Jill Button: An Exemplary Business Leader Ascending the Peaks of Success


“To pave a path for oneself is certainly rewarding, but to pave a path for others and guiding them through it is nothing less than divine.”

This adage evidently implies on one of the many vital traits of a profound leader. Corporate leadership is no more just a designation received through appraisal or consensus. It has become a way of thinking, a perspective to be precise.

The present corporate world demands all of its residents—irrespective of a hierarchical system—to possess the attitude, mindset, and grit of a leader. A fancy college degree might get you the job without a doubt. But to survive in a cutthroat competitive setting, you need to be, act, and stay a leader.

This edition titled, The 10 Most Innovative CEOs Revamping the Future, seeks such individuals who possess the aforementioned qualities and drive their associated organizations to zeniths of success. And one such epitome of proficient leadership is Jill Button, the President and CEO of ProcurePro Consulting and ThryvX Consulting.

In the following interview with CIO Look, Jill takes us through her professional journey spanning more than 32 years, the hurdles she crossed, the lessons she learned, her current role at ProcurePro, and her vision for the future ahead.

Let us delve into this inspiring story of an equally inspiring leader.

Kindly take us through your journey of becoming a proficient business leader.

I have always had a passion to lead. I became a manager at the young age of 22 and thought I knew everything. I made terrible mistakes and had to overcome significant challenges to be taken seriously. I am a voracious reader of leadership and entrepreneur books and have worked for some great leaders throughout my career who I admired and learned from.

I talk to my team openly and honestly and ultimately focus on helping propel them to success and reach their greatest potential. I have always felt the greatest sense of professional pride and sincere joy watching my team members learn, step out of their comfort zone, become leaders themselves and reach new and amazing career heights. I truly feel invested in their success.

How do you diversify your organization’s services to entice the target audience?

I listen to my customers’ challenges then create solutions to help solve them. Early on, ProcurePro was focused solely on providing procurement related services such as running RFP’s and contract negotiations. A new client was looking for help not just selecting a new Finance System, they also needed help with managing the entire project end to end including implementing the software.

Since then, we have managed several ERP projects from helping the client define their requirements, managing the RFP and contracting process to Project Managing the implementation to final Go Live.

This year, like many businesses, we were significantly impacted by Covid-19 and all our ERP projects were cancelled or put on hold. We focused on offering online training and interestingly most of our business this year has been helping sales organizations not procurement. We have developed a new training series focused specifically on helping sales teams; Demystifying Procurement, Understanding The Competitive Bid Process and Negotiate Like a Pro. I am really excited about working with the Sales teams representing an entirely new group of clients.

What roadblocks or challenges did you face throughout your career? And how did you overcome them?

With a career spanning over thirty years, there have been many. I have been down-sized, right-sized, north- Americanized, outsourced and even divested. The biggest challenge of my entire career, however, has been overcoming my own fears and self-doubt.

My father passed away not long ago. My sisters and I were cleaning out his things and I found a letter I wrote to him in 1987 when I was just 20 years old. I was shocked he had kept that letter all these years.

In it I described an idea I had about putting movies, tv shows and music on the internet, enabling people to download and enjoy content from their home computer. It included handwritten diagrams of the user interface and everything. Keep in mind, this was 1987, when people rented movies from Block Buster. This was before the internet and the technology powering iTunes and Netflix did not even exist at that time. As I read that letter, I started laughing and realized I had conceived of Netflix a decade before it was launched.

It was at that moment I realized how smart that 20-yearold was and what might have been had I just believed in myself. My dad always believed in me and I needed to start believing in myself more and not let fear keep me from realizing my dreams of building a successful company. I have not let doubt stop or deter me since. Yes, occasionally, especially this year, fear creeps in, but I have learned to push right through it and just keep moving forward.

How do you sustain business operations in the current unpredictable markets and cutthroat competition?

Again, you must listen to your customers and be willing to think outside the box and pivot when necessary. With the pandemic, most of our projects were put on hold or cancelled so we doubled down on our marketing efforts and implemented a new ERP solution for our company and the ThryvX Group.

We have also started offering online training, something I love and never had time to do before. Last, an unexpected benefit is, business is now done virtually so geography is no longer a barrier. Where before we were focused on Canada, we can now deliver our services virtually anywhere across the globe.

How do you keep up with current technological trends to boost growth?

Tech selection and digital transformation is what we do. We are methodical in our approach beginning first with understanding the true need and how technology can enable, streamline, and automate. Our motto is “Practical, Applicable and Sustainable”. If it cannot satisfy those three areas, it is just a shiny new object and not worth the time and investment. We do not get caught up in the hype.

According to you, what are the vital traits that every CEO should possess?

Fearlessness, Persistence, Passion and Humility. Being a CEO, people are counting on you. You cannot lead from a position of fear. You must be doggedly persistent in the pursuit of your goals while being passionately focused on delivering great products and services to your customers.

A great CEO must be humble and inspire their team to achieve their greatest potential in turn fostering a committed and engaged team who go above and beyond for your customers. Without a great team, a CEO is just a person sitting alone in a board room with his ego for company.

How do you sustain your creative leadership spirit in this crucial time?

My team! I am most happy when I am working with my team, brainstorming new ideas and developing new solutions. My team is my greatest source of energy, creativity, and joy. I could not do this without them.

What would be your future endeavours and where do you see yourself in the near future? I am really excited about my newest venture; ThryvX. Complimenting my ProcurePro services, my ThryvX partners are experts in Marketing and HR. Leveraging our collective expertise, we offer a breadth of back-office services normally reserved for large enterprise that are challenging for small and medium businesses to find and afford.

While many consulting companies help companies create business strategies we help with the execution including, marketing, social media, application development, health and safety training, human resources compliance, recruiting and of course, sourcing, contracting and implementing the right technology solutions to manage and grow their business.

We will be adding more complementary services with plans for national and global expansion coming soon. Eighty percent of small businesses have been hugely impacted by COVID-19, so it is really timely and critical that we help SME’s not just survive but THRYV.

About Jill Button

Self-described #GenXFempreneur Jill was named one of the “100 Influential Women in Canadian TM Supply Chain” by Supply Chain Canada, nominated for the “RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award” and featured in “Top 100 Canadian Professionals magazine.” I am so humbled and honoured to be recognized. I am especially grateful for the amazing relationships I have been able to build across Canada, the US and around the world.

Jill is a passionate supporter of girls and women, doing her part to support, inspire and promote future female leaders. As a former Board President of her local chapter of Girls Inc. Durham, the organization is near and dear to her heart. “Girls and women really need encouragement and support so they can achieve their greatest potential.”

Jill is a published author and just released her newest book “How Not To Get Screwed By Your Suppliers And Save Millions!” available through Amazon.

About ProcurePro

ProcurePro Consulting is a boutique Procurement and Project Management services firm that specializes in helping small and mid-size companies; competitively source, contract and implement IT software, hardware, and services.

We offer Virtual Procurement, Project Management and flexible online and instructor led Training. From 1-hour workshops to 3-day intensive instructor led programs. To learn more about ProcurePro Consulting visit www.procurepro.ca or email info@procurepro.ca.

Quote: “You must be doggedly persistent in the pursuit of your goals while being passionately focused on delivering great products and services to your customers.”

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