Episode 15: Stepping Out into the Fog

By Katherine McCleery | February 8, 2021

You cannot adjust the speed of change. The only thing you can do is adjust yourself and your capacity to absorb it and accept it.” – Dawn Tiura

Dawn Tiura—the President and CEO of Sourcing Industry Group (SIG)—firmly believes that we are in a world that is constantly changing. Sourcing and procurement must change and adapt with the world. If you can’t adapt—retire. Because things won’t slow down. 

How has Dawn embraced the never-ending change? How does SIG help the sourcing industry embrace the uncomfortable and continue to innovate? How does Dawn stay on top of what’s happening in the world? Listen to this episode of The Sourcing Hero for her insight.

Listening Guide

[1:33] The big win for SIG in 2020

[5:45] In-person versus digital events in the future

[9:08] What does “Sourcing Hero” mean to Dawn?

[13:43] How a breakdown led to peace

[15:41] Procurement has become stronger 

[17:18] Embrace curiosity—and automation

[20:14] Change is never-ending

[22:10] What does Sourcing Industry Group (SIG) do?

[24:38] What’s next for SIG? 


It’s okay to get stuck—but it’s not okay to stand still

It was supposed to be their biggest and best year ever. As COVID hit, Dawn was pushing for contingency plans. But everyone thought it would just be a two-week shutdown. Six weeks out from their summit, everything came to a halt. They had 5 weeks to flip their spring summit and move it fully digital. 

Her team pulled 18-hour days. She challenged marketing to push for 500 people to attend. They ended up having 1,200+ people attend from over 17+ countries. The realization set in that everything would move digital for the foreseeable future. 

Dawn encourages listeners to venture off from your safe spot. Pivot and try new things. You won’t feel comfortable, but just keep taking steps until something feels comfortable. Her team was amazing. They moved all of their signature events digital. Now, in February of 2021, things will still be digital. 

Will they move toward solely digital events in the future? Or switch back to in-person? Listen to hear the approach SIG will be taking. 

What does “Sourcing Hero” mean to Dawn?

Cotton for Q-tips doesn’t mean much to most people—unless you’re running one of the largest testing companies in the world. They needed Q-tips to make swabs. They had to learn: can I use swabs made from bamboo instead of paper? Where can I source cotton for the sticks? It’s a consumer item, a SKU, a commodity—but they had to specify a Q-tip that would be approved by the CDC. 

To Dawn, a hero is the person who found new and creative ways to look at something mundane. Someone who was able to pivot. It’s the person that was able to lead their teams, shelve their personal fears, and be optimistic and positive. It was anyone who had the strength to be a leader through 2020. 

How can you innovate? How do you stay in-the-know? Dawn shares her strategies and tactics—so keep listening. 

Change is never-ending: embrace it

Dawn took over SIG in November of 2007—right before the great recession. Leading SIG through that made her adaptable. She learned that you have to streamline and automate. Dawn is always looking ahead. She notes that her role is to make people uncomfortable. SIG doesn’t say the same thing that everyone else does. They don’t tell the same old stories. Their job is to push people forward

She emphasizes that “You cannot adjust the speed of change. The only thing you can do is adjust yourself and your capacity to absorb it and accept it.” Change is never-ending. There will be more global events. You must figure out a way to embrace it, enjoy it, and prepare for more of it.


Host: Katherine McCleery, Marketing Director

Special Guest: Dawn Tiura

Connect on LinkedIn | Follow Dawn on Twitter | Sourcing Industry Group (SIG) | SIG University | Upcoming SIG Events |

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