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Message from Ted Johnson

Associate Controller, Chief Procurement Officer

Navigating the New Normal: A Connected Culture                                                 
 - March 2023

As we continue to embrace the hybrid work model, building and maintaining a connected culture is top of mind for me. Our ability to connect with each other through our roles and as individuals helps promote a healthy and progressive work environment, even when we are not physically together all of the time.

There isn’t a script for successfully navigating the post-Covid new normal, and tackling culture under the best of circumstances requires significant reflection and energy by all concerned. A willingness to employ out-of-the-box thinking, coupled with trial and error, is key to creating momentum. I’m proud to see the IPPS organization taking concrete action in the interest of creating a connected culture. This comes through seemingly small acts of connection like purposeful team gatherings, all-staff office days, and efforts to hold 1-1 meetings in person. It also extends to broader initiatives like; rethinking office seating and onsite days to facilitate communication among teams with related functions better; the student mentoring program, where FTEs are paired with student team members to provide life and career guidance; and the open forum, which continues to provide a safe and non-judgmental space for team members to discuss and reflect on important issues like diversity, systemic racism, and gun violence.  

So why does achieving a connected culture matter in terms of supporting our campus clients with their procurement, payables, travel, and supply chain needs? The reality is that most IPPS functions are interconnected and thus highly reliant upon team members managing related processes to generate a successful outcome for the campus community. A "Procurement" problem is rarely just related to procurement and most often requires support from groups like Accounts Payable, Logistics, Systems, and Client Engagement. Connecting people in a meaningful way helps connect functions, which ultimately results in better service and solutions for our clients. In other words, this approach makes sense in both human and business terms. 

As we connect with each other within our organization, we also desire to form connections with the campus community. I'm encouraging our team members to spend physical time on campus, connecting directly with those we serve whenever possible. We need to make an effort to connect with campus clients on the receiving end of the functions we are performing, so that we aren't processing transactions in a vacuum, and can better understand the importance and impact of our actions. We need to support the campus as partners, not just processors.  

I believe that pursuing a connected culture, within our own organization, with our clients, and with the University at large, provides the perspective and motivation we need to be true to our mission statement: Integrated Procure-to-Pay Solutions and Client Care in Support of World-Class Education and Research.


Ted Johnson