Today is International Women’s Day, and to celebrate we interviewed one of the wonderful women in the Tiger Global Family. We chat to Leanda Boatswain about her role and the advice she has for young women looking to go into sourcing and procurement.
Could you tell us about your role?
My role is to source the suppliers or the product that people want. It’s trying to marry someone’s idea with a product they want and making it happen. That’s what a sourcing manager does.
The 2021 International Women’s Day Campaign theme is #ChooseToChallenge – as a woman have you faced any challenges in your career?
Loads. Loads of challenges. Sometimes people patronise us. Sometimes it’s making sure your voice is heard at the table. If you don’t say anything, you can end up going ahead with a product that won’t work or won’t function properly. It’s being confident in the knowledge that you have and being able to speak up and add value, and sometimes that’s hard. Especially when you’re young. Everyone knows something, and everyone is valued. So, it’s just remembering that, and being confident enough in yourself to actually speak up and say something. No idea is a bad idea, and it’s true.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give to a woman looking to start a career in buying / sourcing?
I would say, don’t limit yourself to one category. Learn everything you can and absorb it. Every item is different, and there are different processes behind each item. I’ve got experience in lots of different products. I started off doing T-shirts and promo, but it turned into a way to build more of a range for live entertainment, and then I started to focus on children’s entertainment. So, I went down the Children’s path, and then I was focusing on adults with Harley Davidson. It’s different what a film studio wants to what a motor company wants, so you’ve got to be very adaptable to the two clients. You have to be willing to absorb as much knowledge as you can.
How do you feel as a female working at Tiger? Is it different to the places you have worked at before?
There are no egos. Everyone at Tiger is very welcoming. Everyone is knowledgeable in their field, and everyone is willing to learn and share their experience to help you go forward. At the end of the day, we all have the same goal, we’re all part of the same wheel. We’re all working together, and it’s really nice.
Here your position doesn’t dictate your status, everyone is level, which is key. And we’re all pretty fun!
Can you tell us a bit about some of the exciting projects you are working on at the moment?
I’m working on quite a lot of exciting projects! There are sports bottles, student kits and there’s a yoga range we’re working on.
I’m also working on some wildlife cameras for conservation and doing some plush using RPET fabric, which is made from recycled material. There are so many different enquiries, every client is different.
What message would you like to put out to young women about to start their careers?
I would say, have confidence. Sometimes you can feel a bit overwhelmed with a situation, I can give you an example - going to China for the first time when I was in my early twenties. I think I was about twenty-three or twenty-four. That was overwhelming. And then being there for months on end. It got to the time where I had to split from my manager and I thought okay, I can do this by myself. In a country where I don’t speak the language. I’m going into a factory and I’m having to communicate, even though I have an agent with me who can translate. All eyes are on you, and it’s having the confidence to say what you want and how you want it done. Because you are the go between for your client. You get put in different scenarios. You could be doing a presentation or going to a live showcase event. Be confident, and take it in. It’s not all about working, it’s about having fun while we’re working, and I’ve had a lot of fun.
Always take a step back and look at what you have achieved as well, because it can be a very fast paced job. Sometimes you need to remind yourself of what you have done and give yourself a pat on the back!