2017 Top 30 Champions of Diversity Embed Supplier Diversity
Each year, DiversityPlus Magazine names the Top 30 Champions of Diversity. These are the people who have driven diversity in corporate supply chains and workforces. As several of the Champions pointed out, diversity is not a bounded principle that only applies to particular operations or activities. It must be a core value in corporate cultures, supply chains, workforces, systems and processes. Globalization and changing demographics have made it clear that Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is critical to corporate, community, and economic success, making the Champions of Diversity much more than "diversity leaders. They build relationships among people and businesses to grow economies and tackle some of the toughest community challenges, like poverty, through inclusion.

The Champions deeply believe that D&I is as important to corporate success as any other function, like finance and production. That belief drives their consistent efforts to develop new strategies that integrate D&I in all corporate activities. These strategies are built on a foundation of collaboration and alignment with business goals. For many corporations, Supplier Diversity is now a way of doing business rather than a "program," and that is a major step forward. It is the ability of the Champions to move the organization beyond the "program" concept that is driving measurable progress. Diversity and inclusion plays a major role in the ability of the organization to adapt to marketplace trends and issues, and meet organizational needs. The same applies to workforce diversity and inclusion. The Champions see no boundaries to D&I, so workforce diversity HR professionals promote supplier diversity and supplier diversity professionals contribute to workforce D&I efforts.

A large variety of organization's are represented again – some for the first time - proving D&I applies to every business in every industry. This year, the industries represented are HR staffing; beauty care, home care, and adhesives; healthcare and prescription drug services; pharmaceuticals; alcoholic beverages; insurance; technology; energy; cleaning service; professional services and consulting; food and beverages production; manufacturing; and transportation. Each organization is at a different stage of embedding D&I in the supply chain and workforce, so the Champions adapt their strategies as necessary. Champions in organizations in the early stages work one-on-one with cross-functional leaders in order to get them on board as internal champions and ambassadors. Organizations in which Supplier Diversity and workforce D&I are embedded in the culture are going global with their efforts. That is not an easy task because diversity is defined in different ways around the world.

This year, many of the Champions focused on helping diverse suppliers grow capacity. They used a number of approaches to ensure diverse suppliers are given maximum opportunities. The Champions promote supplier partnerships with decision-makers and other suppliers; proactively match suppliers to current and upcoming opportunities; outreach to diverse businesses in communities of operation; encourage organizational leaders to set goals within their units and participate in outreach efforts; use analytics to set goals, identify low utilization areas in the organization, and identify opportunities; and with the full support of executive leadership, hold people accountable for their efforts.

It is clear that utilization of diverse suppliers and workforce diversity leads to greater innovation, new perspectives, and a competitive advantage. These are critical advantages conveyed to corporations, and that has led many Champions to vigorously work to increase Tier I diverse suppliers. It is important to build a robust Tier II diverse supplier level, but the Champions see this is as only a first step that no one should be satisfied with over the long-term. The Champions are once again changing the narrative because they see the bigger picture in which industries and societies are changed for the better.

DiversityPlus Magazine is pleased to introduce the 2017 Top 30 Champions of Diversity. The bios are brief descriptions of the remarkable success of the Champions, but the ultimate objective is to encourage other businesses and leaders to think in broader terms, develop inclusive corporate cultures, and expect real D&I progress across their organizations. Each of the Champions would welcome a conversation with any reader who would like to know more about their work in diversity. Please join the DiversityPlus Magazine staff in applauding the corporate movers and shakers who are paving the path of inclusiveness for all. ClosedClosed