Have the courage to abandon the status quo and create real opportunities for minority businesses. Executive commitment and principled leadership are where the change begins.
If you have a supplier diversity program, enhance or improve it, utilizing best practices readily available from organizations like the GMSDC. If you have not established a program, we are here to help. Our economy depends on it and time is of the essence.
Supplier diversity creates opportunities for businesses from historically disadvantaged communities. Use your influence now to benefit those who need it most, who also happen to be your customers.
Make the survival of minority business a priority by committing to economic equality economic mobility. Step up and step out boldly by doing your part in erasing economic inequality.
Discuss your commitment to diversity in the C-Suite or the Board room. Make investments in mentoring and small business programs that help sustain diverse businesses. Initiate uncomfortable conversations about biases – implicit or explicit – that exist in your workplace and make a bold commitment to CHANGE.
In some cases, our underwhelming supplier diversity goals are too-easily attained in the normal course of business. No matter the size of your business, you can choose to be more inclusive in your sourcing and vendor selection. This unprecedented time demands that we do more, even though it may be uncomfortable.
Communicate to your entire organization the commitment, vision and path forward. Ensure that every crack and crevice of your organization is on board and singing from the same sheet music! Leave no one behind! Make sure everyone can articulate the plan, understands his/her role, has the necessary resources and is ready to go.
Share with your external audience your commitment and the steps you are taking to evolve. Your customers want to know that you are in the fight alongside them.
Identify organizations you can work with to successfully execute your commitment. Identify the point people within your organization and empower them to meaningfully collaborate with your strategic partners.
Focus your entire organization – every department – on fostering an environment of collaboration across the organization, with creative and innovative approaches to what you do best. See to it that every race, religion, culture and community is at the table -- one united team supporting the commitment.
I challenge every company to get more involved in the business of supplier diversity. Evaluate your policies, procedures and protocols for areas where the language is weak, or compliance is non-existent. Your customers are strikingly diverse – from all races, genders, nationalities, cultures, religions, orientations, social strata – and they choose you over your competitor for a reason. You should strive to offer contract opportunities to the communities you serve. Silence (or inaction) is no longer an option. The change you must make requires the courage to act.
Join the community of business leaders who feel we can not only make a change, but be the change. People empowered with with vision produce dynamic ideas, create things and make life better for all of us, while taking care of their families and building legacies for the future. I urge you to embrace this vision for a better tomorrow and take ownership of this change. If you need information about how to structure or improve your supplier diversity program, the GMSDC is ready to assist. Forty-five years ago, the Georgia business community came together to make a difference. We can do this again!
Stacey Key, president and CEO, Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council.