Breaking Barriers: 2024 Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity Leading the Diversity Charge

In the ever-evolving corporate and societal landscape, women's leadership roles have become increasingly significant. Beyond breaking glass ceilings, women in power actively shape diversity initiatives, transform industries, and foster inclusive environments. Their influence reverberates from their place of employment to community organizations, driving positive change and challenging traditional norms. This describes the 2024 Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity.

These women in positions of power are not figureheads. They are champions of change. They break barriers and see challenges as opportunities for inclusiveness. Their leadership styles prioritize collaboration, empathy, and inclusivity, integral to fostering diverse and equitable environments. Whether it is advocating for gender parity, championing underrepresented voices, or implementing inclusive policies, these trailblazers are at the forefront of the diversity movement.

Some common themes run through the Women in Power messages. One is that they will do whatever is needed to advance opportunities for employees and diverse suppliers. Another is that they drive creativity and innovation in their organizations by harnessing diverse teams' unique perspectives and experiences. All the Women in Power are pursuing continuous improvement by challenging the status quo and getting organizational leaders on board. Rather than feeling disheartened by the recent negative press that DEI is getting, they firm their resolve to drive positive change.

The resilience, determination, and perseverance in breaking down barriers they show are remarkable. They catalyze systemic change and pave the way for greater diversity and inclusion. They are also creative. Their accomplishments include developing a virtual training video used by a national diversity organization, creating new Business Intelligence tools, and developing new supplier communication channels.

Most of the women are embracing new and emerging technologies to support organizational leaders and suppliers. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly entering the realm of supply chain management, so the Women in Power are harnessing it in support of inclusion, developing data analytics and other products that increase diverse supplier identification and support. Some are collaborating with tech suppliers, while others are working to increase supplier access to emerging technologies. They also use data to achieve broad results, such as linking spending with social determinants and promoting environmental sustainability as well as social justice.

The women are methodical strategists, too. In one case, research was conducted on socio-economic groups to target for suppliers, key stakeholders were mapped, and barriers to onboarding were addressed. One woman made it clear she did not want to rely on a Tier 2 program managed by prime suppliers for diverse supplier spend. She is intent on her team driving diverse supplier opportunities by working with organizational leaders.

Supplier diversity is good for businesses and communities. The Women in Power invest in diverse suppliers, creating economic opportunities and strengthening local economies. By sourcing goods and services locally, they support small businesses and contribute to job creation and economic development. Additionally, by partnering with suppliers that prioritize environmental and social responsibility, they promote sustainability and corporate citizenship.

One key way 2024’s Women in Power impact supplier diversity is by empowering entrepreneurs. Strategic procurement decisions and supplier development programs provide opportunities for diverse entrepreneurs to access markets, grow their businesses, and create jobs. By actively seeking out and contracting with women and minority-owned enterprises, they stimulate economic growth and promote gender equality in the business ecosystem. Diverse suppliers bring a wealth of innovation and creativity to the table. Women in Power recognize the value of diversity in driving innovation within their supply chains. By partnering with diverse suppliers, they gain access to new ideas, technologies, and market insights that can give their organizations a competitive edge. Whether through collaboration, co-creation, or knowledge sharing, these partnerships drive business growth and fuel innovation across industries.

The Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity are mentors, coaches, and collaborators. For them, supplier diversity is not about meeting quotas. It is about fostering inclusion and leveling the playing field for all businesses, regardless of size, gender, or ethnicity. The Women in Power understand the importance of creating diverse supply chains that reflect the communities they serve. By championing minority-owned, LGBTQ+-owned, and veteran-owned businesses, they ensure their organizations support a wide range of suppliers, promoting economic equity and social responsibility.

The staff of DiversityPlus Magazine is pleased to present the Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity from a variety of industries. Anyone reading the bios will find inspiration for strategizing within their organizations. That is the purpose of seeking out the achievements and ideas of these successful and innovative women. We wish them continued success as they pursue a just society. It is an enormous aspiration, but thank goodness we have champions like these women who are willing to keep driving change and never give up.

Sesley Brown

Senior Manager, North America Supplier Inclusion and Sustainability Lead

Cynithea Reeder

Americas Markets Communication Leader- and Entrepreneurs Access Network Program Director

Susanna Webber

Senior Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer

Jennifer Good

Sr. Manager for Supplier Relations, Compliance and Diversity
American Axle & Manufacturing

Taisha Crayton

Associate Director of the Office for Economic Inclusion & Diversity (OEID) in Financial Administration
Harvard University

Helen Cooper

VP, Procurement Excellence & Corporate Services
IHG Hotels & Resorts

Kenyatta Lewis

Executive Director of Supplier Inclusion, Sustainable Procurement & Training
MGM Resorts

Candace Barnes

Vice President, Global Head of Diversity, Talent, & Culture
Papa Johns

Dana Cerrito

Vice President, Global Supplier Diversity
State Street Bank

Carmen Deale

Senior Supplier Diversity Program Manager
The ODP Corporation

Candice Sams

Head of Supplier Inclusion, established the pillars of Leadership, Engagement, Accountability, and Delivery for the newly formed program
Tractor Supply

Juanita Logan

Vice President of Global Corporate Impact
World Wide Technology