For minority and women supplier diversity business entrepreneurs

Featured In This Issue

Cover Story
Global Connections
Corporate Strategies
Real Talk
Diversity & Inclusion

September 11, 2001 will forever be embedded in everyone’s minds as the day that changed how people work, live, and play. The terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center’s twin towers, damaged the Pentagon, and took almost 3,000 lives represent a turning point in history.

Since that day, the United States has been embroiled in an international military campaign dubbed the War on Terror to root out terrorist organizations and the regimes that support them. For U.S. Marine Corps veteran Rudy Uribe, 9/11 not only reignited his passion for military service, but also set the wheels in motion for him to begin a business that would meet the needs of military veterans.

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Starting a business on your own can be a daunting experience fraught with risk and unknowns. Franchising—which allows individuals to buy into an existing business framework and brand name—is a great way to gain valuable business ownership experience while alleviating many of the risks associated with opening a business.

“Franchising is a viable option,” says Ken Evans,president of the Las Vegas Urban Chamber of Commerce. “Not every­one is going to have the business experience or business resources to start from scratch. If you have the ability to buy into a franchise, you’ll likely get good training,” usually at a corporate training center.

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Recent developments in Canada are helping raise the profile of supplier diversity in a country that is in the early days of its journey to understand and embrace the benefits. For example, this spring, WEConnect International in Canada’s Executive Director Astrid Pregel worked with the federal government to convene a high-level Supplier Diversity Roundtable. Hosted by the Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, the roundtable brought together 25 leading advocates of supplier diversity, including women business enterprises (WBEs) and representatives from corporations, government, women’s business organizations, and diversity certification bodies.

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At Office Depot, Inc., sustainability means more than just “green.” It is a comprehensive idea covering economic, social, and environmental sustainability, and supplier diversity is a core part of it. Our sustainability programs center on our desire to offer our customers choice, innovation, and collaboration to help them meet their sustainability needs and purchasing requirements. As part of the company’s sustainability initiative, the supplier diversity program promotes education, opportunities, and partnerships that help grow the small and diverse businesses that are part of our supply chain.

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I take great pride in my career as supplier diversity professional. I’ve managed supplier diversity for companies in a variety of industries including banking, retail pharmacy and now as director, Supplier Diversity for Grady Health System (Grady). This range of experience has allowed me to understand how core business and revenue impacts supply chain purchases. As supply chain and procurement progresses, it is important for minority business enterprises to be ahead of dominating trends impacting buying practices.
Perhaps the most impactful supply chain trend for minority enterprises is supplier rationalization (strategic sourcing). Across industries, supply chain continues to trend downwards in the number of suppliers being used.

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During a keynote speech at the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development (NCIMED) in Durham, North Carolina, the former CEO of a grocery store chain made a telling statement. To paraphrase, he said, “I am a 40-something white male. I have no idea what a 20-something African American male or a 60-something Asian female or a single mom or a Hispanic family would want to buy from my stores, so I need to listen to those voices to support my customer base and build my business.”
With supplier diversity initiatives, companies can help build wealth in the communities they serve. With marketing diversity, they can target culturally specific markets, and with workforce diversity, aim to bring a better balance to the working environment. But that balance is tenuous when employees are brought in but aren’t in a position to have their differences benefit the company or improve their own job satisfaction.

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image Cover Story
image Franchising
image Global Connections
image Corporate Strategies
image Real Talk
image Diversity & Inclusion

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I have a grave concern that has been nagging at me for many years. It was brought front and center for me again recently when I attended the membership meeting of a local organization which advocates on behalf of its minority businesses in the state. I was at this particular meeting at the invitation of the leadership and also, their guest speaker was one I really wanted to hear from and meet. His organization is embarking on a major project that is expected to bring many jobs and more business to the region.






Northrop Grumman Corporation has signed a new U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) mentor-protégé agreement with the Missile Defense Agency mentor-protégé program office in Huntsville, Alabama. The DOD mentor-protégé program encourages prime contractors to help small businesses increase their participation in federal subcontracts and establish long-term relationships with prime contractors.

Under the 36-month agreement, Northrop Grumman will assist QTEC, Inc., a small, woman-owned business located in Huntsville, to enhance QTEC’s engineering and technology capabilities, business infrastructure and business development. Key focus areas include information assurance and DOD certifications, cybersecurity operations, emerging security technologies and systems engineering.

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Master Your Brand

Up, Up & Away
As you may recall from the January/February 2015 issue, I defined a “Brandiac” as a company that’s able to master the thought process behind a service or product offering and its impact on the earth. And I’m excited to introduce this issue’s spotlight company, Ladders & Things, LLC, as a true Brandiac!

Owned by TaTanya and Lawrence Todd, Jr., Ladders & Things does not self-promote just for the sake of it; it self-promotes because of a greater vision to impact the world through its philosophy for sustainability. The company’s story is one of consistency, perseverance, and growth—and the greater community of business owners is taking note.

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The Northrop Grumman Information Systems global supplier diversity program-office received the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence in the service category. The award has five categories: manufacturing, service, research and development, construction, and utilities.

“Northrop Grumman’s work with small businesses and the relationships we have built with each of them over the years is crucial to our supply chain,” said Cynthia Hyland, vice president, global supply chain, Northrop Grumman Information Systems. “We are grateful for them and this award.”

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In Brief

Supply Nation welcomed the announcement from the Australian Government on the new Indigenous Procurement Policy guidelines, replacing the Indigenous Opportunities Policy for all government contracts from 1st July 2015.

Supply Nation’s Indigenous Business Direct Australia’s premier listing of Indigenous businesses has been nominated by the Government as the first point of reference for procurement officers when a contract is available for tender.


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