Supplier Diversity Best Practices


Shendora Pridgen, Executive Director and Global Head of Supplier Diversity

Currently tShendora Pridgenhe Executive Director and Global Head of Supplier Diversity, Shendora's career started as an Analyst in the Sourcing Department at Morgan Stanley in 1997. She has been involved with the Supplier Diversity program since it was started in 1998, first serving as a Sourcing liaison for over 10 years and then taking over the program in 2011. When asked about her position, Shendora states, "It has been an amazing journey. I love networking with people internally and externally. I like helping others and in this role I feel that I'm able to do so by being a strong advocate for diverse businesses."  

One of the initiatives Shendora started in 2012 was having internal events, partnering with various groups within the   Firm and including some external certification affiliates. This allows Morgan Stanley the opportunity to invite diverse suppliers to meet the Sourcing group and obtain an understanding of their  Procurement process. Diverse-owned companies are able to connect with the right people and hear valuable information about how Morgan Stanley seeks new suppliers.
Shendora gives the following recommendations to a Procurement team looking to develop a new Supplier Diversity program: "It takes time to develop a good program, and you can't do it alone. You need the help of external partners (local and national affiliates) to assist you with finding qualified diverse suppliers. Secondly, you need to work closely with your Procurement team, making sure they are fully aware of the program and obtain their buy-in upfront to provide opportunities to diverse businesses when reviewing the market. I also find developing annual spend targets is helpful to keep the program progressing." 

Donna Dozier Gordon, Director, Diversity & Inclusion at USTA

I have been with USTA since 2013. My current role focuses on USTA’s Supplier Diversity initiative along with several other elements of our Diversity & Inclusion strategy. Our Supplier Diversity effort seeks to ensure opportunities for diverse suppliers (that is, MBEs, WBEs, LGBTs and Veteran-owned businesses) to do business with USTA. I’m also responsible for aspects of our Strategic Partnership and Human Assets D&I pillars. Specifically, I am accountable for identifying key non-tennis diversity organisation partners and building those relationships, as well as managing the work of our employee Business Resource Groups.
To integrate Supplier Diversity as part of the fabric of USTA’s procurement process, we’ve taken several steps. Although Supplier Diversity does not report to Purchasing, I work very closely with the Purchasing team to keep Supplier Diversity top-of-mind as procurement opportunities arise or as RFPs are issued.  In fact, we have shared accountability for ensuring USTA meets or exceeds its annual Supplier Diversity spend goals. We collectively partner with internal stakeholders to understand their procurement priorities each year to facilitate the process of identifying relevant diverse suppliers. There is also a clearly articulated policy requiring bids for any product or service above a certain dollar threshold that calls out the need to include diverse suppliers. We, partner, to represent USTA with such organisations as NMSDC, WBENC, NGLCC and their local affiliates. And finally, we work together to present showcase opportunities for diverse suppliers that lay the groundwork for them to build relationships with key decision makers.
We believe that our Supplier Diversity commitment amplifies the business case for Diversity & Inclusion at USTA. Our mission is to develop and promote the growth of tennis. We simply cannot fulfil that mission without a focus on engaging the increasingly diverse consumers in the marketplace. We see Supplier Diversity as a critical element in our ability to connect with diverse communities and put tennis on the radar for audiences that may see the sport as exclusionary or not fully be embracing them. Diverse business owners are powerfully influential in their communities. And by engaging in business relationships with diverse suppliers, we are ensuring that they have a vested interest in the sport where previously it may not have registered for them at all. These relationships set off a virtuous cycle of community goodwill and economic development. The diverse supplier is likely to hire diverse employees who now also feel connected to tennis, and who extend this connection to their family and friends. These relationships also result in increased discretionary income in these communities who are now connected to tennis which can translate to their participation in the sport as players, as fans, as volunteers and even, as employees. We see the virtuous cycle created by Supplier Diversity as a significant competitive advantage.

Claire Scanlon, Vice President, Supplier Development, BNY Mellon

Claire Scanlon has led BNY Mellon's supplier diversity program since 1994. 

Through her focused initiatives, BNY Mellon works closely with small and diverse suppliers to expand their opportunities with the company, providing guidance and support as needed in order to prepare them to bid on new business. In addition, the company collaborates with organizations that focus on economic development, growth and learning, and leadership -- to promote the full potential of individuals, their companies and the communities in which we all live and work. 

"We make every attempt to include at least one or more small and diverse-owned business in every RFP", says Claire.  "For some of our new construction projects coming up, we are trying to earmark certain contracts to just small and diverse-owned businesses".

To develop its diverse suppliers, BNY Mellon works with advocacy organizations to provide training and development programs to small and diverse business owners and their staff. 

They also participate in trade fairs to meet new suppliers. Working with small and diverse businesses, such as those owned and operated by women, minorities, veterans, the disabled and LGBTs, plays a critical role in helping BNY Mellon achieve its objectives as a leading financial institution. These firms supply the quality products and services that allow the company to remain efficient and innovative in its businesses and the global marketplace.

The company's commitment to supplier diversity and to the economic growth and development of diverse-owned businesses in its supply chain has the full support of its corporate leadership. 

Claire says, "We value their contributions and are committed to continuing our support for small and diverse firms that wish to participate in our procurement process".

Ines Eden, the Supplier Diversity Coordinator for New York University Division of Operations

Ines Eden is the Supplier Diversity Coordinator for New York University Division of Operations. She has been the driving force behind the planning and implementation of the Supplier Diversity Program. Ines has developed a strategy for reporting direct and Tier 2 diverse participation. Ines is also responsible for facility manager procurement portfolio, Life and fire safety program, pest management program, water testing, and telecommunications.Ines has a Master Degree in Urban Affairs from Hunter College. Currently, she is seeking a Master Degree in Construction Management from New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate.



Andrea Sotomayor, Supplier Diversity and Sustainable Sourcing -National Grid

Andrea Sotomayor assists in the implementation and strategic development of the Supplier Diversity and Sustainable Sourcing programs at National Grid; a global utility company servicing the UK and northeastern U.S. She holds a bachelor’s of Science degree from Florida State University and carries a multifaceted background in business development and entrepreneurship. Shortly after graduating university, she partnered in a start-up company within the medical field offering customized medical treatments and bio-identical hormone therapy.As a result of her entrepreneurial background, she understands the intricacies and challenges diverse businesses face on a daily basis. Competing with larger companies, driving innovation/creativity, identifying and retaining top talent, and of course keeping up with the ever changing world of technology are all challenges she endured herself as a business owner.Now, working on the other side of the fence in corporate America, she is passionately involved in advocating and mentoring diverse suppliers as well as looking for creative ways to help expand their business capacity across the utility market. Andrea previously worked at Pacific Gas & Electric on the west coast in California and is now based in the northeast in upstate, New York.

Nicole Stoner, Strategy Director/Head of Supplier Diversity – American Express

Initiatives.The procurement organization at American Express is constantly evolving, and Nicole created this role to test the opportunities for integrating suppliers, including diverse suppliers, into the company’s greater business strategies. Practically speaking, that means revisiting and challenging its standard view of the supplier base; leveraging spend analytics intelligently; and distilling the most compelling value proposition for using diverse suppliers.“Diverse suppliers are integrated at several points in the supply chain which, since we are a payments company, is a pretty short chain,” says Nicole. “While we do include diverse suppliers in our RFX events, we also make sure to include them in sole-source activities. One of our major goals going forward is to bring the program more aggressively into our business units, and keep supplier diversity top of mind for our internal customers.”Working with diverse suppliers has given American Express a competitive advantage in two ways: , First, American Express is a company that prefers high-value relationships with its Card Members, corporate clients, and suppliers; its diverse supplier base reflects this position. The company maintains a small, high-quality diverse supplier base with significant repeat business and strong internal “word of mouth.” Those high-value relationships foster a deep level of trust and engagement that directly translates into innovation, better servicing and reliable partnerships to the benefit of its B2B and B2C customers.

Second, working with a diverse supplier base on the buy-side gives the company some solid insights into what it means to do business on the sell-side. For example, American Express just completed its 6th Small Business Saturday campaign – the most successful to date. This is clearly an initiative that is being embraced by small businesses as well as the local communities being served. It inspires the team members to make Supplier Diversity part of the corporate communit nd to share their own learning with their colleagues in Small Business Services.

Nicole brings great enthusiasm to her role at American Express and is always eager to share best practices and thought leadership through active participation in ISM-NY.



December 2015– Focus on National Grid & Randy Rotermund, VP of US Procurement

Randy Rotermund has been VP of US Procurement at National Grid for one year. He is responsible for the sourcing of all goods and services for the US business.

Supplier Diversity is a strategic component of National Grid’s supply chain management, and has enabled the company to become more reflective of the communities they serve, as well as providing value to their customers. Their overall vision and focus is to strive to be a performance leader (Customer Value, Delivery and Quality) through targeted efforts in procurement, supply chain management and supplier diversity.“National Grid has set of key priorities in the areas of Safety, Reliability, Customer and Community Responsiveness and Cost Competitiveness”, says Randy. “Our supplier partners need to meet our business needs in each of these critical areas. When a supplier is aligned with our vision it becomes second nature to integrate them into our supply chain.”In strategic sourcing, National Grid integrates diverse vendors in the bidding process, incorporating 3 bids and 1 buy where they ensure that each RFP includes at least one diverse supplier on the preliminary list of potential vendors. They also track and monitor diversity inclusion in their tactical sourcing by adding it into the process system.Supplier outreach is another key component in their integration of diverse suppliers. Through the supplier diversity program, National Grid has done extensive outreach work in identifying and developing a qualified diverse supplier base. In addition to supporting external partnership events, National Grid hosts their ownPower of Connectionsevent, which allows their procurement team members to have one-on-one meetings with diverse suppliers in their service areas. These meetings enable stakeholders to determine if suppliers are qualified to work with the company. If suppliers are in need of development, National Grid offers mentorship programs to sharpen suppliers’ skills to best position themselves to competitively bid for contracts.

Randy says, “I am very proud of the achievements that we have accomplished under supplier diversity. One of the most powerful advantages of incorporating supplier diversity into traditional procurement sourcing is that it introduces unique capabilities and innovative ideas from under-represented groups. Small and local businesses make up the fabric of our communities. They are intimately attuned to new trends and technologies where corporations may lack insight. Investing and partnering with these suppliers gives us a competitive edge and permits us to access and leverage a diverse pool of knowledge.”

Working with MWBEs opens the door to competitive approaches and innovative solutions for National Grid. One such example of how they were able to capitalize on the innovative ideas of diverse suppliers was their “Wood Poles Pilot”. It was launched at the Riverside yard in Albany, NY. Cox Industries, (a woman owned business), took their decommissioned wood poles, wooden pallets and wooden reels from the yard to a co-generation facility that burned them and sold the energy back to the local grid. Burning the poles has been proven to be a safer, more environmentally friendly solution.

National Grid's supplier diversity program has been recognized by many advocacy and industryorganizations - including ISM. The company is the first to receive the ISM-NY Outstanding Supplier Diversity Program award in 2015.

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