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2014 Top 30 Champions of Diversity
2014 Top 30 Champions of Diversity Lead Supplier Diversity into the Future

The progress that has been made to date in raising awareness of the benefits of supplier diversity and increasing the participation of diverse suppliers has been impressive. However, according to DiversityPlus Magazine’s 2014 Champions of Diversity, the progress is notable but not enough. Supplier diversity principles generally began in response to government mandates, and then businesses discovered through metrics, bottom lines and experience that inclusion is the “right thing to do.” That knowledge was followed by an understanding that including diverse suppliers in supply chains is a best practice and required for any business that wants to successfully operate in a global, intensely competitive business environment.

As the world changes, supplier diversity policies, programs and initiatives need to adapt. That requires innovative thinking and a determination to lead into the future and not just maintain in the present.

The Champions of Diversity were chosen as much for their ability to develop best practices that ensure diverse suppliers have equal opportunities to participate in a globalized, volatile future market as they were for their past accomplishments. The selection criteria as a Champion included being responsive to diverse suppliers, demonstrating leadership by example, and developing key best programs to build thriving supplier diversity programs.

Today’s business environment requires unique leadership able to move beyond traditional practices and beyond traditional industries. The 30 Champions represent a variety of industries. They include some that are particularly challenging because they do not have a history of attracting and developing MWBEs or other diverse suppliers so there is low representation and a small number of diverse businesses with scalability and capabilities. The Champions in industries like pharmaceuticals, electric utilities, energy production, and global information and measurement apply their knowledge and experience to develop supplier diversity programs from the ground up. Champions also represent banking, technology, automotive, laundry and home care, hospitality, food and drink production, and retail. The breadth of industries reflects the growing deep belief in supplier diversity as a success strategy.

The Champions of Diversity have been busy expanding their diversity programs by developing best practices perfectly suited to the globalized, competitive environment. It is their leadership that is setting new standards for success.

What is important to understand is that the Champions are not just starting supplier registration portals and leaving the use of diverse suppliers to chance. They are actively helping suppliers build capabilities and scalability so they qualify to do business with corporations. They are building teams but at multiple layers to drive the principles and practice of supplier diversity deep. The Champions are taking supplier diversity programs global which is incredibly challenging because of the different cultures and government laws and regulations involved. The Champions share market knowledge, advise suppliers on developing financial viability, mentor, network and develop business development scholarship opportunities for suppliers.

Another best practice involves bringing people together in different ways, using sheer determination. Some Champions make use of ambassadors or people in the company who take the supplier diversity effort company-wide and serve as liaisons between the supplier diversity team and organizational units. Bringing suppliers or suppliers and business units together as partners is another approach. Developing partnerships requires an ability to see what can be and not what is currently available.

Several Champions of Diversity pointed out they have a code of conduct and expectations that keeps them on track. For Itu Otu with Mars Inc. the code reads as, “Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency, Freedom.” Edkedsha Mathis at Volkswagen believes she should, “Aim High, Apply Myself, Achieve My Goals.” At Hilton, Fred Lona keeps “Expectations, Transparency, Collaboration, Innovation, Education, Engagement, and Preparation.” All the Champions are strengthening Tier 1and Tier 2 supplier bases because all are about opportunity.

The bios of the Champions of Diversity summarize the various leadership styles, achievements and future plans. Each person clearly has a passion for giving all business owners the opportunity to succeed. It is the desire of DiversityPlus Magazine to share this information in the hope that other leaders in other companies will adopt and adapt some of the key best practices so that they too build robust supplier diversity programs.

This is about more than supply chains. It is about developing an economically inclusive world because supplier success has an exponential impact on communities.

2014 Top 30 Champions of Diversity

Julie Brautigam Name Julie Brautigam   Claire Scanlon Name Claire Scanlon
Designation Director, Global Supply Chain Sustainability Designation Head of the Supplier Development Program
Company Baxter International Inc. Company BNY Mellon

Willie Johnson Name Willie Johnso   Heather Herndon - Wright  Name Heather Herndon - Wright
Designation Procurement Manager, Supplier Diversity Designation Director of Supplier Diversity
Company CHEP Company Energy Future Holdings

Theresa Harrison Name Theresa Harrison   Emmett T. Vaughn Name Emmett T. Vaughn
Designation Director of Supplier Diversity Designation Director of the Office of Diverse Business Empowerment
Company Ernst & Young Company Exelon Corporation

Angela Curley Name Angela Curley   Heidi Hansen  Name Heidi Hansen
Designation Sr. Manager, Corporate Diversity & Inclusion and Social Progress Designation Procurement Diversity Coordinator
Company Henkel Corporation Company Honda

Pauline Gebon Name Pauline Gebon   Lamont Robinson Name Lamont Robinson
Designation Global Head of Supplier Diversity Designation Vice President, Supplier Diversity
Company MetLife Company Nielsen

Ricardo Barrientos
            Name Ricardo Barrientos   Robert Pilney Name Robert Pilney
Designation Global Procurement Sr. Director, Supplier Diversity Designation Director, Strategic Sourcing & Supplier Diversity
Company  PepsiCo North America Company The Hartford

Edkedsha Mathis Name Edkedsha Mathis   José Nido Name José Nido
Designation Supplier Diversity Assistant Manager Designation Vice President, Global Supplier Diversity
Company Volkswagen Company Wyndham Worldwide

Kathy April Rush Name Kathy April Rush  Diana Domenech Name Diana Domenech
Designation Manager,Supplier Diversity and Small Business Liaison Officer Designation Director, Supplier Diversity & Environmental Sustainability
Company AbbVie, Inc. Company AIG

Kendra Austin Name Kendra Austin   Paul Ciesielski Name Paul Ciesielski
Designation Supplier Diversity Executive Designation Sourcing Manager for Electricity & Regulatory Affairs
Company Ameren Company ArcelorMittal

Marc Ensign Name Denise Coley   Jamie Crump Name Dwan Harris Armstrong
Designation Director, Global Supplier Diversity Business Development & Strategic Programs Office Designation Senior Supplier Diversity Manager in Global Strategic Sourcing
Company Cisco Company The Clorox Company

Sandra Nielsen Name Jay Burks   Walt Gore Name Margo Posey
Designation Senior Manager of Supplier Diversity Designation President, Dallas/Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council
Company Comcast Company D/FW MSDC

Louise Connell Name Charles Perkins Sr.  Antonio Rivera Name Roz Lewis
Designation Director, Diversity Management Designation President & CEO
Company Faurecia Company Greater Women’s Business Council (GWBC)

Pamela Brailsford Name Kavy Lenon  Sheila Morgan Name Fred Lona
Designation Senior Supplier Diversity Manager Designation Senior Director, Supplier Diversity
Company Herman Miller, Inc. Company Hilton Worldwide

Eliseo T. Rojas Name Itu Otu   David A. Hinson Name Vickie Davanzo
Designation Supplier Diversity Manager Designation Supplier Diversity Manager
Company Mars Chocolate North America Company NiSource

Corey Smith Name Sam Artis  Wade Colclough, Name Michael Byron
Designation Director, Small Business Liaison Office Designation Senior Director, Supplier Diversity
Company URS Corporation Company Walmart

About DiversityPlus Magazine:
DiversityPlus is much more than “just” a supplier diversity magazine.Thanks to its strong media platform, which includes the print edition, digital magazine, website, weekly newsletter, social media, blogs, and video, DiversityPlus is able to provide print readers in seven countries and more than 117,000 digital readers worldwide with access to leading-edge supplier diversity content, webinars, and events.

What you’ll read in the pages of DiversityPlus represents the most current and impactful thinking about diverse supplier relationships. Plus, with over 17 years in print, our trend research, interviews, and feature articles showcase a depth of industry relationships unmatched by any other supplier diversity publication.


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