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sarah angeliqueI recently attended the NMSDC’s 2012 Conference and Business Opportunity Fair, Advancing Minority Suppliers in the Global Supply Chain. This event consisted of 6,000 people including Corporate Executives, Supplier Diversity & Procurement Professionals, Minority Business Owners, and others interested in minority supplier development.

The event started with an opportunity fair where over 700 booths provided MBE’s with key information to connect and advance with their corporation and get their foot in the door. The following days provided twenty educational workshops for corporations and MBE’s seeking information (Corporations may find some similar key information in our eGuide, 7 Best Practices for Supplier Diversity) and plenary sessions where General Motors, Merck, Starbucks Coffee, DuPont, Liberty Power, and Harley-Davidson shared their views on developing supply chains and provided us with solutions and opportunities for MBE’s.

During the course of daily lunches, which I would like to mention were mighty tasty, each of us had the opportunity to network with many warm and friendly professionals from all over the United States. Guest speaker David Steward, founder of World Wide Technology, the largest African American owned company in the United States, spoke about how he built his team. He spoke on how WWT focuses on the importance of having a team who brings in strength, spirit, talent, and diversity.

Another passionate speaker whose words were very motivating was Clifton Taulbert, Founder and President of Building Community Institute. He gave us advice on how to create an entrepreneurial mindset in the person who works for you and getting them to understand their sense of ownership is critical to sustainability of your company. “It is easy to ask someone to work like they own something, but how do you get them to actually do it?” Clifton touched on how important the trust built amongst one another helps employees feel like they are a part of the process. He reminded us all how the people we work with in the business world matter more than the product their company actually provides. Ensuring that you have employee commitment is vital for any company.

This annual event closed with an awards banquet and farewell reception. As an attendee, I could not help but be left with wonderful knowledge that I gained from those who have been in the Supplier Diversity industry for years. I look forward to seeing these wonderful professionals next year as the SMSDC will host it in San Antonio, TX.

Angelique Solorio
Corporate Outreach Manager/Supplier Diversity
ATR International

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