Serving as the inaugural Director of Supplier Diversity for Protective Life Corporation (Protective), Theresa Jones impacts Protective’s Diverstiy Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) efforts, while providing critical opportunities for minority-, women-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises (MWDBEs) in its communities. Through her role, Theresa formalized the process for connecting diverse suppliers to the sourcing pipeline, key stakeholders and teams within the business. She also integrates supplier diversity practices into existing sourcing processes. To credit her success, she names leadership support, understanding spend patterns, and using inclusive matchmaking tools and networks. In addition, Theresa is heavily involved with Protective’s DE&I Committee, which provides guidance on the Company’s DE&I efforts and supports programs like Theresa’s.
In addition to internal support, Theresa also believes learning and collaborating with industry and local groups has been major contributors to success. With the support of its President and CEO, Protective visibly committed to participate in a public-private partnership called VITAL (Valuing Inclusion to Accelerate and Lift), which is focused on economic growth and a unified process of reporting spending with MWDBEs. Theresa leverages the VITAL program to meet diverse business owners, understand their journey and discuss obstacles. This guides her in the best way to advocate and match the service to supplier diversity needs. Theresa is very proud of her work in creating inclusive environments for these diverse business owners to meet key stakeholders, discuss their services, and participate in sourcing efforts.