Q&A with Rowe Advisory’s Procurement Specialist Barbara Rebola

We recently caught up with Rowe Advisory consultant Barbara Rebola for a coffee break and a Q&A. Barb is a highly qualified and experienced commercial and contracts professional with more than 25 years’ experience in the oil, gas and mining industries, local government and small business.

We discussed her greatest achievement so far, the most important lesson she’s learned to date, the key characteristics of a great leader and how organisational attitude towards procurement has changed in the last 10 years.


Q. What’s the most important lesson you have learned in your career to date?

Understand the value of having a mentor, whether within your organisation or in another industry.


Q. What motivates you professionally?

Making a difference in my work, and delivering sustainable solutions.


Q. You’ve worked for more than 25 years in the resource sector. What has been your experience working in a male dominated environment? Do you think the resource sector is moving in the right direction towards gender parity?

While I was one of the early women in a male-dominated field of Contracts and Procurement (or Supply Chain as it was also called), I was fortunate and never really experienced too much inequity in pay or roles – this may be due more to the Oil and Gas corporation I worked for and the leadership I was under, which set a positive tone.

I see so much more parity these days, particularly in the engineering space. The main improvement I would like to see is in the “unconscious bias” that I have seen some women experience, particularly in meetings and primarily in the mining sector.

I love seeing so many powerful and educated women now in traditional roles within Contracts & Procurement, Engineering and IT.


Q. What is your greatest achievement?

Professionally, there are a couple – building a Contracts team from scratch, and purchasing an FPSO.

Personally, it would be my volunteer work which I have done for the past 14 years – it is so fulfilling.


Q. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Emotional intelligence is so important, invest in it before you get too old!


Q. How do you achieve work/life balance?

For me, the best way to achieve the balance is to work a shorter working week – improving the individuals work/life balance whilst delivering the added benefit for the company of reduced cost.


Q. Define a great leader – what are the key characteristics you think great leaders possess?

Ah, the ‘X’ factor!

I have been lucky enough to have a handful of terrific leaders – the one thing they had in common, each one was focused on the person and putting the right people together in a team.


Q. How has organisational attitude towards procurement changed in the last 10 years?

There is still a way to go, but certainly having procurement in the C suite is a massive improvement.