Sharon Manker is the Senior Diversity Program Lead, National Supplier Diversity at American Water. Her strategy for developing a successful supplier diversity program relies on proactively identifying current and new diverse suppliers and building a wealth of partnerships with non-diverse prime suppliers, such as local, regional, and national strategic partners NMSDC, WBENC, local Chambers of Commerce and many others. Manker also brings diverse suppliers and key organizational decision makers together as often as possible. She is adamant that top-down support for supplier diversity is crucial because it stimulates action rather than just talk.
One of Manker’s inspirations is her deep belief in the importance of helping small businesses succeed and grow. She has been recognized for her strong advocacy efforts and for driving inclusive leadership, accountability, engagement, and transparency. In 2020, she was awarded the Emmett T. Vaughn Corporate Advocate of the Year Award by the EMSDC. She also earned the 2020 Women’s Business Enterprise Center Diversity Champion of the Year Award and the 2020 National Veteran Business Development Veteran Advocate of the Year Award.