Head of Procurement Profile: Janette Evans-Turner, Zurich

Janette Evans Turner

Janette Evans-Turner was always determined to succeed and a CIPS qualification gained whilst working full time was a pivotal moment in her career, opening up new possibilities for her. Today she works for the insurance giant, “Zurich Insurance Company” as Zurich’s Head of Procurement for the UK and Isle of Man, a role which has been well earned after twelve years at a firm which has fully supported her thirst for change and new opportunities whilst giving her a work/life balance to suit and support her in bringing up her two young children.

  • Early Career:

Janette Evans-Turner was brave to hold her hand up and decide early on that a career in recruitment was not for her. “I left college with an HND in business marketing from Southampton Institute and immediately landed a job in recruitment but it just wasn’t for me, it was far too sales focused and so I decided to take on a summer job working for Xyratex and within a month or two I was Tupeed across to Teleplan,” she explains.

It was May 1999 and Evans-Turner was offered the role as the assistant buyer for the company. It was a fortuitous move because as well as exposure to both production and non-production orientated purchasing she was sponsored by her employer to study for her MCIPS qualification.

“I was so lucky because the Procurement Manager at the time was fully supportive of the qualification and I studied it over the course of about three years, going on day release and finishing it long-distance,” she says.

It was an interesting first few years and added to her studies, Evans-Turner was given the opportunity to work on the warranty side of the business. She was charged with sourcing parts from Microsoft and loved the variety the role offered. In October 2000 that role developed into a new position as the Services Buyer and, she became responsible for managing all service contracts including corporate accounts with major service providers.

Evans-Turner who has a natural instinct and hunger to challenge herself and seize new opportunities knew that it was time to move on from Teleplan and armed with her CIPS qualification she knew that she was eligible for roles that commanded the qualification, so in 2002 that came in the shape of Facilities Management (FM) Sourcing Buyer at IBM/Adecco.

Supporting the maintenance of defined processes and providing a contact point for queries from internal clients and suppliers, Evans-Turner took on a variety of responsibilities including managing EMEA tenders and contracts for FM and utilities for the North and Nordics region.

“Again I loved the variety of the role but I was a contractor and at the time I needed more stability so I saw a role at Zurich as Head of Property Vendor Management which I applied for and got,” she explains.

  • The mid-years:

It was another big firm and that meant dealing with big budgets. Evans-Turner was not phased and relished the chance to be accountable for approximately 50 vendors with a total spend in excess of £50 million. She was also responsible for five vendor managers. “It was another hugely varied role. I might be buying Property contents one day and the next working and managing the relationship with loss adjustors. I spent around five years in the role and was then put on a secondment as vendor management lead for a Claims Centre Implementation,” says Evans-Turner.

The project was a Zurich initiative aimed at simplifying the UK’s IT landscape for the business by moving 30 independent systems into one, and incorporating an integration between Zurich and our vendors to automate instructions.

“My role was to manage the Vendor Management part of the implementation and lead the change within supply management. This included the build, testing, onboarding of vendors and legal panel, and the Go Live. It was great because I got some great understanding of the other areas of the business and a much deeper appreciation of managing large programmes and implementing technical solutions,” Evans-Turner says.

Her role and hard work was rewarded with an award presented for her tenacity, energy and resourcefulness in dealing with the technical challenges that formed part of the project.

  • Today’s challenges:

Today, Evans-Turner is the UK’s and Isle of Man’s Procurement Country Manager for Zurich. It is a new role and Evans-Turner is relishing the chance to be back within a dedicated Procurement role and to be involved in new and innovative projects. “I am responsible for managing our relationship with a third party Procurement BPO provider at a local level and ensure we manage and execute on the local Procurement strategy”

Evans-Turner explains that she is currently involved in supporting Zurich’s aspiration to being ethically and socially responsible. “This week for example I will be at the Wild Hearts summit taking a seat on the panel that will be discussing how we can source more ethically.”

Working at a global firm provides the opportunity to get involved with so many different projects and initiatives, Evans-Turner says that she loves the opportunity that can bring; no two days are the same, which makes the role very exciting. “I do thrive on change, meeting new people and getting involved in new initiatives and challenges. In our profession you need the ability to adapt to change quickly and help colleagues, customers and stakeholders navigate the procurement process and ensure that the best decisions are made for the business, our customers and suppliers."

  • Top tips for Procurement candidates:

Looking back at her career, Evans-Turner admits that things started going in the right direction once she had acquired her CIPS qualification and she encourages other procurement hopefuls to do the same: “I would say that you should pick an organisation that will support your CIPS qualification, it’s not always the case but it does tend to be the bigger firms that do that. I’d recommend you get some experience to get a taste for Procurement and see what it’s all about. You need to evidence that procurement is a career choice for you.”

  • The next chapter:

Evans-Turner is just getting stuck into her new role and is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead. She has been at Zurich for the past twelve years and says that people often ask her why she is still there: “The thing about Zurich is that I have been here a long time but I have done a lot of different roles within the firm and it has always offered me the opportunity to do that. It is also really supportive of my work/life balance. I have two young children, a boy, George aged ten and Poppy aged six and, they are a priority for me and Zurich allows me to work flexibly, it’s not a strict nine to five, Monday to Friday job. I have found that since having children I am a lot more efficient with my time!” she laughs.

When she’s not working, Evans-Turner loves to spend time with her family in Hampshire on the south Coast and taking trips to nearby Hayling Island as well as taking the children on holiday to Spain where her family have a holiday home.

A natural inclination to seek out new challenges and push herself has seen Evans-Turner climb the ladder to where she is today. She admits to loving the constant change that a career in procurement brings and her ability to look ahead has enabled her to change jobs at the right times. She has done all this whilst bringing up two young children and you get the impression that there is more to her story yet to tell as she continues to demonstrate how to successfully juggle family life with a determination to always do the best job at work and continue to improve her skills and gain new experience.

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