2019 Top 30 Champions of Diversity
Pursue a Vision of Inclusion Through Supplier Diversity


Most people in the business and government arenas are familiar with the principle of Supplier Diversity by now. The difference between people who are familiar with the principle and the people DiversityPlus Magazine has named as the 2019 Top 30 Champions of Diversity is this: Champions see Supplier Diversity as a vision and core value so proactively assist Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) in achieving success. Their message is clear: Supplier Diversity is not a social program. When put into practice, it is a principle that drives economic growth, strong communities, business success, and a more equitable world. For this reason, the Champions spend their working time and volunteer a lot of their personal time striving to make the vision a reality.

The 30 Champions are a high energy, dynamic group of people who seem to have unlimited energy as they work inside and outside their organizations. There are some Champions who are using their retirement years to push for change within organizations and among federal and state policymakers. There are Champions who have worked their way up in their organizations as a result of demonstrating a deep commitment to helping people and businesses succeed and others who were recruited by various employers for their experience and knowledge of what it takes to build a thriving diverse supply chain. Some Champions have started advocacy organizations, like the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and others have helped existing organizations substantially grow, like the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Education Foundation and the Great Lakes Women's Business Council.

The energy of the Top 30 Champions put into a wide variety of activities, programs, and strategies. They arrange business networking opportunities, form alliances, hold Business Opportunity Exchanges and procurement fairs, and develop workshops and mentorship programs. The Champions spend a lot of time developing working relationships with internal leaders and external suppliers, and immerse themselves in communities. Building trust and transparency in everything they do is important to their success and the success of MWBEs and their communities of operation.

This year a variety of industries and nonprofits are represented. They include local and regional advocacy councils and nonprofits, Chambers of Commerce, Small Business Development Centers, energy, insurance, retail, vehicle manufacturing, consumer good manufacturing, imaging and electronics, paper manufacturing, water services, medical devices manufacturing, and food distribution. It is exciting to see the strengthening of Supplier Diversity as a core value in corporations, and equally exciting to see diversity leaders founding and growing organizations dedicated to ensuring progress accelerates and expands to embrace all industries on a national and global basis.

It is tempting to think the work of the Champions is merely helping corporations fulfill their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The truth is CSR is only one goal for the Champions working in corporations. The Champions and their team members work closely with procurement and organizational buyers to develop diverse supply chains with suppliers that are aligned to corporate goals and fully qualified. Once onboard, Supplier Diversity programs provide a variety of educational and training resources to help targeted suppliers grow their capacity to meet the needs of their customers.

Many of the Champions work in advocacy organizations that certify diverse-owned and small businesses and provide a host of educational and networking services. They are the go-to sources for corporate members looking for innovative and diverse businesses. Research continues to show that businesses with diverse supply chains perform better financially. Due to the work of people like the Champions, senior leaders across the corporations are giving their full support to diversity efforts. As a result, it is becoming much more common for organizations to adopt a policy requiring one or more qualified diverse suppliers to be included in RFPs. Organizational leaders are also held accountable for making progress in diversifying the supply chain, with supplier diversity leaders using benchmarks and analytics to measure and maintain progress. The same best practices for accountability are also applied to talent management processes.

DiversityPlus Magazine applauds the Top 30 Champions of Diversity and all the other people working to put Supplier Diversity into practice. They deeply believe in the importance of their work for the businesses and for economic growth. As the U.S. population grows more diverse each year and businesses globalize, it is people like the Champions of Diversity who ensure diverse and small businesses have access to opportunities and are not excluded through arbitrary barriers. They are each happy to discuss their individual strategies and efforts should there be questions. These are the people who have already experienced success and nothing would make them happier than to help others in their efforts to create a more equitable world for all.


2019 Top 30
Champions of Diversity


Lawrence Wooten

Corporate Supplier Diversity Senior Manager
American Water

C.E. "Tee" Rowe

President & CEO
America's SBDC

Louise Connell

Supplier Diversity Manager

Saken Khokhar

Supplier Diversity Manager
Boston Scientific

Sheila Morgan

President & CEO
Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council

Monette Knapik

Director, Strategic Procurement
CVS Health

Marty Keller

Deputy Executive Director, Division of Client Services and Innovation, Veterans Business Outreach Center, Region IX
Disabled Veterans Business Alliance

Stacey Key

President & CEO
Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council

Michelle Richards

Founding Board Member & Executive Director
Great Lakes Women's Business Council

Michael Bracey

Team Manager, Procurement Diversity Group
Honda of America

Debra Voss

Manager, Development of Diverse Business Solutions
International Paper

Stan Sena

President & CEO
Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council

Frantz Tiffeau

Director, Supplier Diversity

Sharee Sheptick

Corporate Diversity Analyst

Justin G. Nelson

Co-Founder & President
National LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Marcella McCullough

Senior Manager, Supplier Diversity, Purchasing Strategy
Nissan North America, Inc.

Joy Wong

Corporate Vice President
New York Life

Terrence Clark

President & CEO
New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Diversity Development Council

Keith King

Founder & CEO

Jacqueline Neal

OHIO Minority Supplier Development Council

Nalini Bates

Associate Director, Supplier Citizenship
Procter & Gamble

Christina Morrow

Director, Global Procurement

Yolanda Pierson

Senior Manager, Supplier Diversity & Inclusion

Susan Au Allen


Heather Herndon Wright

Director, Supply Chain Diversity
Vistra Energy

Michael A. Byron

Senior Director, Supplier Inclusion

Nancy Allen

Women's Business Development Council of Florida

Emilia DiMenco

President & Chief Executive Officer
Women's Business Development Center

Dr. Pamela Williamson

President & CEO
Women's Business Enterprise Council West

Candace Waterman


Copyright by DiversityPlus Magazine. All rights reserved.

Copyright by DiversityPlus Magazine. All rights reserved.