Rising Star Interview: Zachary Greenberger

Posted: 09/13/2019 - 23:10
Rising Star Interview: Zachary Greenberger

This October, the Future of Sourcing Awards will celebrate individuals newer to the industry whose thought leadership and expertise have shown promise that is likely to have a lasting impact on the industry. Below, read about Rising Star Finalist Zachary Greenberger. Zach currently leads global sourcing and procurement operations at Lyft.

How did you get into this field – was it purposeful or by accident?

A bit of both – my career started with a heavy interest in supply chain, and the desire to dive deep into and resolve complex business issues. After my first experience in strategic sourcing, I very intently pivoted to pursue a career with that focus. I felt there was a really unique ability with this type of role to influence critical decisions, develop a wide range of relationships and continuously expand my business knowledge. 

In what ways do you hope to influence or transform the industry?

I have aspirations to better incorporate innovative tech into supply chain and procurement systems. The industry has certainly made strides, but there is a lot more that can be done to innovate on the Source-to-Pay process. I see a pretty consistent gap between stakeholder experience and the oversight and reporting desired from a P2P system. I remain convinced more can be done to transform this space given the range of emerging technology we have available today.  

Who are the mentors or role models who have guided you in your career?

My father is my biggest role model and mentor. He’s always been a great support system and sounding board for me to bounce ideas off of. He’s helped keep me focused on the right priorities and objectives in achieving my career goals. Without his guidance I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today. Other notable role models of mine are Liam O’Connor, the COO of Zipline and a former supply chain executive at both Lyft and Tesla, as well as the Co-Founders of Lyft, John Zimmer and Logan Green. 

What is something you wish more people knew about the sourcing and procurement industry?

There is a common misconception that sourcing and procurement professionals are difficult to work with, and don’t have aligned interests with their stakeholders. Truth is we desire to be trusted business partners, and only have the companies’ best interest in mind when providing feedback on a certain supplier strategy or transaction. It’s important for those who aren’t familiar with the industry to see us as business operators that can help them build successful strategies and navigate issues that may come along.  

Looking ahead, what trends do you think will emerge in the sourcing and procurement space?

I think we will start to see a more aggressive shift in the skill sets of sourcing and procurement professionals. It seems companies have always tended to seek out professionals with deep knowledge of certain commodities. Of course there nothing wrong with that, but I am finding that some of the best sourcing professionals are those that are generalists by nature, and just have exceptional business acumen which enables them to negotiate unique deal structures, influence stakeholders, and be a valued partner to the business regardless of the commodity.  
I am also starting to see procurement/supply chain play a more critical role in bringing business strategies to life. We will definitely continue to see sourcing and procurement move from a supporting function, to a critical decision maker. 

What advice do you have for those who are considering a career in sourcing or procurement?

If you are interested in a role that brings constant excitement, unique challenges, and the ability to never stop learning, you are looking in the right place. You will excel if you continuously apply previous learnings to each deal, and you will feel fulfilled to see each deal and relationship come to life and drive value to the business. There will be challenges as there are with any role, but your attitude towards those challenges will dictate the success you have in developing relationships and delivering results.

About The Author

Zachary Greenberger's picture

Zach currently leads global sourcing and procurement operations at Lyft. Prior to joining Lyft, he managed indirect procurement commodities at both Tesla and IBM. Zach has an extensive patent portfolio in various technologies that has contributed to his passion for emerging tech and how to incorporate those technologies into business practices. Zach has a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina with focuses in Supply Chain and Finance. He is finishing his pursuit of an MBA from Johns Hopkins University with a focus in Executive Leadership. He currently resides in San Francisco, and is originally from Short Hills, New Jersey.