Bio: Dawn Tiura is the President and CEO of Sourcing Industry Group (SIG), the world’s premier membership association representing Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies with a combined spend of $17 trillion USD in sourcing and outsourcing. SIG’s goal is to elevate the strategic impact of these organizations on their company’s top and bottom lines. Dawn is also the President of SIG University, an online and in-person training and education organization that offers certifications in sourcing, governance, risk management and intelligent automation. Dawn has a passion to improve sustainability in global supply chains, she helps organizations to meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as part of SIG’s UN Alliance and is an ambassador to the Sustainable Procurement Pledge.
Dawn has over 25 years of leadership experience, with the past 20 years focused on the sourcing and outsourcing industry. She is a frequent speaker, presenter and writer. Dawn has been featured at global events and in numerous publications, magazines, videos and books. Prior to joining SIG, Dawn held leadership positions as founder and CEO of Denali Group and before that as a partner in a CPA firm, focused on early Silicon Valley enterprises and high wealth individuals. Dawn is the proud mother of six and actively involved on several boards promoting civic, health and children’s issues in the Jacksonville, Florida area. Dawn is a licensed CPA and has a BBA from the University of Michigan and an MS in International Taxation from Golden Gate University.
Q: Sourcing is a fairly niche subject and people have told me that it can be difficult to stick with it simply because it is a rather new industry. What guided you into this work and what motivates you to keep going?
Ms. Tiura: I just fell in love it! Thinking all of it was measurable change within an organization. Then I also realized that we [sustainable consulting firms] can come up with the best plan in the world, but if we don't get people to buy into emotionally, they won't buy on those contracts. So, you can potentially save hundreds of millions of dollars, but if you can't change the people to want to buy into these new ways of sourcing, using, disposing, and saving, it goes to waste.
Q: It's so incredible that you've been involved in this line of work for long before it gained attention in the corporate and political spheres.
Ms. Tiura: Yeah, the changes [to the industry] have been incredible. I do think it's the younger generation that is shedding more light and care about sustainability. Conversations about supply chain resiliency, sustainability, and diversity and inclusion, have been largely prompted by the youth.
Q: From the standpoint of someone who works directly with stakeholders, what is your take on the commonly held, contentious viewpoint that ethically sourced fashion is not affordable?
Ms. Tiura: I do believe there are additional costs in the beginning. However, sustainable grown coffee, for example, is not anymore expensive today than non-sustainable coffee. It used to be more expensive but as more people get into the idea of sustainability in any part of the supply chain, prices will come down as we get more mature in every single sourcing decision. So, I think the comeback to that is that people overconsume. They buy too much stuff and they get rid of too much stuff. You think of the clothing industry alone, and all the clothes ultimately end up in landfills. So, how do you educate the young consumer who likes fashion to consume more responsibly? It comes down to spreading awareness and also maybe designing things that biodegrade in landfills. One company is actually adding seeds to their face masks so that when people dump them irresponsibly, they are doing something positive to the environment.
Ultimately, we just want to make it fashionable to want sustainability and to want to pay a little bit more.
Q: That is such an important message. What does your personal sustainability journey look like?
Ms. Tiura: A few years ago, I actually decided not to buy anything new for one entire year. Not a purse, not a new pair of shoes, not anything for one year. And I was shocked at how much stuff I already had. When I didn't buy anything, I spent more time in my own closet repurposing and reusing things I already owned. I didn't buy anything for the house either, and everything was totally fine. To this day, I think twice before making a purchase.
Drawing that line between "do I really need it?" and "is this just an impulse buy?" is really important. Ultimately, you just need to train your mind and it is truly a lot easier thank you would think.