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Putting the “Pro” in Procurement with Mary Ann Brennan of 9thWonder

From marketing to real estate, procurement officers need to be jacks-of-all-trades, saddled with the huge responsibility of dealing with the many third-parties needed to run an organization. Today, host Rosemary Coates interviews the COO of 9thWonder, Mary Ann Brennan, about why procurement is so vital to modern companies. We open by touching on Mary Ann’s career highlights before talking about her procurement roles working for adidas and Mattel. After exploring the differences between direct and indirect procurement, we dive into how successful procurement leads to horizontal integration into other departments. We then chat about supply chain innovations over the past two decades and how procurement fits in with businesses at the different stages of their maturation. Mary Ann shares her insights into what it takes to excel at procurement, along with the importance of building partnerships. Reflecting on her current job as COO of 9th Wonder Agency, Mary Ann discusses why talent is crucial to your company and how your culture is a key tool in managing talent. Near the end of the episode, we talk about her teaching, why you need to change alongside your customers, and why procurement officers benefit by learning from different industries. Tune in to find out more about procurement practices from Mary Ann, a global leader in the procurement field.

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Meet Our Guest, Mary Ann Brennan

Mary Ann is an Advertising/Marketing, Global Supply Chain/Operations, and Sales leader with experience within the CPG, Retail, Telecommunications, Non-Profit, Entertainment, Financial Services and Advertising industries.

Mary Ann serves as the Chief Operating Officer of 9thwonder, a small independent advertising agency with 7 locations and less than 250 employees globally. Prior to 9thWonder, Mary Ann held various senior level roles for Fortune 500 companies whereby she oversaw large marketing and procurement teams with budgets and indirect spend of more than $2B for global companies with $5-85B in revenue. Mary Ann has worked and traveled globally, and has been based in 6 major US cities. She built large global teams and contributed to $400MM+ in efficiencies. As a marketer and advertiser, Mary Ann led efforts for various brands; Jack in the Box, Ford, Honda, Phillips 66, Motiva 76, Natrol, Memorial Hermann, Energy Corridor, adidas, various pro sports teams, Time Warner/Six Flags, Bank of America, Express, The Limited, and Wells Fargo. As a procurement professional she has worked on toy and athletic brands; adidas, Yeezy, Reebok, Barbie, Hot Wheels, American Girl, and Fisher Price. Mary Ann earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business with a dual emphasis in Marketing and Finance.  She is an author, member, teacher and speaker of several trade, education and nonprofit organizations:

- The CMO Collective member
- 4A’s member and partner
- The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) member, Committee Chair and Conference Host
- The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) Conference Host and Mentor
- Founder, Marketing Me (mentorship program) and Alpha St8 Consulting (freelance consulting)
- USC Alumni Association Board of Governors and Executive Committee/Board Member 2014-2019 - USC Center for Global Supply Chain Management Board Advisor 2017-2020
- Current Advisory Board Member, University of San Diego Supply Chain Management Institute
- Current FIDM Digital Marketing Board Member

Mary Ann has also designed an online certification course which is based off of a recent US Copyright that she authored and published titled “Has Indirect Procurement Earned a Seat at the Curriculum Table?”, helping to transform procurement organizations globally. She is also an adjunct professor at the Los Angeles Fashion Institute of Design Management (FIDM) teaching Strategies in Business Management.

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Meet Your Host, Rosemary Coates

Ms. Coates is the Executive Director of the Reshoring Institute and the President of Blue Silk Consulting, a Global Supply Chain consulting firm. She is a best-selling author of: 42 Rules for Sourcing and Manufacturing in China and 42 Rules for Superior Field Service and The Reshoring Guidebook. 

Ms. Coates lives in Silicon Valley and has worked with over 80 clients worldwide. She is also an Expert Witness for legal cases involving global supply chain matters.  She is passionate about Reshoring.