Supplier Diversity Lunch & Learn

Article by: Manu shah

A slate of 8 panelists explained the benefits of certification for minority owned businesses to over 100 attendees at the Supplier Diversity event organized by IACCGH.

VP Fred Whipple spoke of Shell’s efforts to encourage supplier diversity for the past 20 years. Today, the Company had redoubled its efforts to build more suppliers as it fosters better cost structure among other benefits.

Affirming that “no organization stands alone” Moderator Jewel Smith of CenterPoint Energy invited the 8 panelists to share “resources and nuggets of information” important for business success.

Houston Minority Supplier Diversity Council President Ingrid Robinson underscored the fact that Certification validates a Company’s status as a 51% minority owned business to major corporations.

“Get every certification you can get” was Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance (WBEA) President April Day’s advice. Certification by the WBEA assured Corporates that the woman owned business had been “vetted” and given the stamp of approval.

Carlecia Wright from the City of Houston Office of Business Opportunities stepped up to state that the Office certifies on behalf of Texas Transportation facilitating suppliers interested in working with METRO, TxDOT or the airports.

METRO’s External Relations Officer Shurronda Murray encouraged the gathering to get certified as a METRO Small Business Enterprise. The Certification is free, offers eligibility to bid on contracts and procurement opportunities.

The dialogue turned to four representatives from Corporates who outlined the qualities they looked for in diversity suppliers. Each of them also shared a success story with a diversity supplier.

FLUOR’s Annie Lidge described high safety records as an overriding factor in choosing a supplier while Donovan Casanave outlined Shell’s guidelines that would help a supplier “fit into their corporate pipeline”

MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Marian Nimon spoke of supplier credibility and quality commitment while Cindi Salas of CenterPoint Energy highlighted the “creativity and innovation” that suppliers brought to the table.

HMSDC Past President Richard Huebner, considered the father of Diversity in Houston, was also in the house and was presented a plaque for his efforts in promoting the concept of supplier diversity.

Photography by Bijay Dixit