2023 TOP 25 WOMEN IN POWER Impacting Diversity

The economic, political, and competitive challenges organizations face today are unending and constantly shifting. It is the core values that guide leadership and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) principles and are so essential to good decision-making. The 2023 Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity are professionals who turn DEI as core values into strategies for action. Without measurable action, nothing changes, and the women named this year embrace change as crucial to driving success. The words “status quo” are not in their vocabulary.

The 25 Women in Power named this year hold supply chain, procurement, sourcing, DEI program, ESG, and other leadership positions in their organizations, enabling them to create opportunities for diverse and women-owned businesses. Each year, the staff at DiversityPlus Magazine wonder what innovations in supply chains were developed by these creative leaders. It would seem they would run out of ideas, but that is never the case. In fact, each year the professionals develop new innovations in DEI strategies and program implementations, focusing on impact and not just spending.

Some of the innovations include integrating ESG principles in diverse supply chains, developing diverse people’s technology skills so they can become future suppliers, offering new programs and workshops to stimulate local economies, initiating Tier 2 supplier programs, promoting DEI on a global basis across cultures, and holding hybrid outreach events that enable remote and in-person attendance. The bios contain descriptions of a healthy community initiative, procurement-ready supplier development programs, and partnership initiatives with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). A significant shift in focus has taken place on two levels. First is the shift from spend accounting to impact. The second is the shift from supplier diversity as a standalone effort to supplier diversity as an important path for addressing social justice in underrepresented communities.

The 25 women are champions in every sense of the word, helping decision-makers overcome their personal biases and recognize new ways of providing opportunities to diverse people and businesses. The diversity advocates also proactively outreach to communities to find businesses ready for development as corporate suppliers. They make it clear that suppliers must meet organizational requirements. Still, they have also developed supportive mentoring and development programs to help small, diverse and women-owned businesses pivot through the challenges of becoming a corporate supplier and the challenges every company faces doing business in today’s environment. There are programs for skills development, technology and cybersecurity training, responding to RFPs, incorporating environmental sustainability, relationship building, identifying new business opportunities, and networking.

Another important principle that the Women in Power have added to their strategies is gaining top leadership support. Each woman makes it clear that the support of the CEO, C-suite, and Board of Directors is critical to making DEI a core value. A common strategy to promote DEI through all leadership levels is holding leaders accountable for meeting performance goals. The Women in Power work closely with top leaders in their respective organizations to develop metrics for measuring progress.

The common themes found in the bios include value-adding initiatives, top-down leadership, embracing change, integrating ESG, and, most importantly, creating opportunities for diverse and women-owned suppliers. The 25 Women in Power spend much time reaching out to organizational leaders, to help them embrace diverse suppliers and not simply rely on the status quo. It is always easier to keep doing what has always been done rather than creating new opportunities. However, small, diverse and women-owned businesses can most help organizations increase market share, improve competitiveness, and assist with promoting culturally-relevant DEI on a global basis.

Anyone reading the short bios of the Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity will quickly realize these are people who are passionate about DEI and social justice. They are not content to simply develop a supplier diversity portal. They regularly interact with people in their organizations and communities of operation, explaining the full impact of DEI on people’s lives. They humanize diversity, equity, and inclusion, which may be their most outstanding achievement. Thinking of supplier diversity and DEI as a “mandatory program” dilutes its purpose. It is not a mandatory program. It is a core value, and, like any core value, it must be embedded in everything the organization does. That is the true challenge, and it is a challenge the Women in Power have willingly accepted.

Sherry Diccion

Director of Supplier Diversity & Relationship Management

Erika Gibson

AVP & Director, Supplier Diversity, Procurement
Liberty Mutual.

Swati Scanlon

Vice President, Head of Governance & Supplier Diversity
New York Life

Alyson Danielewicz

Supplier Diversity Program Manager
NY Power Authority and NYS Canals Corporation

Joann Spirito

Assistant Director of Procurement
Port Authority of NY & NJ

Ashley Gabb

Director of Supplier Inclusion and Diversity
The Estée Lauder Companies

Lisa Witte

President, Fisher Scientific channel
Thermo Fisher

Sally Wilson

Vice President, Supplier Diversity Director, ESG
Truist Financial Corp