Who are we at IACCM?
This is the third in a series of Q&A articles profiling, every month, one staff member of IACCM. This month, we talk with Jim Bergman, who heads up the association's activities in the APAC & ME regions.
Every month, Contracting Excellence profiles one IACCM staff member to tell readers who we are and what we do. This month, we introduce Jim Bergman, Regional Vice President – APAC and Middle East.
When Jim first joined IACCM he was surprised at how our small staff at the time could help thousands of business worldwide grow measurable success in contract management.
“It proves we can make a significant impact on a lot of people and we do not need an army to make it happen. As for me, I love what I do and welcome all members to reach out to me if they need anything.” -- Jim Bergman
Q What prompted you to join IACCM?
I initially joined IACCM on a part-time basis, largely due to the opportunity to contribute to our profession globally, across multiple industries and companies. During that period, I enjoyed working with all of the IACCM team members and developed strong friendships with each of them - this largely influenced my decision to join IACCM full time.
Q In brief summary, what is your role at IACCM?
My region includes Australia, SE Asia, China, Japan, Korea, India, the Middle East, parts of Africa and Northwest Asia. I meet with members locally, in both their offices and at events, to discuss the challenges they are facing – and hopefully provide some guidance and potential solutions.
Q What do you like most about working with IACCM? What has been most challenging?
Every day I see a new and exciting challenge, and I enjoy the ability to address those challenges with innovative solutions. The challenge is in prioritizing where I can provide the greatest level of support and make the biggest impact.
Q What contribution to IACCM are you most proud of and why?
I am probably most proud of adding value to our on-line learning and development program by sharing my insights and experiences with IACCM members across the globe. We reach thousands of people internationally each year.
Q Would you share one incident you remember the most in being part of IACCM?
I am very much surprised at how broad and far-reaching our visibility is with our members. When one realizes how small our team is, and yet we have made such a broad and positive impact on the profession, there is a certain element of surprise. I was attending a local member meeting a few years ago, and someone approached me to let me know how much he appreciated all of the support that he was receiving from us. He was surprised to learn, at that time, that IACCM amounted to only six staff members. We have grown in size since then, but it highlighted for me that we can make a significant impact on a lot of people and we do not need an army to make it happen.
Q How did you go about marketing IACCM internationally?
Much of our marketing is word-of-mouth – our nearly 30,000 members often serve as our most effective marketing force. In addition, we rely largely on building our internet-based visibility through our website, blog and social media platforms. And of course, our local member meetings and conferences are crucial to our efforts.
Q Describe your career path and name one thing you loved the most.
Upon graduating from college, in which I received graduate degrees in History, Law and an MBA, I started my career in a corporate supply management group at a global petrochemical company. I was involved in developing processes and contracting tools, as well as establishing and reviewing transactions and managing commercial relationships. As the department’s legal resource and contracting process owner, I was able to support over 200 colleagues from across the organization and the globe. This is what I loved the most, and still do – having daily opportunities to help others.
Q Can you describe briefly your office surroundings when you began the company and where you are now?
My office is based in our home when I am not travelling – and this is the same office surroundings that I had prior to joining IACCM. With all of my travels, I sometimes believe that my office is at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, or on the next flight in Seat 33C!
Q If there is one thing you could change about your world, what would it be?
Eliminating inefficiency - time and opportunities are too few and precious to waste. This is one of the core areas in which I believe we can all generate value for our stakeholders – being more efficient for them, but also enabling them to be more efficient themselves.
Q What do you want most for readers of our website or from Contracting Excellence?
To learn new practical approaches in their roles as contracting and commercial relationship managers.
Q Describe one highlight about your earliest years that you remember the best – something humorous, difficult or best lesson learned?
I faced death twice!
The first happened when I was seven years old crossing the roadway intersection. Failing to see me, a gravel truck driver drove his truck over me. Fortunately, the truck wheels paralleled the position of my body and passed over me, leaving me unharmed.
The second occurred when I was a teenager assigned to take cash receipts to the bank each day. One day as I was leaving the store with the bank deposit, an armed and masked gunman approached me demanding the cash that I was carrying. When I refused, the gunman pulled the trigger but no bullets discharged.
In both instances, I was able to keep calm. Terrifying circumstances are momentary, but the way you manage them has the greatest impact.
Q Regarding your education, what aspect of school do you remember most vividly?
I attended three graduate school programs, obtaining a Masters in Business, Law and History. The History degree made the most vivid impression. It taught me to view a situation from multiple perspectives and understand the context of the situation. Lessons I learned have had the greatest impact on how I have managed contracts and commercial relationships.