a glimpse at the man or woman behind all those emails or the voice at the end of the phone! This issue: Gillian Groening.
Price Industries: What is your current title and role at Price?
Gillian Groening: As of March 2019, I am now serving the company as the Vice President of Price’s International division. Price is investing in global growth by building a team exclusively focused on international markets. I have the exciting opportunity to work with our already-strong team of Regional Sales Managers worldwide to build the business to new levels.
PI: How long have you been with Price? What other roles have you worked in since you started at Price?
GG: I’ve been part of the Price team for over a decade! I joined the company as the Supply Chain Manager for the Winnipeg Operations team and my role expanded in those first few years from solely procurement to include logistics and receiving. Five years ago I transitioned into the position of Director of Supplier Partnerships; this role was focused on developing executive level relationships with our North American suppliers and evolved to include the development of a global supply chain.
Most recently, as Vice President of Global Supply Chain, I was focused on developing the global supply relationships for the Price Global Projects Group and developing an International Trade Compliance team. As Price increases our international presence, the focus on navigating trade agreements and understanding regulations abroad becomes increasingly important. It was this most recent role that provided me with a great transition into my current position.
PI: How did you find yourself in your current area of specialty – was it a lifelong interest and aptitude, or did it evolve later in life?
GG: My interest in business developed at a young age. My parents were business owners and we took some “unique” family vacations. My Dad routinely arranged family vacations around tours of manufacturing facilities and office buildings; I mean, who doesn’t love to tour a factory while on vacation, right?
Young Gillian is obviously overwhelmed with joy and excitement on a typical family vacation, in this case at the Arctic Cat factory in Thief River Falls, MN
PI: What was the career path that brought you to Price, and what was it about Price that inspired you to join this team?
GG: Despite my professor’s cautions, I started looking for a supply chain position right away after finishing my Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Saskatchewan. 3M Canada, located just outside of Winnipeg, offered me a position in their factory as a Supply Chain Analyst, so I jumped at the opportunity. Of course, this came after much contemplation on leaving Saskatchewan and moving to Manitoba; no one from Saskatchewan plans on moving to Manitoba, but I am happy that I did.
I spent 10 years in various supply chain roles at 3M and eventually ended my time with the company as a Sales Representative for the Prairie Region. During my career with 3M, I also taught evening and weekend classes for the Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA), and it was actually one of my students who approached me about a position at Price!
Truthfully, I didn’t know much about Price at the time, but after my first interview and a tour of Price Research Center North (PRCN), I knew this was the company for me. My commitment to Price has grown exponentially as I have been witness to the consistent adherence of the team to the Price values; there are few companies out there that are as inherently dedicated to their commitments, much less to doing the right thing time and time again.
PI: What is your favorite project you’ve worked on in your time in the industry?
GG: My favorite part of my time in the industry so far has been receiving the trust, support and resources from the Price leadership group necessary to build a professional supply chain team.
Supply chain as a profession has long been misunderstood or under-valued, but Price recognized the value that this team brings to our customers and provided support to structure appropriately. We had a great team to start with, but we were able to add team members in strategic positions which facilitated growth and service. Most recently, we built a trade compliance team that will be instrumental in supporting growth in our international markets.
PI: What do you feel is your biggest contribution to make to the professional community?
GG: I am proud to set an example of how a supply chain professional works and the contributions we can make to the organizations we serve! By demonstrating professionalism in the roles that I have held, I hope that I motivate others to do the same.
As mentioned, I started teaching at the SCMA after obtaining my SCMP designation. I was happy to have the opportunity to share the knowledge I had gained from both my practical experience at 3M and what I had learned in my SCMP courses with my industry colleagues.
Gillian and her MBA presentation team visited the Dubai International Finance Centre to present to the DIFC Executive in 2015
PI: What else do you think our readers should know about who you are and what’s important to you?
GG: Continuous learning is a big part of who I am – I’ve never finished a course or a designation and thought, “OK, that’s it!” After joining Price, I entered into a four-year MBA program at the University of Manitoba and graduated in 2015. I’m glad that I tackled my MBA after over a decade of work experience, as I now had the professional context to apply my learning.
The MBA program really took me out of my comfort zone, particularly serving as a group lead on a trip to the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC). Our team partnered with the DIFC and was asked to find out why Canadian companies were not doing business there. We connected with executives from Canadian banks, law firms and insurance companies to find out why they didn’t have a presence in the DIFC and then presented our findings to the DIFC Executive. It was wildly uncomfortable but I’m so glad I had that experience.
At home, I’m married with one 14-year-old son. He’s a competitive hockey player, so our family enjoys spending time in rinks around the province and cheering him on! I am not a crazy hockey Mom, regardless of what Graham Fediuk may tell you. My family often teases me about my competitive nature, as when I play games, I play to win; this may have led to me being sent in from the driveway when I slashed my son during a family hockey game... but I think this competitiveness has helped me in my career.
I grew up in northern Saskatchewan, so have spent a lot of time fishing, snowmobiling and quadding. Once the hockey side of life slows down, I want to buy a side-by-side UTV with snorkels so we can head out into the forest and enjoy the outdoors.