Becoming a professional engineer was always an attractive prospect for Michelle, “my uncle was an engineer and it sounded so cool”, she says. After studying Electronic Engineering at Northumbria University in the UK, Michelle spent the first seven years of her career working in engineering roles. But in 2011, Michelle decided it was time for a change and taking on a new role in quality assurance in a technology company.
It was in this role that she gained her first exposure to procurement, which Michelle describes as the major turning point of her career. “I was working closely with the procurement team and the work they were doing was always very interesting to me,” she says. “I also realised that working in procurement means you are always interacting with so many people from across the world. I love the connections you can make!”
After a number of years building up her experience in procurement, Michelle joined bp in 2017. Now, she is Global Sourcing Lead in bp’s Global Business Services team (GBS), which provides a wide range of crucial support services across the bp business. Working within the Procurement and Supply Chain Management (PSCM) team – which forms part of GBS – Michelle loves being able to see the impact it has in driving positive change across bp:
As bp advances its ambition, Michelle and her team have a crucial role to play in accelerating the journey towards net zero through finding low carbon solutions. She is involved in sourcing and contracting bp’s electric vehicle charging stations and logistics, for example, as well as looking at how bp can integrate electric trucks to drive down emissions across the supply chain.
It also means working with bp’s suppliers to ensure they are using renewable energy in their production processes, wherever possible. As Michelle points out,
Michelle’s role means that she is always in discussion with multiple groups of stakeholders, but she admits that she wasn’t always confident in her communication skills. “I'm not the type of person who likes to speak out and it's not the norm for me to negotiate with people. I needed to learn step-by-step how to communicate in order to be influential in negotiations,” she says.
To step out of her comfort zone and develop her communication skills, Michelle joined The Rock – the social club responsible for organizing all the social activities in bp’s Kuala Lumpur office – and became one of the team leads for the annual dinner. “I worked with directors, managers, colleagues from different departments. It helped me grow in confidence and it turned out to be one of the most successful annual dinners we’d had at bp – I'm really proud of that!”, Michelle reflects.
Michelle is continuously striving to develop her skills and is currently pursuing a professional diploma from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS). Reflecting on the support she has received from her colleagues, Michelle says:
We offer excellent opportunities to work across multiple brands covering multiple geographies and clear, definable pathways for you to move up and around our global business.
When it comes to the way we work, we have ambitious plans to make our business leaner, faster and more effective, maximising the value we deliver and making sure we’re working as efficiently as we can
At bp, you’ll enjoy an inclusive work environment and the career development opportunities only a global company can offer