Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Converse United: Women Of Converse Network
Q&A with Alexandra L., Director of Procurement
Tell us a bit about your background.
I love to build things that have never existed before—that’s what gets me excited to get out of bed every morning. The single thread that ties my experience together, from large companies to small, is transformation. I started my career at a huge conglomerate, working in Finance, but I was curious and driven to learn how a company went from an idea to a product on the shelf, so I raised my hand for as many cross-functional efforts as I could, seeing the connections between marketing, engineering, manufacturing, distribution, and finance. I soon had the chance to lead the planning for the largest supply chain transformation in the company’s history. We were building new factories and re-imagining where and how our products would be manufactured and distributed globally. Then a small company came calling with the opportunity to build their raw material procurement strategy from the ground up. Soon after, Converse called with the challenge to transform their procurement process. I led various categories within Procurement prior to assuming my role today where our team engages across the entire value chain.
What’s your role at Converse like?
I connect internal teams to drive value and identify ways for Converse and Nike to collaborate. I focus on growing, coaching, and building my team and the greater Operations team. And I activate global teams across Europe, Asia, and WHQ within Global Procurement.
How does being at a company with 700 people compare to one with 70,000 people?
Large organizations focus on process to ensure that employees operate from the same executional playbook. Whereas Converse is an entrepreneurial company where individuals are empowered to drive the future. Ideas can come from anywhere, and I love that.
What is Converse doing to support diversity?
We live and breathe it in all senses: gender, ethnicity, experiences, and thought. Diversity helps us build the best strategies and solutions for the company. Inclusion is just as important—building an environment that enables and encourages us all to bring our very best every day. We have five networks to support employees, and this year we formally unified them as Converse United. Converse United helps employee groups collaborate, share resources and develop community programs. I lead our Women’s Network.
Can you describe the Women’s Network and your leadership role in it?
We seek to empower, inspire and connect the women of Converse. I see my role as bridging corporate strategy with our network activations, providing access to new ideas and tools like investing in personal and professional development, bringing in external speakers, sponsoring conferences, and offering mentoring and networking sessions for women employees.
How do these efforts compare to other places you’ve worked?
Our employees are truly empowered to bring value. If you have an interest or a passion, you can join a network and bring that idea to life. At Converse, if you have drive and the passion, you can make it happen.
Tell us a bit about your team.
Our mission is to Partner to Win. We partner with teams across the entire value chain, from marketing through innovation and manufacturing, to understand their priorities and identify key areas of investment and growth. We anticipate industry trends, deliver market insights, help design vendor strategies, enable new business models, deliver and consult throughout the sourcing process, and provide tools to maximize investment.
What’s the best experience you’ve had on the job?
I’ve had many, but all have a few things in common: success was dependent on collaboration, we needed to bring our very best to deliver, we felt challenged, and we were building something new.
What would you most want prospective new employees to know?
Converse is an amazing place to learn and grow, and to experience this growth you need to raise your hand for new opportunities, get comfortable being uncomfortable, and be curious. We give ourselves permission to look at the next hundred years as if we were just starting out. I find that spirit incredibly energizing and exciting.