Employee Spotlight- Dian Gunderman, EVP of Technology Procurement Services
Why did you join PAAS?
Because I believe the mission of helping clients save money and securing the best possible deals. As a former client, I realized the value PAAS provides to its clients and how impactful their services are, not just in realizing hard dollar savings, but also in cultivating relationships built on trust, fairness, and integrity, I knew this was a company I wanted to be a part of.
What is your favorite part about working at PAAS?
The team, the culture, and our customers! We have a top-notch team with a breadth of experiences that creates a balanced and robust approach to the work we do. And our customers, it is rewarding to help clients achieve their savings goals and build trusted relationships with great people.
What do you think makes our team culture unique?
So many things, but for me it’s the PAAS philosophy, starting with people first by cultivating relationships within that are built on trust, personal accountability, open communication, kindness, and integrity. Our teams core competencies complement one another, and we have created a culture where constructive feedback and “straight-talk” make us better together. We also make sure to carve out time to have a little fun as team outside of work!
What was one defining moment for you regarding your career path? There were a couple pivotal moments in my career, but there is one moment that really helped shaped me. I was working for a large financial services company as contract manager in the strategic sourcing department and was approached by a former executive and another colleague, who had left the company to build-out a procurement practice for smaller international financial services company. They asked me to join them and help them build the practice, but that meant starting from ground zero, as they had little to no contract data, limited visibility into their supplier base and even less into their spend. This was truly building a procurement practice from the ground up. I had been in my contract management role for several years and carved out a nice and comfortable role for myself as the most senior in the role and was known as the resident “expert”. I knew nothing about writing sourcing policies and procedures or creating high-performing teams, let alone building an entire department/function from the ground up. This is where doubt, fear, and a lack of self-confidence crept in. Why would I leave a job where I was comfortable and confident, to do something I have never done before with no “safety net” … Needless to say, I turned him down. However, he did not give up and believed in me when I did not believe in myself and really encourage me take a chance. After thoughtful deliberation, I realized I could stay on my current course where there was comfort and security and ride the gentle wave for the remainder of my career or I could face my fears and self-doubt head-on and take on a new challenge that stretched my skills and challenged me both professionally and personally. While it was scary, it was the best thing I could have done for my career and myself. I stretched myself in ways I never would have had the opportunity to do in my previous role and learned a lot about best-in-class procurement functions, what worked, what didn’t, and I learned even more about myself and what I am capable of when I leave fear and doubt behind. Having a mentor that believed in me, pushing me outside of my comfort zone was a truly pivotal point for me. In the words of the best-selling author, Tim Ferris, “What we fear doing most, is usually what we most need to do.”
What is your proudest moment at PAAS so far? I am proud and honored just to say I work for PAAS. In a short time, I have established some good partnerships both internally and externally and that’s pretty cool.
What values are the most important to you in the workplace? Integrity, equality (being firm but fair), and accountability.
What advice would you have for people that are just starting up in their careers? Have confidence in yourself, but don’t be arrogant; be firm, but be kind; treat others as you would want to be treated; never stop learning and stretching yourself beyond on your comfort zone; take accountability for your actions; learn from mistakes and remember that “doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will”.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to travel and explore different cultures. I also enjoy a good glass of wine or pint of craft beer and listening to live music, and any time spent on the beach/near the ocean keeps me centered.