Visna Lampasi


Winter, July 2014

Visna Lampasi talks

Congratulations on being crowned the 2014 CPO of the Year! What does such an accolade mean to you and your business?

It has provided a unique opportunity to recognise the efforts of my team and put a strong spotlight on the procurement and supply chain function within our company and among the construction industry. At Leighton Contractors, our team has been busily implementing our enterprise-wide procurement and supply chain strategy over the past two years. The award process provided a great opportunity to reflect on our achievements and celebrate our work.

Do you have any particular passion-points you could use your status as CPO of the Year to address?

I am extremely passionate about supplier diversity and ethical sourcing. I believe it is important to give the opportunity to Indigenous suppliers, as well as other underrepresented areas of the supply chain including women-owned businesses, businesses owned by migrants from non-English speaking background countries, and businesses owned by the retired workforce, the opportunity to be part of procurement processes. They deserve a chance to participate. I’m committed to leading this change across our industry and to ensure that our employees, clients, suppliers and subcontractors have an opportunity to fully participate in our procurement and supply chain in a way that is sustainable and beneficial for all.

You’ve had great success in championing Indigenous business and enterprise – what particular obstacles fly in the face of Indigenous Business success?

In respect to the construction industry and working with top tier contractors, obstacles have been a lack of understanding of key capabilities required to be competitive and to successfully be awarded a supplier contract. We’ve overcome these obstacles by forging deeper engagement with Indigenous businesses to understand their business, communicate the capabilities we are seeking and navigating contract requirements and tendering processes to bring these businesses to competitive standards.

Do you think there’s enough awareness (both in the profession and media) of Indigenous business?

There is definitely scope for greater awareness about the value generated by engaging Indigenous businesses and ultimately creating a sustainable supply chain. To support companies who are seeking to create supplier diversity, there needs to better education about common roadblocks and how to successfully engage with Indigenous businesses.

Why does supplier diversity make good business sense?

It’s centred on the principle that supplier diversity creates equality within communities and ultimately, sustainable outcomes. Sustainable business practice is about seeking to deliver both commercial and social outcomes.  

What do you feel has been Leighton Contractors greatest achievement to-date?

Recognising that we don’t have a responsibility – rather we have an enormous scope of opportunity to create supplier diversity within our business. With this in mind, we’ve maintained our commitment to our supplier diversity goals.

What’s next for you - what do the next few years hold for Leighton Contractors?

Our focus from a procurement and supply chain perspective is to continue to build and embed functional capability across our bid and project teams, whilst ensuring consistent application of business standards, processes, tools and knowledge.  A key focus for us will be to simplify our core processes by removing complexities and eliminating non-value adding activities.

And finally, do you have a message to inspire other women who might want to follow in your footsteps?

Be true to yourself; use integrity; and be professional. Embrace change, and when faced with challenges – have perseverance and resilience to carry on and resolve it. And, no matter what, always maintain a positive attitude and a thirst for knowledge. I feel I’ve got to where I am, by simply being open to opportunities. Even if I didn't have technical competencies or experience, I went out and sought the knowledge I needed to fulfil and exceed the expectations of the role. Finally, leverage the expertise of peers around you to get the desired outcomes.