Meet The Disruptors: How Conrad Snover of ProcureAbility Aims to Redefine the Procurement Industry

Yitzi Weiner
Authority Magazine
Published in
6 min readJun 25, 2023

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“I trust you to get it done.” People thrive in an environment where they feel trusted, appreciated, and empowered, while also receiving the support and tools they need to be successful. Risk-taking and trial-and-error are critical to growth. I believe being trusted to see something through, coupled with the safety of making mistakes along the way, provided a path for me to develop and succeed.

As part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Conrad Snover.

As CEO of ProcureAbility, Conrad focuses on client success, employee engagement and culture, and product innovation. Conrad has more than 25 years of experience in strategic procurement and supply chain management. He has deep experience in launching and managing programs focused on strategy design, procurement transformation, category management, strategic sourcing, supplier development, and organizational sustainability.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you and contribute to this series.

I began my career in operations consulting and was quickly drawn to procurement due to the criticality of its role in corporate strategy and the significant impact it can have on the bottom line, across all industries. I find it rewarding to help procurement organizations evolve from tactical to strategic and be key driver of growth and innovation.

In my free time, I enjoy mountain climbing — I appreciate and relish the journey just as much as the destination, and this serves me well when partnering in an organizational transformation effort with a client. These journeys can often take years, so it’s important to enjoy the process.

Can you tell our readers about the disruptive work that you are doing in the procurement industry?

I’ve spent my entire professional life devoted to optimizing and improving procurement’s operational efficiency through streamlined processes and enhanced use of technology, work effectiveness through improved value generation, and reach of influence through organizational design.

Too often, procurement is focused on achieving savings by beating on the table and beating up on suppliers. This is a miss, and a compromise of procurement’s potential. Early on, I saw the limited potential available through these contentious zero-sum approaches, and the significant opportunity awaiting in creating closely aligned strategic supplier alliances. My passion comes from careful evaluation of, and improvements to, collaborative models with shared/aligned incentives and mutual value creation in the procurement and supply chain space.

Can you tell us about a time that you made a mistake? Can you share the lesson you learned from that?

We have always had a culture focused on performance. There was a phase in our business where the incentive structure for some of our leaders rewarded individual results, resulting in a siloed and competitive operational structure and driving internal conflict. We redesigned the structure several years ago to create an incentive model based on collaboration and the results followed, both for individuals and for our company. I have always believed in admitting mistakes as soon as they are identified and course-correcting to move forward productively.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? What was their impact?

Asking for, accepting, and offering help is an important part of being not just a professional, but human. I’ve had several pivotal mentors; I’ll share three:

At my first employer, my manager was very demanding but equally kind. He lifted everyone up by demonstrating how much he believed in us and helped everyone understand how much our colleagues and clients counted on us to deliver results.

My business partner at ProcureAbility demonstrated the power of trust and autonomy. He showed me how to give our team guidance, direction, and support, coupled with the freedom to test and reach their potential.

I had a client with whom I built a close, trusting relationship over the years. He believed in me to get the job done right, and his trust and empowerment was the supreme motivator for me to provide excellent delivery results. It also gave me the runway to learn and grow in a safe space.

Can you share five of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? How did the phrase(s) help you?

“I trust you to get it done.” People thrive in an environment where they feel trusted, appreciated, and empowered, while also receiving the support and tools they need to be successful. Risk-taking and trial-and-error are critical to growth. I believe being trusted to see something through, coupled with the safety of making mistakes along the way, provided a path for me to develop and succeed.

How are you going to shake things up next in the procurement industry?

For almost three decades, our team has keenly focused on providing the highest quality service and results for our clients. Providing a foundation of excellence along with putting the success of our clients first, allows us to continue to innovate and elevate the procurement function within organizations by creating measurable benefits and driving growth.

We will continue this great work for our clients, focusing on the areas where they need the most help, and where we see the most significant growth and development. A few top priorities include exploring how automation and cognitive computing can improve work efficiency, and how procurement organization design will continue to evolve accordingly.

Do you have a book or podcast that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? How did it help you?

Two books come to mind: First is Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead which provides a wonderful framework for management and communication that celebrates empathy, emotional intelligence, and vulnerability. I think of these themes often when interacting with my clients and colleagues. Secondly, in Mindset, Carol Dweck provides a philosophy for leadership, coaching, and parenting built on rewarding and recognizing hard work and performance. Both books have helped shape my thinking and approach to client delivery, management, and leadership.

What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how was that relevant to you in your life?

Teddy Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena speech, delivered in Paris in 1910, gives me two areas of inspiration. First, it’s a great reminder that it’s easy to sit back and observe or critique others, but the credit goes to those who are trying and striving to do great things, regardless of if they succeed or fail.

Second, what you do for the community matters more than individual improvement. The worthy cause then, is one that is not focused on the individual, but on the whole. I try to remember these messages when facing both work and personal challenges or opportunities — my character and resolve are best tested and defined during difficult times.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I wish to inspire and be part of a movement of kindness and empathy, which would provide a framework for collaboration and creating business models and relationships built for mutual benefit. Life is not a zero-sum game. Let’s make the pie bigger so there’s more for everyone: more kindness, more empathy, more business, more results, more success, and more humanness.

How can our readers follow you online?

Follow me on LinkedIn and follow ProcureAbility on LinkedIn for the latest company updates.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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Yitzi Weiner
Authority Magazine

A “Positive” Influencer, Founder & Editor of Authority Magazine, CEO of Thought Leader Incubator