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Iron Maiden, Margaret Thatcher & coming of age at the 2012 CIPS Annual Dinner

Tom Lawrence
Mar 16, 2012 9:39:00 AM

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Some highlights and stand-out moments from the highly successful 2012 CIPS Annual Dinner.

David Smith, an early member of heavy metal band Iron Maiden and now president of CIPS (an obvious career preparation…!), addressed a 500-strong audience of procurement'’s elite on Wednesday night at the 2012 CIPS annual dinner. Delivered within the elegant surroundings of the Hilton on Park Lane, Smith emphasised the changing role of procurement in business today but made a passionate plea for all attendees to become greater evangelists for the profession and encourage younger generations to become interested in procurement as a career.

Smith wrapped up his coming-of-age speech and having explained that most people would have known Proxima in their previous incarnation (buyingTeam) introduced Guy Strafford, Chief Client Officer of Proxima (the sole sponsors of the 2012 dinner). Strafford, known for his knowledge of fine wine, obscure European history and his ability to craft unusual speeches, promised the audience his speech would last no longer than 60 seconds. Strafford proceeded to speak about how this is procurement'’s moment and that the assembled audience were Procurement’'s Olympians in 2012. Strafford’'s total speech length lasted an astonishing 46 seconds to which one of the surprised attendees cried "“damn! I just lost that bet"”.

As dinner was cleared away, the keynote speaker of the night was called to the stage. Matthew Parris, UK-based journalist and former Conservative politician, discussed in depth how he had successfully failed in every decade of his life. Parris'’ '“most spectacular failure'”, which he explained in-depth, pivoted around a letter he sent to a council tenant on behalf of Margaret Thatcher who was writing to complain about her living conditions. Later on in his career, this letter came back to haunt Parris as the opposition used the letter as ammunition against his campaign to spurn on the public - rallying against Parris. On a lighter note, Parris summarised a story about jumping into a freezing cold stream to rescue a dog in peril - to the near demise of himself - to which Thatcher told him “"that was a stupid thing to do”". 

Overall the event was a glamorous shin-dig, offering procurement’s finest to catch-up over a few drinks plus offered CIPS and Proxima the perfect opportunity to talk more about our respective rebrands. This year's event has set the standards pretty high, but there is no doubt that next year's event will be just as good and we are looking forward to it already!

Proxima Group

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