Table of Contents
Vol 8 No.2
Why Not Face Up to the Challenges of Capacity Building for Minority Suppliers?
Op-Ed - by Dr. Fred McKinney
The Great Recession Is Over â€“ Now What?
DUSHCC Summit Hosted Procurement Matchmaking Event
Dominion Surpasses $300 Million in buying from Diverse Suppliers -Page 10
WIPP Partners With the Arizona Small Business Association -Page 11
Corporate Feature - by Betty Armstrong Passion and Commitment Support Office Depot From Within
Tech Trends - by Karen White Protecting Your Network from a Targeted Hacker Attack
Economy - by Joel Naroff
Minority Spotlight - by Debra Jenkins
A Stranger in a Strange Land? Not With the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber Of Commerce
Assessing the Risks of Building Capacity
USPAACC Building A Bridge To Asia One Relationship At A Time
Management - by Morris Bocian
Shari Francis Uses Spirit and Creativity to Keep Office Depot as a Diversity Leader.
Focus on Women - by Helene Saunders
As the Economy Recovers Housing Market Still Flat
Focus, Determination, and Persistence Bring ASA Environmental Products Success Starting Small, ASA Has Grown With Dedication and Quality Commitment
Trends & Issues
24 Integrating MBEs in the Global Supply Chain - by Shaniqua Thomas
Identifying Next Practices for MBE Development
Putting The Seven Marketing Keys into Practice
- by Paul Lachhu
- by Sherry Bloom
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Table of Contents
Vol 8 No.2
Opportunities in the Healthcare Industry 36
Navigating the Healthcare Supply Chain - by Ravi Singh
Driving Change Through Innovation in Healthcare - by James Hsu
Work-Life - by Ingrid Johnson
Building a Strategy for Doing Business With Healthcare Companies - by Sharon Ross
Minority Companies to Watch In the Healthcare Industry
Global Outlook - by William Bell A Primer on Doing Business in Africa: Ghana
5 Steps to a Better Workplace Environment
From Cloud to Cars ‘Heavy Hitters’ and More at SCMBDC’s Minority Business Opportunity Day
ChemicoMays - On the Cutting Edge Jones Lang Lasalle Americas Inc Never Skipping a Beat Liberty IRB - On The Watch -Page 54 Pharma Bio Serv - Charging Ahead
Eco-Travel - by Pamela Grant
People & Places
Golf - by James McAfee
Galapagos: Outpost, Experiment, or Sustainable Example?
Delicious Diversity - by John Jacobs
Organic Cooking Traditions in Jamaica
44 DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Lightning—Get off the course
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DiversityPlus Magazine Mission Statement To Foster the Growth and Development of Small-and Medium- Size Businesses by Linking Outstanding Women, Minority and Disadvantaged companies to Corporate America and Government Agencies Through Supplier Diversity.
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Dr. Fred McKinney Helene Saunders Morris Bocian Betty Armstrong Shaniqua Thomas Paul Lachhu Sherry Blooms Karen White Joel Naroff
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DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Why Not Face Up to the Challenges of Capacity Building for Minority Suppliers?
s the numbers continue to roll in, there’s no hiding the ugly truth. The current economic crisis has shuttered a disproportionate number of African American and Hispanic businesses, many of which had long and proud histories. Hundreds of others are being moved from 1st Tier to 2nd Tier positions, limiting their future growth potential. Rather than investigating further, minority directors and even some of our distinguished minority councils are choosing to focus on other areas. What’s going on? In many cases, the fault lies with capacity … or more bluntly, the lack thereof. For whatever reason, millions of otherwise thriving minority businesses seem to plateau. They grow to a certain point and move no farther. Though each individual business seems to have its own reasons, there is no doubt that the problem is a pandemic that threatens the future health of minority supplier initiatives. A large part of the problem seems to be the willingness with which minority suppliers and their advocates allow the capacity building issue to be the elephant in the room. For corporate minority supplier program directors and national supplier councils, there are so many other things to work on that this prickly pear gets swept aside, even as relationships are failing. Spend numbers can go unreported, and him or her wants to deal with them on their watch because it seems embarrassing to admit there is a problem. As for the minority businesses themselves, excuses and good intentions without followthrough serve to put the final nails in the coffins. Let’s be blunt: The number of African American and Hispanic suppliers as a percentage of spend is actually shrinking, and the embarrassing numbers are all too often swept under a rug. The old saying goes “If you’re not moving forward, you’re roadkill,” and it seems that both minority businesses and the programs that claim to support them are just lying down in the highway. It’s not that there aren’t success stories out there – you read them in these pages regularly. Yet we can’t la-la-la and cheerleader away the hard truths just because our bright lights are doing so well. The success stories prove that it is possible – but why isn’t capacity building more prevalent? His/her with a stake in the future health of minority supplier programs and progress needs to step up their game. From the top minority organizations like the National Minority and Supplier Development Council, (NMSDC) and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) and award-winning corporate diversity supporters right down to the newest minority business owner, the time for complacency is over. It is time to put capacity building front and center.
Areas where initiatives will help to develop strong capacity building potential include: strategic planning, management, mentorship, work/life balance guidance, financing, innovation, and building scale through partnerships, alliances and or even outright acquisitions. For every firm with a minority supplier program in place, who knows the synergies and growth possibilities better than you? For every corporation that has these programs available, minority business owners need to actively seek to take advantage of the resources. For every corporation hoping someone else will handle it, remember that while minority supplier development is not a requirement, a robust and innovative supplier base is in everyone’s long-term best interests. The ugly truth about capacity building will only get uglier if we all try to ignore it. The time is ripe for more action and more education. Why not face up to the challenges of capacity building for minority suppliers? There is much to be lost by doing nothing, and a world of gain for taking action now.
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
The Great Recession Is Over – Now What?
ccording to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Great Recession that began in the second quarter of 2008 was declared officially over at the end of the third quarter of 2009. This recession was dubbed “Great” because it was deeper than the previous ten post-World War II recessions, but was shorter and not as severe as the Great Depression. But whatever you choose to call it, this recent economic downturn did plenty of damage. In fact, several markets including the bellwether labor market and the important housing market continue to show weaknesses that are not close to being what most economists would consider “normal”. Yet now it is time for corporations and MBEs to shed the bunker mentality and prepare for the coming expansion. Back in early 2008, I predicted in this column and elsewhere that the economy was going into a recession and made a series of recommendations MBEs should follow to survive. One of those recommendations was to prepare for the coming expansion, even as we were headed into the recession. Now that we are coming out of the recession that can at best be described as a tepid recovery, MBEs and others should be preparing for long term growth and expansion. It is most likely the case that the strategies that helped MBEs survive the Great Recession will not be the strategies that help them grow in the coming expansion. During a downturn, not only do credit and sales dry up, everything seems to slow down. Consumers spend less and save more. Corporations put projects that had been previously approved on hold. Payment terms seem to get extended. Cash becomes even more valuable as a negotiating tool. Workers who remain on the job work longer hours and harder trying to fill in the gaps left by workers who were let go. In this environment, all firms, big and small, react by conserving cash, reducing inventories, postponing investments and generally just trying to survive. These survival strategies are necessary and appropriate, but, even when implemented, they were not sufficient to keep every business in business. The Great
Recession contributed to a significant increase in business bankruptcy. Business bankruptcy increased from 25, 900 Dr. Fred McKinney in 2007 to 58,700 at the peak of the Great Recession in 2009 and declined slightly to 58,300 in 2010. The number of bankruptcies will most likely remain higher than the pre-Great Recession level for at least a couple of more years. The silver lining in this cloud is that surviving companies can expand by identifying the customers of those who did not or will not make it. Surviving companies both large and small are looking to expand their markets by acquiring weaker companies and those that are destined for closure. But this is not the only change that surviving companies should be considering in this nascent recovery. MBEs also need to look at building capacity. This obviously has risks associated with it because MBEs are doing this largely in anticipation of future demand. I recommend that calculated risks to grow capacity are appropriate when supported with hard research about future market opportunities. MBEs need to look very carefully at local, national and global market conditions in order to determine where they should be fishing for customers. Not all regions of the global economy were hit equally, nor will all regions rebound at the same time. MBEs need to know where the growth is taking place by region and industry. For instance, during a recession, consumers cut back on household durables and on the purchase of cars. As we come out of recession, consumers will be replacing cars, refrigerators, microwaves, TVs and other durable good purchases that were postponed during the crisis and as a result MBEs need to target these areas of expected growth. It is also most likely that where the global economy is and is going will not be the same as the preGreat Recession economy. While the Great Reces-
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Fred McKinney, Ph.D. President and CEO Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Briefs USHCC Summit Hosted Procurement Matchmaking Event
he United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) hosted the 21st Annual Legislative Summit on March 28th through 30th, 2011 at the W Washington Hotel, 515 15th Street in Washington D.C.. The Legislative Summit was the leading forum representing the interests and the agenda of the fast growing Hispanic business community. For the first time in its 21-year history, the Legislative Summit included a busi- Javier Palomarez, ness matchmaking session, emphasizing procurement USHCC President opportunities with federal agencies. and CEO. “The USHCC is focused on bringing together members of Congress, government leaders, influential Hispanic entrepreneurs and corporate America to network and develop new business opportunities,” said Javier Palomarez, USHCC President and CEO. “We are introducing our matchmaking event which will give our members access to government agencies in order to explore opportunities, forge relationships and ultimately be awarded contracts.” The 21st Annual Legislative Summit also included industry roundtables that focused on education and the American workforce, healthcare and insurance, technology, small business and environmental stewardship. Participants heard from political leaders and visited with key legislators and policy makers.
US Chamber Congratulates 2011 Blue Ribbon Small Business Award Winners
he U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently announced 75 Blue Ribbon Small Business Award® winners, recognizing their critical role in job creation and economic growth. The award honors their strong commitment to their employees, customers, and community. “The recipients of this year’s Blue Ribbon Small Thomas J. Donohue, Business Award are on the forefront of our economU.S. Chamber president ic recovery,” said Thomas J. Donohue, U.S. Chamber president and CEO. “These small businesses are our and CEO. nation’s job creators, and this award recognizes their significant contributions to our economy.” The Blue Ribbon Small Business Award, sponsored by Sam’s Club®, honors businesses that demonstrate excellent business practices in several areas, including strategy, employee development, community involvement, and customer service. “Our award winners are committed to putting our nation back to work. Each has made important contributions to their employees and communities, and the Chamber is proud to recognize their achievements,” said Donohue. This year’s 75 Blue Ribbon winners were selected from a record number of nationwide applicants and will be honored at America’s Small Business Summit 2011, May 23–25, in Washington, D.C. On March 14, seven of the Blue Ribbon businesses were announced as award finalists, and one will be named the DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year during America’s Small Business Summit. The winner will be presented with a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Attorney General Kilmartin Warns Small Businesses of “Phishing” Scams
Kilmartin Warns, Attorney General, Rhode Island
ost consumers are clued in to phishing attempts sent to their personal email accounts. Computer users have learned to disregard messages that say they’re from their bank or credit card company that ask for personal information or tell users to click on a link. “Phishing” is an attempt to acquire personal information such as your name, your social security number, your bank account information or other personal identifying information by sending an email falsely claiming to be a legitimate entity in an attempt to scam you into surrendering private information. The concept of phishing has expanded to include “Vishing”- voice over IP (VOIP) and “Smishing”- short message service- text message phishing attempts over your cell phone. “These days con artists have new ‘phish’ to fry. Often using publicly available information about small businesses – including non-profits and government offices – they craft messages tailor-made to sound legit,” said Attorney General Kilmartin. “But when a business recipient clicks on a link in what appears to be a familiar sender, fraudsters install malicious software that ransacks computer files in search of corporate account information. Once the account is compromised, the crooks can issue counterfeit checks, wire money to partners in crime, and drain a company’s assets.” Kilmartin also reminds small businesses to correctly and safely dispose of all documents that may contain private information about the business, employees, or clients. “Shredding is the best way to ensure identity thieves don’t ransack your trash to ruin the lives of your employees and customers,” he added.
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Dominion Surpasses $300 Million in buying from Diverse Suppliers
Landrieu: Closing the Wealth Gap for Minority Entrepreneurs Should Be A Top Priority
Ed Baine, Vice President, Shared Services
ominion reported recently that it purchased more than $300 million in goods and services from diverse suppliers in 2010, a 31 percent increase over the previous year. “The significant increase in spending with diverse suppliers is a concrete example of our commitment to bolster the economic well-being of the communities we serve,” said Ed Baine, vice president, Shared Services. “We focus on providing opportunities to diverse suppliers because it makes good business sense for our company, our customers, and our communities.” Dominion reported that spending with diverse suppliers increased from $239 million in 2009 to $312 million in 2010. Dominion is committed to identifying potential diverse suppliers through maintaining active memberships with organizations, including the Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council, the Metropolitan Business League, the Women Presidents’ Educational Organization, the Virginia Department of Minority Business Enterprise and various local Chambers of Commerce and other advocacy organizations. “Our partnerships with diverse suppliers translate into economic growth and increased employment opportunities in the communities we serve,” Baine said. Products and services provided range from equipment and hardware to construction services and environmental consulting. Diverse suppliers are companies certified as owned by minorities, women and service-disabled veterans and by those operating in a Historically Under-Utilized Business (HUB) zone.
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
enator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, recently held a hearing to discuss the challenges facing minority-owned businesses trying to get venture and other forms of capital funding, and the role entrepreneurial training can play in helping these firms survive and flourish. In addition to minority access to capital, Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., the hearing focused on the important role that Senator government contracting can play in enabling small businesses to grow and expand. Finally, the hearing highlighted the wealth disparities in this country and ways the Committee and the Small Business Administration (SBA) can work to close these gaps and tighten these disparities through targeted business education and training. “Minority-owned business enterprises accounted for more than 50 percent of the 2 million new businesses over the last 10 years,” said Landrieu. “These businesses cross the entire industrial spectrum from financial services and health care to construction and transportation. We heard testimony today that the 8(a) contracting program has some of the strongest controls to prevent fraud and abuse. To promote minority entrepreneurship, we must protect this and other programs from the damaging effects of ineligible participation while also encouraging access to capital for minorities to start and grow their new businesses.” Since 2009 Landrieu has convened at least three meetings to address ways this Committee and the SBA, through its many programs, can address and provide a remedy to the issues affecting minority small businesses.
Government of Canada supports Celebrating the Roles of Multicultural Women event in Calgary
r. Alice Wong, Member of Parliament for Richmond and Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism, recently announced financial support for Celebrating the Roles of Multicultural Women event taking place at the Village Square in Calgary, Alberta. “By funding events like this one, we help showDr. Alice Wong, case the diversity of our country, and the many talMember of Parliament ents and skills of multicultural women,” said Wong on behalf of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. The Women’s Voice organization is receiving $1,350 CAD for the event under Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Inter-Action program. “The Government of Canada is delivering significant funds to people from various cultural backgrounds to celebrate different cultural and faith communities and help them to integrate with all Canadians,” added Wong. The event took place on March 13 from 1 pm to 4 pm at the Village Square in Calgary, alongside celebrations marking the centenary of International Women’s Day.
WIPP Partners With the Arizona Small Business Association
omen Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) announced its partnership with the Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA), an organization dedicated to promoting small businesses within Arizona. This partnership will allow both WIPP and ASBA to strengthen their ability to advocate for business owners in Arizona and across the nation. WIPP, a national nonpartisan public policy organiza- Donna Davis, tion with over half-a-million members, advocates in the CEO, Arizona Small legislative process for and on behalf of women in busi- Business Association ness. With a membership of almost 5,000 businesses, representing over 300,000 employees, ASBA is the second largest trade association in Arizona and the only statewide association dedicated to serving small businesses. “Our partnership with ASBA will help WIPP strengthen our presence throughout the state,” said Barbara Kasoff, President of WIPP. “ASBA offers fantastic education programs, as well as coaching, mentorship, and networking events. We are excited about the opportunities for federal advocacy that we’ll be able to create for business owners as a result of this collaboration.” “ASBA is making certain its members’ voices are heard and concerns are addressed,” said Donna Davis, CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association. “Our partnership with WIPP will go far in fostering our commitment to advocate for small business owners, so they can rebound and emerge stronger.” Women Impacting Public Policy is a national nonpartisan group with over half-a-million members. WIPP is the collective voice in Washington, D.C., for over 50 national women and business organizations. WIPP advocates for and on behalf of women in business in the legislative process of our nation, creating economic opportunities for members and building alliances with other business organizations. Visit www.wipp.org.
Kellogg Company Names Sterling As Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain
ellogg Company (NYSE: K) recently announced that Steven Sterling is joining the company as Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain, effective April 18. He will serve as a member of the company’s Executive Leadership Team and report to John Bryant, Kellogg Company President and CEO. Sterling spent the last 26 years with PepsiCo Inc. Most recently, he served as Group Vice President, Operations, Frito-Lay. Prior to his role with Frito-Lay, Sterling was Group Vice President, Operations for PepsiCo’s Latin America Division. Before joining PepsiCo, he was with Procter & Gamble Company. “Steve brings more than two decades of strong manufacturing experience with major consumer packaged goods companies to this critical role for Kellogg,” said Bryant. “His extensive knowledge in manufacturing is complemented by his strong capabilities in the areas of logistics and procurement.”
Akaka chairs hearing on the role of the SBA 8(a) program in enhancing economic development in Indian Country
Daniel K. Akaka, Senator, D-Hawaii
he Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, chaired by Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), held an oversight hearing on April 7 entitled “Promise Fulfilled: The Role of the SBA 8(a) Program in Enhancing Economic Development in Indian Country.” The hearing examined the connection between the federal policy on self-determination and trust responsibility to American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians, and the role of the Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) program in enhancing economic self-sufficiency for these groups. “We have found that when the federal government does business with Native 8(a) companies, we enhance our ability to meet our purchasing needs at best value while strengthening the ability of Native communities to be self-determining and selfsufficient,” said Chairman Daniel K. Akaka. “There have been great successes as well as some concerns with this program. I am encouraged to find that when SBA identified the problems, they put in new regulations to ensure that the program operates as it should.” The Committee heard from three panels of witnesses, including Joseph Jordan, Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development and Peter McClintock, Deputy Inspector General at the Small Business Administration; Jackie Johnson-Pata of the National Congress of American Indians and Julie Kitka of the Alaska Federation of Natives; and Chairman Chief Allan of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, Lance Morgan, Chairman of Native American Contractors Assn. and President/CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc., and Larry Hall, President of S&K Electronics, Inc. DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Women’s History Month Highlights President’s Resolve to Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act
n a recent weekly address, President Obama focused on Women’s History Month and paid homage to the accomplishments of former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in her effort to increase the role of women in government. Despite the important strides that have been made to create a more equal society, he emphasized his resolve to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act as an important step towards achieving egalitarian status for women. March is Women’s History Month, a time not only to celebrate the progress that women have made, but also the women throughout our history who have made that progress possible. One inspiring American who comes to mind is Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1961, the former First Lady was unhappy about the lack of women in government, so she marched up to President Kennedy and handed him a three-page list of women who were qualified for top posts in his administration. This led the President to select Mrs. Roosevelt as the head of a new commission to look at the status of women in America, and the unfairness they routinely faced in their lives. Though she passed away before the commission could finish its work, the report they released spurred action across the country. It helped galvanize a movement led by women that would help make our society a more equal place. Yet, there are also reminders of how much work remains to be done. Women are still more likely to live in poverty in the United States. In education, there are areas like math and engineering where women are vastly outnumbered by their male counterparts. This is especially troubling, since, in order to compete with nations around the world, these are the fields where we need to harness the talents of all our people. DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
SBA Proposes Increase in Size Standards
proposed rule published recently for comment in The Federal Register by the U.S. Small Business Administration would adjust the size definition of small businesses in professional, scientific and technical services and other services sectors. The proposed revisions would increase the revenue-based size definition businesses need to meet to qualify as small businesses. They apply to businesses in 36 industries and one sub-industry in professional, scientific and technical services, and one industry in other services sectors. As part of its ongoing comprehensive review of all size standards, the SBA evaluated 46 industries and three sub-industries in these sectors. Of these, the SBA proposes to increase size standards for 36 industries and one sub-industry and retain current standards for the remaining 10 industries and two sub-industries. SBA’s size standards vary from industry to industry to account for differences among them. In 2007, the SBA began the process of reviewing and updating size standards based on industry-specific data. Before this, the last overall review of size standards occurred more than 25 years ago. Under provisions in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, SBA will continue its comprehensive review of all size standards for the next several years. The proposed changes take into account the structural characteristics within individual industries, including average firm size, the degree of competition, and federal government contracting trends to ensure that size definitions reflect current economic conditions within those industries.
Temporary foreign workers can apply for permanent residence in Alberta
ffective immediately, skilled temporary foreign workers certified in Alberta’s optional trades can apply directly to the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program for permanent residency instead of having to apply with their employers. “We need skilled workers living in Alberta permanently,” said Thomas Lukaszuk, Minister of Employment and Immigration. “We have to make sure we are ready for the coming labour shortages as Thomas Lukaszuk, economies around the world are competing for Minister of Employment and the same skills and the same people. This change Immigration will allow Alberta to nominate the most qualified and experienced trades people working in occupations that are needed in Alberta.” The federal government limits the number of people Alberta can nominate for permanent residence. In 2011, Alberta is allowed to nominate 5,000 people. With limited numbers, Alberta’s focus will be on nominating people who currently work in permanent jobs, those who have job offers, and those with the skills and qualifications in occupations that are in demand in Alberta. There are currently 50 designated trades in Alberta. Of these, 31 are in the optional trades (including occupations like roofer, tile setter, concrete finisher and cabinet maker). Nineteen occupations fall under compulsory trades (including occupations like welder, ironworker, gasfitter and plumber). For more information on designated trades and the certification process for each occupation visit www.tradesecrets.alberta.ca.
Focus on Women
USPAACC Building A Bridge To Asia One Relationship At A Time
A Stranger in a Strange Land? Not With the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber Of Commerce - by Helene Saunders
wenty-five years ago, Susan Au Allen founded the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce. She saw a need for Asian American businesses to be able to lift the veil on the secret of corporate contracting, and wanted to help open doors of opportunity to Asian American owned firms. “For many firms, even today, minority means African American, maybe Hispanic,” Allen says, “but we have 1.5 million Asian American owned businesses, 50,000 B2B businesses. We are 15% of the population and the fastest growing minority group in America.” Changing the mindset has been a challenge, but as USPAACC celebrates its 25th year, Allen can point to a number of successes. She devoted herself to operations as the CEO and National President 10 years ago, and the practices USPAACC has developed have been emulated by other corporations and even the federal government. This includes the means for opening doors to Asia, matching businesses with partners here and abroad, and caring for relationships after they have been established.
Laying the Foundations
Allen began with the idea that there were vast opportunities in the U.S. procurement market with Fortune 1000 companies and government entities at all levels. The issue was that many Asian American business owners didn’t know about the potential or how to connect to the right people to get their foot in the door. Conversely, firms that were interested in Asian DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Susan Au Allen National President & CEO, USPAACC partnerships and the Asian market didn’t know how to network in the Asian American community or build relationships that could take them to Asia for business. USPAACC began laying the foundations for “mutually beneficial” opportunities. The first step was information sharing so Asian American businesses could gain an awareness of where they might be able to build business relationships. From there, Allen worked on building the business case for coporations to team up with Asian American companies for joint ventures and procurement. “Some 70 percent of Asian Americans in this country were either born here or are the sons and daughters of immigrants. We speak both languages, we understand the culture, and we still have economic, social, and political ties in Asia,” she says. “We travel back. We are the people who will be the good14
will ambassadors for the American businesses and talent who want to go and take advantage of the increasingly large consumer base in Asia.” Allen notes that in both the U.S. and Asia, people prefer to do business with people they know and who fit in with their culture. Partnerships with Asian American business owners can help break down this “people we know, people like us” wall abroad for corporations, while also providing valuable opportunities for sales and procurement partnerships for Asian American companies. It’s a winning proposition for both sides, creating a balanced platform for ongoing success.
Stepping Onto the Bridge
The first step onto the bridge to Asia starts with engaging with the U.S. Pan Asian Chamber of Commerce. There are chapters throughout the country, and the organization is known for the high quality of its events, participants, and conferences. Attending, participating, and building relationships is where it all begins. At the Southwest Chapter’s 9th Annual Asian Business Expo, Allen recalls being approached by a participant who said, “I want to go to China, but what do I do? I don’t speak their language.” As a reply, she pointed across the table to the Northeast Regional Chapter President, who manages U.S. China Partners and specializes in bringing American businesses into China and vice versa. “We have the connections,” Allen notes, “and we pride ourselves on being the gowww.diversityplus.com
Six years ago Allen and her Chamber looked at the handwriting on the wall in terms of Asian economic development and began to organize regular annual trade missions to China, Taiwan, and India. “What we are trying to do is to sell, promote, and market American products and services in Asia,” she states, encouraging firms to come along and check out the markets for themselves. One advantage of doing trade missions with USPAACC is the ability to leverage the group’s knowledge about second tier and lesser known market zones. “We don’t have to be in Shanghai,” says Allen, noting that her group specializes in finding business opportunities outside the main hubs where costs are cheaper and locals are more interested in making new deals. The group also reaches out to form in-country partnerships with large American corporations already doing business in developing parts of Asia, pointing out partnership opportunities with Asian American firms who may be able to deliver value on both sides of the Pacific. It also provides a win for firms looking for value in Asia and enhanced diversity spending that legitimatley counts for them www.diversityplus.com
in America. The potential for connections on the trade missions is broad, and Allen has many success stories. She references Charles Chang’s Top Line Products in New Jersey, an $80 million company that has earned supplier relationships with Avon, Max Factor, and Estee Lauder. MSL Express now ships heavy equipment and other products around the world thanks to relationships owner Chester Tchong developed through USPAACC with PepsiCo. The 2010 trade mission attendees met with the $6 billion HISENSE firm to market IT and service partnerships, while CMIS out of Illinois on the tour met with GE Energy and HP in China to learn more about operational partnership opportunities.
Taking the Next Steps
“Companies can make all the products they want, but they need technology, they need to know how, they need innovation and new innovative ideas,” says Allen. Her organization keeps formal and informal tabs on the outcomes of trade missions, knowing that sometimes building partnerships can be a lengthy process. Through private connections, USPAACC often help facilitate relationships to
fruition, smoothing over some of the cultural misunderstandings or perhaps easing a transition to a second tier supplier relationship. The group is also consistently looking to the future. They will launch a Renaissance program for their largest and most successful Asian American companies who are interested and willing to guide the new generation. The program will pair firms in the $25 to $80 million range with emerging firms looking to take things to the next level. It is accompanied by USPAACC e-portal, a dynamic searchable tool for corporations who want to identify member companies in particular industry codes for business partnerships. In expanding the Chamber, Allen bemoans the lack of time to pursue every opportunity and the continuing challenge in building equal partnerships for her Asian American members. “Work with us,” she asks, “We are nimble, we are flexible, we are young, we want to be able to serve, and we want to prove that we are worthy. Don’t treat us as a threat. We are one of you, we are American.” She sees her group as one that can be the instrument to bring American businesses to Asia and help create jobs, innovation, and prosperity in America.
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Focus on Women
to place for small and medium-sized businesses looking for an efficient and economical way to go to Asia.” One unique program offered is pre-scheduled one-on-one business matchmaking. Started in 1998, the program works to match minority firms with suppliers, potential business partners, and joint venture companies, as well as procurement people in major corporations. Focused and targeted, it has been such a successful program that the U.S. Department of Commerce, Small Business Administration, and other economic development agencies around the country now do the same thing. Even American Express’ OPEN took this page from them. Allen admits that interpreters are necessary at times, but insists that it’s no challenge to get bilingual interpreters for business deals.
Assessing the Risks of
Building Capacity - by Morris Bocian
n 2009, before any semblance of an economic recovery, a potential client viewed this period of uncertainty as a once in a lifetime opportunity. He asked me to help increase its business’ capacity. At the time, the entrepreneur’s business had gross revenues of $1.5 to $2 million. He understood fortunes are made (and lost) in periods of great uncertainty and wanted to participate when an economic recovery occurs. The entrepreneur was uncertain as to how to approach the dilemma, especially since he also was risk adverse. Based on his initial comments I drilled down; I wanted to understand the entrepreneur’s vision of his industry and how he wants his company to perform relative to his industry. Do you want your company’s growth be in sync with the industry or do you want growth to exceed the industry trends? He came to the realization that we needed to develop a plan as to how the company is going from its current situation to its targeted goals within the timeline he specified. Further, it needs to be accomplished with the entrepreneur being comfortable with the underlying assumptions and risks being taken. During the process of developing the strategic plan, I asked the entrepreneur some very difficult questions; and many times he couldn’t answer many of the questions with any degree of certainty. It became apparent to the entrepreneur that flexibility was key towards building the business, while conserving assets, so that he would be in position to exploit market changes
when industry trends and the economy become more predictable. We assessed the resource he had available to him as well as what he might need in order to achieve his goals. We went through a series of scenarios and several outcomes made the entrepreneur feel very uncomfortable. He understood how important flexibility was to his outcomes, and how lack of flexibility hurt his competition.
It became apparent that the entrepreneur’s company lacked the human capital to build the company that he now envisions. In some cases human capital was an impediment to growth. Further, the way the company was compensating its salespeople reinforced a behavior that was inconsistent with growth. To compound matters, he behaved like many entrepreneurs, “working in his business, not on his business.” The entrepre-
neur needed to let go and allow his employees to make decisions, initially smaller decisions, then increasingly more difficult. He eventually came to the realization that if he did not have confidence in certain people he would have to let them go. When it was broached initially, he immediately (and loudly) rejected that suggestion. I smiled and asked him, do you feel you are to blame? Have you given your employees the opportunities to prove themselves, or to grow? Begrudgingly he admitted he never gave his employees the tools to grow professionally. He recognized that he needed to be trained on how to let go. He also realized his employees needed to be trained on a wide array of subjects. Many of his people were mentored and re-educated to enable the company to grow. Compensation was adjusted and people were rewarded based on outcomes, not for “showing up to work.”
The Physical Plant
The entrepreneur was able to recognize the downside of owning additional capacity versus outsourcing. The analysis showed if he owned the capacity and overestimated sales by 10 percent it would strain the business’ financial position; he could no longer draw his usual compensation. By maintaining flexibility and expanding the products being sold (sourced from several new vendors) the entrepreneur’s business continues to grow. Sales have increased significantly, profitability has increased, the company is accomplishing more with better trained employees and the company continues to build its balance sheet. And best of all, the entrepreneur feels much more comfortable with the risk.
Morris Bocian is CEO of Creative Business Planning Inc., an established business and strategic consulting company. His email is email@example.com DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
SUMMIT & SALUTE THE OPPORTUNITY MARCH 22-24, 2011 | WASHINGTON, DC
2011 PRESENTING SPONSORs
March 22-24, 2011 Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center
THE SUMMIT & SALUTE OFFERS EXCELLENT LEARNING AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES IN A FRIENDLY, UNRUSHED ENVIRONMENT. s A keynote speech on Navigating and Profiting in a World of Changing Business Models by Alice Schroeder, Bloomberg News Columnist and Author of The Snowball: Warren Buffet and the Business of Life.
s WBENC’s 2011 Salute to Women’s Business Enterprise Stars Awards Dinner, as well as a tribute to America’s Top Corporations for Women’s Business Enterprises for 2010. s Sessions focused on topics of most importance to you, including best practices panels and informative sessions on Joint Venture management and working as a Tier II vendor to build capacity. A NEW ADDITION TO THE SUMMIT IS WBENC’S MULTI-TIER DIALOGUE & OPPORTUNITY CONNECTION.
Tribute To Education Patron
PARTICIPATING CORPORATE MEMBERS WILL BE AVAILABLE IN TWO SIMULTANEOUS SESSIONS: s
A meet and greet session designed for Certified Women Business Enterprises to introduce their companies and products and/or services to participating Corporate Members.
An opportunity for Certified Women Business Enterprises to visit tables hosted by Corporate Members and their prime suppliers/key business partners for short meetings to explore 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level sourcing opportunities and to learn how to be considered for these opportunities.
* Appointments for meetings with Corporate Members and their prime suppliers will be offered based on the corporation’s interest. Registration for the Summit & Salute must be received by January 31, 2011 in order to be eligible and there are a limited number of appointment slots available…...so make sure you register early!
Discover Opportunities. certification opportunities resources recognition FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE GO TO WWW.WBENC.ORG/SUMMIT-SALUTE
Passion and Commitment Support Office Depot From Within
Shari Francis Uses Spirit and Creativity to Keep Office Depot as a Diversity Leader. - by Betty Armstrong
ffice Depot has repeatedly been recognized by this magazine and other major diversity groups for its efforts in the diversity space. Their service and commitment to historically under-utilized businesses (HUB) sets them apart from their competition and allows them to be a benchmark for others. All of this external recognition stems from a strong inner core commitment to suppliers. One key member of this core is Shari Francis, Manager for Supply Chain Diversity and a two-time honoree as both a DiversityPlus Champion of Diversity and a Woman of Power. Francis is a long-time employee of Office Depot who transitioned into the supplier diversity space after a stint with the company’s merchandizing department. It was a strong fit for her skill set, and has helped her continue and build on the legacy of supplier support at Office Depot.
Laying the Foundations for Opportunity Francis’ main responsibilities lie with establishing the foundations for certified HUB-owned companies to participate in Office Depot’s direct repurchasing and reselling relationships. “Good business decisions come from a diversity of opinion, and that’s what supplier diversity is. We are trying to engage all and not discount any supplier,.” Francis said, adding, “What I’m here to do is to try and give these suppliers a leg up to get in the door and DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Shari Francis, Manager, Supply Chain Diversity get their products seen by the right people.” According to Francis, the biggest challenge in the diversity space is getting people to consider new relationships and options. To help break through behavioral norms and get diverse suppliers the opportunities they need, Office Depot has focused on mentorship, relationship building, and building new forums for exposing HUB companies to vendors.
Building a Showcase For Diverse Vendors One of the latest forums for HUB firms from Office Depot is the HUB catalogue, now in its second year. The catalogue is unique in the industry in 18
that it focuses solely on the product offerings of HUB suppliers available nationally to Office Depot’s clients and partners, carrying everything from ergonomic chairs to paper clips. The catalogue also took a different approach by separating offerings by vendor so that buyers could learn the story about the vendor and their certifications, so if a certain kind of spend is needed the right firm can quickly be identified. Francis is particularly proud of the HUB catalogue and what it represents. “Certified companies and their products have a vehicle in which they can be advertised and marketed to our end users - not just our customers, but other players in the industry,” she states. The showcase of the vast array of products available from diverse suppliers helps Office Depot’s client’s build their own diversity spend levels while giving featured suppliers valuable national exposure at a level they might not have ever been able to achieve independently. Feedback on the catalogue has been positive on both sides of the equation. Clients have been pleased at the way Office Depot has responded to their demand for more diverse supply sources, and vendors have reported increased sales after the first catalogue was released. Unique, innovative product offerings are being seen and heavily rewarded with sales. HUBs, in fact, equalled $400 million worth of sales for Office Depot in 2009. www.diversityplus.com
Emily McHugh, CEO of Casauri, Inc., a specialty bag maker, says Office Depot has given them valuable exposure and the opportunity to showcase their bags at various venues including WBENC and Office Depot’s HUB Catalog.
The feedback from the catalogue hasn’t been the only place the Office Depot team has been recognized for their success. Francis and other members of the team have won national diversity awards, and the firm is considered to be a benchmark for the industry. McHugh notes that Francis has been a critical force in ensuring suppliers understand Office Depot’s needs. “Shari is head and shoulders above many supplier diversity managers and she is accessible, you can actually get her on the phone. She is dedicated to working with her small business vendors and coming up with creative ways to provide opportunities. She also takes the time to help put you in the right direction,” says McHugh. However, Francis notes that the group is more pleased with the way that firms that have partnered with Office Depot have achieved their own successes. The company takes a long-term partnership approach, often cultivating relationships for years to help small and diverse firms grow to the point where they can do business with the firm. “Just because you are not ready now, doesn’t mean you won’t be ready in the future,” states Francis. One company that has been a standout success from Office Depot’s mentor-protégé approach to their programs has been Kleen Slate, founded by Julia Rhodes. Office Depot was the first to bring the firm’s products to the market, starting with only two products. This was in keeping with Office Depot’s “start small” ideal, which helps firms beginning a relationship with Office Depot by helping them place one or two products and grow to success gradually. Even for firms that start nationally, the relationship begins www.diversityplus.com
with a small order to test the waters and ensure a good fit for success. Kleen Slate now has multiple SKU’s with Office Depot and is considered one of the more innovative companies in the field. They have also taken the mentor-protégé to heart and mentor other women-owned business in the industry looking to grow. “They’re an example of where we can see the fruits of our development efforts,” said Francis, adding she always hopes for more HUB owners that are as open to mentorship, partnership, and development as the team at Kleen Slate.
Making Way for the Future
In looking toward the future, Francis notes that the company isn’t looking to settle for what is, but wants to raise the bar. They push HUB partners to innovate, consider cost and sustainability, and work to improve their own internal system. It helps the firm continue to lead in the diversity space. Office Depot challenges partnering firms to innovate their industry so the company can continue to present their end users with fabulous products that answer needs that they have. “Anyone can bring us a piece of paper, but what’s so special about that paper?” Francis asks. “We are a complex and international firm, and vendors need to have done their homework.” The 19
emphasis on an integrated and innovative approach does take time, but it also encourages vendors to view the relationship as a partnership with mutual investment in ongoing success. Cost and sustainability are other key issues for partnerships. Commodity items are very tied up in the cost issue, though HUBs that bring something creative to the table have more of a chance to set their price, within reason. On the sustainability front, the Office Depot approach focuses on developing business models with firms that help them see beyond one day’s presentation or contract to what tomorrow may bring. The company feels this helps HUBs build a plan for their firms so that they can manage bandwidth, financing, environmental issues, and any other issue no matter what happens. The growth manages to continue or at the very least, hold the line - even in these tough economic times. Francis’ love and passion for the work is a part of the continued strength right along with Office Depot’s own strong systems, which help make diversity a regular part of normal business operations throughout the firm. Whatever the future may hold for the business, this strong inner core will keep diversity at Office Depot on the leading edge.
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Trends & Issues
Integrating MBEs in the
Global Supply - by Shaniqua Thomas
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
ntegrating themselves into the global supply chain is a key goal for many minority and women owned businesses. As global competition for supplier contracts increases, resources and talent are becoming scarcer. Firms that can align themselves with major supply and procurement trends have increased access to key markets, more capital for ongoing development, and a better chance of long-term survival. Yet despite the importance of supply chain issues, not all U.S.-based minority businesses seem to understand the criticality of supply chain management. They are caught by surprise by the extreme cost-focus of global competitors accustomed to fighting for advantage on fractions of pennies. To be integrated and able competitors, U.S. MBEs need to face the top domestic supply chain concerns, address top worldwide challenges, prepare properly for the rigors of global competition, and take advantage of opportunity spaces created by U.S. legislation.
is a Plan B or a business sustainable model in place.
Preparing to Compete Globally
Recognizing the limits to operating within the U.S. markets alone, many MBEs are hungry to go global. Unfortunately, some firms headed for the international markets haven’t mastered the fundamentals in the U.S. supply chain. This can make it harder to take domestic relationships overseas, show a track record of success when wooing new clients, and outperform in-country service and product providers. Still, the hunger to compete globally is a good thing, especially given that only about five percent of the global population lives in the U.S. and the fastest-growing markets are overseas. Chinese and Indian companies are happy to talk with American MBEs who are bringing innovation and smart solutions to the table. Facing their own hurdles to break into the U.S. markets, they can appreciate the commitment it takes to do business overseas, and give respect to firms who can show the scale, capacity, and efficiency to be global contenders. Minority firms don’t have to win that respect after costly rounds of trial and error. Specially designed training courses for minority business leaders looking to improve their skills and execution are available. One of the
Top Supply Chain Concerns
For domestic businesses, the global markets are something of a concern. Prices refuse to remain stable for core goods and energy resources, and consolidation and outsourcing within supply chains limit opportunities for minority businesses to partner with the major multi-nationals. While supplier diversity programs have increased in www.diversityplus.com
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Trends & Issues
number and robustness, the number of opportunities that firms offer for suppliers looking for partnerships is decreasing as companies respond to pricing pressures by cultivating longer-term relationships with fewer clients. This consolidation isn’t just a mainly U.S. concern for MBEs. European and Asian markets are seeing the same domestic price instability in response to global unrest and inflationary pressures caused by stimulus and government bailout programs. As corporations have embraced a more global network of suppliers, the stability of lean, just-in time supply programs is being called into question by price fluctuations and spots of international unrest that can disrupt smooth operations. Suppliers of all sizes and backgrounds are scrambling to keep up, keep competitive, and keep cultivating new partners. The extreme fear factor about supply chain disruption is present in partner firms of all sizes. Companies don’t want to bear the costs of inventory storage if it can be avoided, but the risk of hiccups in their supply chain keeps them up at night. Minority firms have to demonstrate soundness and reliability in these markets to make partners comfortable that even if materials prices shift or normal transport paths are blocked, there
Trends & Issues
leading programs is the Tuck/MDBA partnership, which provides targeted programming such as the â€œBuilding a High Performing Businessâ€? sessions for minority business owners who do not have an MBA. This program - and others like it at Kellogg and Darden seeks to provide minority businesses with step by step guides to surviving and thriving on the global stage as suppliers and strategic partners.
Worldwide Challenges to Face
Even with high-quality training on global supply chain tactics, minority firms have to work around the challenges of the global marketplace. Newly emerging middle class populations in the developing world are clamoring for more and more products of a bewildering variety. Supplying that demand is critical for global markets to continue to thrive, and minority firms have the products being demanded if right paths to market can be found. Finding those paths is a challenge. Slowing worldwide demand from more developed nations affects MBEs as there are more developed MBE programs in northern, mature economies than southern, emerging economies. In an absence of programming and with generally less robustly developed capital support frameworks, emerging markets require MBEs to be better funded as they come to the market. This helps MBEs weather the costs of storing inventory until supply partDiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
nerships can be worked out, adapt to local norms in international settings, and find their place in the local supply chain systems.
Within all these challenges and global market concerns, there are still opportunity spaces. Minority firms that have studied global supply chain needs through the Tuck school and that keep abreast of new legislative developments can find their place among the leading global Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers. One space where U.S. MBEs have an advantage in the global supply chain centers around value migration. Value migration happens when investments and contracts shift from outmoded business models to business designs that are better able to
satisfy customersâ€™ priorities. Due to the higher levels of technological sophistication in many U.S. markets, leading edge business practices, and a lack of legacy system encumbrances when entering emerging markets, U.S.-based MBEs can pull value toward their offerings by being more efficient, ethical, and service-oriented than local competitors. There are also some opportunities being created by new U.S. regulations about the traceability of goods and services. Coupled with the National Export Initiative, programs such as the new FDA traceability system, regulations on pharmaceutical sourcing, and the measures contained in the National Defense Authorization Act for 2011 give domestic MBEs with transparent sourcing system advantages in the global supply chain. Able to provide the quality and origin of their goods, U.S. minority businesses can gain a competitive edge over cheaper but less transparent suppliers. Being active players in the global supply chain is a forward-looking goal for many minority businesses. With the large markets outside of the U.S. opening up, minority firms want and need to participate to survive in the global economy. By focusing on the domestic supply chain challenges, addressing worldwide challenges and competition, preparing fully, and taking advantage of opportunity spaces, MBEs can find a place for themselves in international supply chains.
Trends & Issues
he future starts tomorrow, but many minority and women owned businesses are still working on getting up to speed with today. To have a chance at competing in the global marketplace, however, it’s not going to be enough for minority businesses to simply identify and emulate the best practices of leading organizations. Instead, minority businesses will need to become adept at identifying and responding to the demands of next practices.
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Best versus Next The first element needed to move beyond best practices to next practices is an understanding of the difference between the two. Best practices are a snapshot, but not necessarily of the present state. Instead, by the time best practices are recognized, studied, and presented as cutting edge, they’re already being left behind by current business norms. Next practices, in contrast, aren’t about what everyone else is doing 24
- by Paul Lachhu
well. They’re about redesigning the core elements of business functionality to embrace what’s coming down the pipe in the next generation of operations. With this mindset, next practices aim to transform the world by sweeping aside outdated systems of operation and bringing in new frameworks that are ready and able to handle the present reality as it unfolds. With this in mind, benchmarking and emulating best practices is www.diversityplus.com
deemed insufficient by next practice norms. It keeps minority businesses trapped in past practice, focused on what was working five minutes ago, and out of touch with emerging systems. To compete, minority businesses need to give up on the idea of keeping up and focus more on innovation, process development, and talent readiness.
ing to control the costs of getting the best talent. In terms of finding the right talent, next practices can remove bar-
riers and lower costs. Current best practices call for minority business to do face to face recruiting through career fairs, visiting top schools, or extensive local interviews. With next practices, remote testing and interviewing can allow minority firms to interact directly with top talent from any corner of the U.S. or around the world. Acceptance of remote testing and interviewing is growing world-wide. The cultural endorsement of the practice is partially driven by the flexible work policy technology has enabled and the freelance revolution. As the ability to work from home has turned into the ability to work from anywhere, many top talents are eschewing traditional best practice paths into the organizations they want in favor of more time and cost effective remote interviewing techniques. Permitting the best performers world-wide to work for U.S. businesses does up the ante in the competitive labor marketplace. Talent will have more choice about who they work for and what they do, with the experience at the firm and work-life balance rated as more important than compensation according to a MetLife survey. In this case, minority firms that can offer better experiences and opportunities to workers - even with small talent budgets - can pull in top workers.
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Next Practices and Talent Acquisition
Next practices have particularly important implications for minority businesses as they approach the issue of talent acquisition. By embracing next practices over best practices, MBEâ€™s can access some of the best talent from the best global schools to compete in local markets. Technology supporting next practices will also open up opportunities for minority businesses lookwww.diversityplus.com
Trends & Issues
Trends & Issues
Accepting and Fixing Skills Gaps One of the challenges with next practices the minority business owners face is the need to identify skills gaps, accept them as given, and work to fix them through training, re-skilling, or staff training. Next practices are more global in nature than current norms or best practices, and this can be a pain point for minority business owners who often find they don’t have a full skill set when preparing to move into the global arena. While some firms call for protectionist programs, special government programs, or blocks for firms from certain countries, more proactive MBE’s step up to the plate to transform their business models. As the 2009 Policy Report from the Billion Dollar Roundtable put it, under next practices “minority suppliers” will become “suppliers.” The group, made up of some of the largest supporters of diverse suppliers, feels strongly that the next stage of programming and inclusion needs to be driven by private industry rather than government programs, and that minority firms need to become more strategic partners in innovation, development, and response to global change. www.diversityplus.com
From a socio-cultural level, some have questioned whether next practice is
truly feasible. After all, it took nearly 50 years to establish the current MBE operating systems. How then can next practice be realized in anything approaching that timeline? One of the ways that next practice could break through in a much shorter timeframe has to do with the home of next practice initiatives. Next practice principles rely on individuals and seasoned practitioners looking at what’s working and asking “What could work more powerfully?” In this sense, the private, personal, and reflective nature of next practice can help it launch faster. Next practice isn’t waiting on new programming initiatives, relying on government bodies to be perfect agents of change, or hoping that global competitors aren’t leapfrogging best practices. From some perspectives, next practice is somewhat de-powering on an immediate global political level. The responsibility for innovation and development shifts from large governmental bodies and policy agencies to the private sector. The value of set targets for spend lessens, and the value of strategic partnerships rises. Another element of minority business response to next practice centers around the profit principle. American businesses emphasize private profit, while next practice at times implies that there is greater value in other systems, such as community based profits or non-profit works. The system that works best is not absolute; minority businesses have to think holistically about which frameworks will best serve them moving forward beyond this quarter and next. The future starts tomorrow, and those following next practice debates are going to be one step ahead of the rest. Keeping up with today’s best practices is no longer enough for most minority and women owned businesses. Instead, to compete and thrive in the next generation of work, minority businesses need to identify and respond to the next practice pressures and trends in their specific areas of operation.
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
...minority firms need to become more strategic partners in innovation, development, and response to global change. Not all minority businesses are ready - or interested - in so dramatically reorienting their businesses in the short run. However, reskilling (training workers in newly identified skill and competency areas) is a key part of next practice. Businesses will not be able to sit still, rely on talent hired only for “this job,” or expect to be able hide skill gaps behind protective programs. The barriers between vendors around the world are coming down with increasing speed, and an eyes-open, proactive approach to the new challenges is almost mandatory for minority firms who wish to survive under next practices.
Socio-Cultural Considerations of Next Practice
Trends & Issues
Putting The Seven Marketing Keys into Practice
- by Sherry Bloom
or minority businesses, it’s not enough to simply exist. The “Build it and they will come” campaign last worked successfully for Field of Dreams. In reality, no one will know that you’re there or what you can do for them without smart marketing. Fortunately, the principles of good marketing are not rocket science. They take discipline to apply, but they can be understood even if you don’t have a deep marketing background. Divided into seven “keys” they outline the key strategies firms need to spread the word and thrive. The seven marketing keys can also help you get started with your marketing efforts, leverage modern media channels, manage clients, and find the keys to your continued success as a minority firm.
The Basics of the Seven Keys
The seven keys of marketing, or more properly, “The Seven Keys To Marketing Genius” are one of six books by noted marketing expert Michael Daehn. His clients have included Walt Disney, Nordstrom stores, Monster.com, and Franklin Covey. Out of his work, he distilled his marketing knowledge into seven keys for a successful marketing campaign: l Find your advantage l Define your purpose DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
l l l l l
Create an image Implement promotions Build relationships Gain feedback Adjust to changes Not one of these keys is out of 28
reach for minority businesses, and all are principles you can work on even if you don’t have a deep marketing budget. More mindset driven, the keys can be helpful in getting minority business owners to think differently about the marketing approach you take. www.diversityplus.com
Getting Started With The Seven Keys The first requirement in the seven keys approach is to find your advantage. Essentially, you need to sit down and figure out your unique value proposition. What does your firm bring to the market that no one else does? How do you deliver for your clients in ways that others do not? Where do you excel? Once you know what differentiates your business in the marketplace, the next step is to define your purpose as a business. No eye-rolling and sarcastic “To make money, obviously” here -- this is more about your mission as a business entity than the point of opening a business in the first place. Think of “Your World, Delivered” (AT&T - communications), “Powered by Service” (Zappos - shoe sellers), or “Creating Your Ripple of Change in the World” (Academy of Coaching & NLP). It doesn’t have to be a public slogan, but it should embody the soul of your business endeavors. Your image as a minority business grows from your advantage and your purpose. Figuring out how to position yourself in the market is a lot easier if you understand who you are and what makes your business unique. From there, the next keys fall into place and you can take your message to the market.
Leveraging Technology & Media
As you approach the implementing promotions stage of the seven keys, you need to have a platform where you can take your message. While traditional media outlets such as television, newspaper, and radio advertising can still pull in valuable clients, leveraging new marketing channels on the web can bring in more bang for your marketing buck. The value of a web presence comes with being able to speak directly to your customers. An active website shows visitors not only what you do, but also how you approach the problem and your special strengths. A blog, Facebook account, or Twitter feed can also permit minority businesses to present www.diversityplus.com
For minority businesses, it’s not enough to simply exist. You have to zero in on what sets you apart in the marketplace, communicate that to your potential clients, and care for your ongoing relationships. a carefully moderated look into the company’s activities, new initiatives, and ongoing service relationships. Your website is an outstanding platform to display your social proof points as well as interact with your clients. In the current recession, potential clients are warier than ever about new partners. They are doing more research before pulling the trigger. Written testimonials from satisfied clients posted on your webpage and blog provide evidence that others have had wonderful experiences partnering with you. In tough economic times or frankly any time when it is necessary to win over skeptical clients, social proof in the form of testimonials is invaluable in raising client conversion rates.
ther side of the relationship) may indicate the change needed is to go your separate ways. This can be a very hard moment for minority businesses, many of which operate with a scarcity mindset, wrongly framing their current customer base as the only possible customers. This isn’t true, and by opting to not renew relationships that aren’t good fits due to profitability, mutual satisfaction, or a need to focus on core areas rather than meeting every need, you can deliver on your areas of strength to customers who will truly appreciate your services. These conversations can be challenging, but by running the numbers and being confident in your ability to win additional customers through your advantage and purpose, it is possible to manage out unrewarding customers in favor of more mutually beneficial relationships.
Exploring Alternative Keys
Once you have clients through the door, the next key is to keep them as loyal customers. Relationship building is an aspect of marketing your firm that can’t be overlooked. It is much less expensive to keep a current customer than to hunt for a new one in most industries, so the time spent on relationship building with clients helps ensure top of mind status and solid client retention. Responding to feedback and implementing changes as a result bolsters relationship building. Clients can see that you are a partner who is listening to their needs on an ongoing basis, and when you hear what clients need, it becomes that much easier to deliver the solutions they really want. At times, the feedback (from ei-
As your business becomes more comfortable with the framework of the seven keys, it is possible to start exploring alternative keys. The original seven keys were so successful that many other authors and consultants jumped in with minority business advice in a seven keys format. Some examples of areas where there are alternative seven key models include finance, HR, and managing strategic accounts. Some of the alternative seven keys claim to be for specific sub-groups. Women entrepreneurs are a popular target group, but the core philosophies remain the same. To succeed at any given area, a thoughtful and strategic approach is needed. For minority businesses, it’s not enough to simply exist. You have to zero in on what sets you apart in the marketplace, communicate that to your potential clients, and care for your ongoing relationships. Even if you are just beginning to focus on your marketing efforts, leveraging the seven keys approach to marketing you can tap into a system that helps you connect with and keep the customers you want.
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Managing Clients With the Keys
Trends & Issues
- by Karen White
Protecting Your Network from a Targeted Hacker Attack Unplug your router when you are done with work, or turn off non-essential network areas at night.
s businesses rely increasingly on technology platforms to streamline daily operations, client connections, and customer contact, your network takes on a starring role. Unfortunately, you’re not the only one who thinks your network is valuable. Hackers are also waiting for the chance to peruse your customer data, cancel your orders, or pick through your corporate intelligence. Protecting your network from a targeted hacker attack is a necessary part of doing business in the modern era. Minority firms, often cited as less technologically savvy, have a particularly vested interest in protecting their networks. To come to terms with the problem and mount a defense, it is important to understand the nature of hacking, see how other businesses have survived, and discover common protection measures to implement.
Understanding the Problem
Hacking is primarily the activity of young males with plenty of time on DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
their hands, though older hackers and veterans of the “sport” are also out there. Often thought of as malicious, many hackers are doing it for fun. Yes, you read that right. Taking down your network, disrupting your operations, and causing you no end of grief from a customer service standpoint is someone’s idea of fun. Depending on the nature of your business, you may also attract profitoriented hackers. Minority businesses in the financial services space, those who manage information systems, or any firm with a large customer database are popular targets. These hackers want access to customer data for identity fraud or credit scams, financial access information for later thefts, or corporate intelligence for resale.
How Hackers Get In
Hackers get into your network through open access points, by impersonating a trusted user, or through security gaps in your network architecture. The typical attack begins with a ping to your system and some exploratory 30
file tapping. Once a hacker is confident that he or she has unfettered access, a full breach will occur. As more businesses move to wireless hubs and remote work solutions, open access points are a growing problem. Hackers can look for public networks and help themselves to the hard drives of computers they find there. Impersonating trusted users is also easier through wireless systems, and many sharing systems are not exactly air tight with their architecture, either. Throw in human factors on password setting and security such as never logging out or taping passwords to laptop screens during business trips and it becomes clear that hackers can come in from many directions. Harmless public wifi connectivity is also another major gateway. As workers travels and carry more files on smartphones, their devices automatically seek out strong wifi signals. Hackers can put out strong signals and then intercept the data that flows through their signal, following up with
mimicking scripts to pretend their way onto authorized networks.
Assessing Your Vulnerabilities
Once you understand some of the paths that hackers can take into your systems, it’s time to assessing your vulnerabilities. This can be done with a few simple questions: l Do you have passwords for all of your network connection points that are changed regularly? l Do you have data strangers would want, such as financial records, customer data, or other sensitive documents? l Does your staff travel and make use of public networks? l Do you regularly share files and printers? l Do you have a firewall up and running? l Do you run any kind of anti-virus or suspicious activity monitoring software? l Do you have a network administrator whose job is to monitor netwww.diversityplus.com
There isn’t a fool-proof cure for hacking, but there are a number of ways for minority businesses to lower their risk profiles to hacker attacks. These methods revolve around setting access limits, regularly updating systems, and doing network monitoring. When it comes to setting access limits, one of the simplest yet most effective things that minority businesses can do is disconnect. Unplug your router when you are done with work, or turn off non-essential network areas at night. Hackers can’t surf a system that is powered off, and they also can’t find access on systems that are closed. Disable file and printer sharing when it’s not in use, and encourage road warriors to log off and power down when they are done using their computers on business trips. Updating systems is also critical. Many businesses never change their systems from the out-of-the-box passwords they came with, essentially opening the door for hackers. Alphanumeric passwords on all access systems that are consistently updating shut down hackers who may have a feeler in your system, and difficult systems that seem to have proactive management are a deterrent to casual hack jobs. Finally, network monitoring is an excellent prevention technique.
Explore possible holes, and look for spots of unusual activity. This can help stop hacks in progress and let administrators know immediately when systems have been cracked.
Finding survivors of hacker attacks in the business community isn’t a challenge, since the attacks have become “inevitable” for almost any business over the course of its lifetime. Many firms prefer not to talk about their situation unless customer data is compromised, preferring to handle things internally. However, in the past year, NASDAQ, Apple, PayPal, BlueCrossBlueShield, and other major firms all came forward with tales of hacker strikes. Fixing the problem for these companies (and thousands of smaller firms similarly attacked) centers on closing the gaps and reinforcing the system. For example, when Ceridian discovered its payroll servicing system had been hacked, it immediately reset user passwords and then beefed up internal firewalls, checkpoints, and encryption. Accounts that had been compromised were then monitored for suspicious activity. The depth of the problem isn’t without opportunity for solutionminded minority businesses. Sayers, a Chicago based MBE, operates a technology refresh and IT security systems business. The demand for the firms services has been growing, especially since it was named “Emerging Partner of the Year” by a major client, BlueCoat. Business operations increasingly rely on their technology, but your business doesn’t have to put out the welcome mat for hackers. By understanding the nature of hacking, learning common protection methods, and seeing that other businesses have survived, you can see some of the ways your own firm can improve its safety. Protecting your network from targeted hacker attacks is a necessary part of the modern business landscape, and one minority firms can’t afford to ignore. DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
work activity for hacking attacks? If the answers make you think twice about your security systems, be prepared to make changes.
As the Economy Recovers Housing Market Still Flat - by Joel Naroff
Sing along with me “Oh, the weather outside has been frightful and the impact on the economy not delightful. Since people had nowhere to go, job growth was slow, was slow, was slow.” Okay, maybe those were not the words to Let It Snow but in a nutshell, the lyrics describe the impact of the blizzards and ice storms on the labor market. Yet despite Mother Nature’s wrath, which nailed the east and northeast with almost unprecedented snow storms, most other indicators of economic activity were quite solid and that indicates the economy is ready to shift gears. DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
It still is all about jobs and the January employment report was really strange. On the one hand, there was a modest 50,000 new positions added by the private sector. The financially stressed state and local governments continue to reduce their workforces so the total gain was a minimal 36,000 new jobs. But the headline number doesn’t tell the whole story. This report was clearly a snow job. Two sectors, construction and messengers/ couriers, posted declines totaling 77,000. It’s tough to dig when the ground is snow covered and frozen, while riding a bike in snow-clogged cities was out of the question. Despite the terrible weather, the vehicles, computers and machinery and electronics industries added lots of workers. Retailers, facing renewed consumer interest, hired solidly while health care, wholesalers 32
and professional and business services all padded their payrolls. Essentially, if you exclude those few areas where conditions made it difficult to operate, job growth held up quite nicely. But while economists look at employment, real people watch the unemployment rate. The rate fell to 9.0 percent, the lowest since April 2009 and down from 9.8 percent just two months ago. Declining new claims for unemployment insurance make it clear that the rate should continue its downward trajectory. That will bolster consumer confidence and maybe households will start believing the recession actually is over. And once they come to that conclusion, consumer spending should pick up. There was other good news in January and early February that pointed to growth starting to accelerate. The Institute for Supply Management’s reading of both manufacturing and services jumped as the recovery broadened. New orders for just about everything are surging and backlogs are building. That bodes well for future production and hiring. As we know, no good news comes without a caveat. In this case, it is the rising cost of energy and its impact on household’s spendable income. Gasoline prices have risen thirty cents in three months and higher costs are on the horizon. It is possible that energy prices will increase so much that all the extra income generated by the reduction in Social Security taxes will be burned up by the added expenses. But this is not 2008 when gasoline first broke the $4.00 barrier. Then, we were already in recession. Now the economy is accelerating and while rising energy prices may slow the already too sluggish recovery, it is not likely to kill it. It is clear that the economy has issues. Not only are energy prices up but food costs are rising and interest rates are going up as well. But we seem to have turned the corner and, even if first quarter growth is restrained by bad weather, activity should pick up as we go through the spring and by summer, this expansion could be ready to roar. www.diversityplus.com
Focus, Determination, and Persistence Bring ASA Environmental Products Success Starting Small, ASA Has Grown With Dedication and Quality Commitment - by Debra Jenkins
eing named as a top supplier of the year, Anna Maria Schneider’s ASA Environmental Products has certainly proven that they have what it takes to succeed as a minority supplier. Yet when the firm was founded more than 20 years ago, it wasn’t always a sure thing. Schneider remembers early years of rice and beans, but laughingly says that she grew to love it. She and her husband carried a passion and dedication for the company that nursed it through the tough times to a place of relative stability. It didn’t happen overnight, but Schneider’s commitment to the firm ensured that it did happen. Today, the firm markets specialty fastenings for construction supply as it has from the start, but its main focus is on environmental products. Their specialization is in helping their clients reduce their industrial waste streams to cut costs, deliver higher quality, and protect the environment.
Beginning at the Door
One of ASA Environmental Product’s first corporate contracts literally got them started at the door. “I think the first sale that I made to Electric Boat was 144 doormats,” Schneider said, adding that income in their first year only totaled around $13,000. The firm is now one of ASA Environmental’s top clients, but it’s a testimony to the fact that many minority supplier relationships take many, many years to develop fully. Now, ASA products are automatically entered into the Electric Boat facility, and Schneider has nothing but praise for their procurement DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Anna Maria Schneider’s, ASA Environmental Products manager, Blair Decker. “Electric Boat has an incredible purchasing department with a couple of buyers who believed in us and believed in our products, and we have done very, very well,” she stated.
Not every relationship and every stage of the business has always gone smoothly for ASA Environmental Products. When asked about her biggest challenges, Schneider responds, “Money,” with the same weary sigh that marks the relationship of many small minority business owners. She and her husband have also faced down the difficulties of building relationships with firms who initially showed 34
no interest in doing business with the firm. When it came to financial matters, Schneider remembers that the first 11 years were very hard for the business. “Money is a very difficult thing to get when you start off from scratch. I think I started this company with $25,000 and when we needed the money to grow banks weren’t lending,” she recalled. Nevertheless, by focusing on providing value and keeping overhead low, ASA Environmental Products was able to make it through the lean years and into a place where they feel there is a light at the end of the tunnel. www.diversityplus.com
Building a Competitive Edge
“Our big concentration is always in finding products, demonstrating them to our customer base, and showing them how, if they change over to our products, we can save them money,” said Schneider. Being an environmental vendor has not been a free ride to success, nor has the company’s status as a WBE firm earned them any breaks in the industry. Instead, the company has relied on being able to demonstrate value to build their competitive edge and reputation. In some cases, it is an uphill battle to convert customers over to a new product, because they are so used to using older products, but by providing solutions that are cost-effective and environmentally responsible, ASA has been able to build up a loyal client base. Leonard Reed, Small Disadvantage Business Advocate at General Dynamics says ASA Environmental is dependable, local and reliable. “Their pricing is good, they are very competitive with other suppliers and able to handle a lot plus they are minority so it’s a win-win for us,” says Reed.
ASA Environmental Products has also earned an edge by being consistent, reliable, and innovative at controlling costs. Schneider notes that the firms have never really reinvented itself to maintain a solid cultural identity, but their path to the market has changed with time. She finds that they have been able to explore some new markets via the Internet, and have also made efforts to do GSA orders with the government. “We do all of our own marketing,” she said. “We do everything, we take it home, do it on weekends and just keep our overhead low so we are successful in getting products to our customer at fair market value.”
“They have a lot of unique requirements, they try to meet the customer needs as best they can and they come up with creative solutions that help us from an environmental standpoint and from a cost saving perspective,” - Ronald Swatt, Purchasing Manager, General Procurement, at Sikorsky.
Moving forward, Schneider is optimistic about the future of the company. The relationships the firm has built over the years provide solid support for future growth and development. The nimbleness of the firm also brings hope, which will help the company react more quickly to market trends and changes. The firm is also committed to strategically managing its growth. While there is competition from onestop suppliers in the space, Schneider expresses no interest in becoming
a huge company, preferring to be profitable and successful in a smaller space, maintaining a competitive edge through selling the firm, its services, and its expertise to their customers. For the long haul, ASA Environmental Products plans to continue to operate to the best of its abilities. “We have worked very hard ... in a global market, we are the perfect example of how small independent businesses can still exist and succeed and be a financial success,” Schneider said. The firm’s focus, determination, and perseverance have brought it to where it is now, and those qualities will be increasingly valued in the years ahead.
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Looking Toward the Future
They have not been a beneficiary of sustainability based funding. The trend in sustainable products and environmental care definitely supports their business model, but much of the available funding is for companies in need of loans. ASA has worked hard to be able to stand on their own feet now, thanks in large part to the company’s persistence in building relationships. The company has focused intensely on markets where they are comfortable and can bring value. “Perseverance is a wonderful word,” states Schneider. She recalls making 70, 80, even 150 calls to firms that they had identified as desirable partners, and references Sir Winston Churchill’s, “Never, never, never give up,” as a corporate and personal motto. One line won took six years of calling and contract negotiations to achieve.
Opportunities in the Healthcare Industry 1
Navigating the Healthcare Supply Chain - by Ravi Singh
s the world’s economic markets are changing, so are the businesses operating within those markets. So whether it’s a large scale manufacturing production line, or a hospital supply chain, the pressure is on. Before the world tumbled into a recession, most hospitals were thought to be operating efficiently if they could manage their costs well. However, today, research shows hospitals can exceed 35 percent of their operating budgets for materials management alone, with 20 percent of the hospital costs attributed to supply costs. The healthcare supply chain functions under one basic tenet: quality assurance, tracking and lot of integrity for a low price. This is to ensure that patients receive safe therapies and that any problems are tactfully contained and minimized. Therefore, healthcare companies take extra precautions to safeguard all equipment. One thing to note is that it becomes progressively more difficult to track quality assurance as products move down the healthcare supply chain. Distribution centers are mainly self-contained with a relatively small
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
labor force, hence very few people actually handle the products themselves. Everything is clearly labeled and packaged. In hospitals and clinics, this process takes on a complexity when it comes to the control environment. Hundreds of people handle the products, often misidentifying them because they have been taken out of their packaging. It is also important to keep in mind that healthcare supply chain and prices vary from country to country. Couple this with international trade and economic tangents and it becomes difficult for pharmaceutical and medical institutions to be certain that product integrity has been maintained along the whole supply chain.
MBEs – Enhancing the Supply Chain MBEs provide an extra competitive edge, which allows big businesses to expand and grow while reducing overhead costs through distribution. With MBEs being low cost suppliers, they can offer an opportunity for corporations to enhance performance, reduce costs and increase profits. MBEs have to get their hands dirty 36
by confronting the “fear factor” in today’s healthcare supply chain business, namely competition from overseas global markets. Entrepreneurs and managers face considerable risks of disruption of quality when importing products from MBEs in other countries. There could be delivery delays, supply shortages or bad services - and these anxieties can take on a large scale effect when related to product safety or contamination. It is precisely for this reason that domestic MBEs have found considerable favor with corporations. Now, with the risk of public safety becoming an issue, healthcare institutions favor delegating production to domestic MBEs because of the lower risk rate, lower importing costs and higher quality assurance. MBEs gain the upper hand by paying close attention to the concerns mentioned above and by considering the value proposition they offer to customers. By delivering more value to their customers and by managing the “fear factor” in an effective way, MBEs bring much needed relief to entrepreneurs and managers alike.
Opportunities in the Healthcare Industry 1 Measuring Value Enhanced value offered by a MBE can only be measured through consumer satisfaction. That is the most effective and telling way of knowing whether the MBE supplier is doing its job correctly or not. While the per unit cost offered by a domestic MBE may be higher than imported units, the domestic MBE has advantages that out-of-country MBEs do not provide, namely statistics about consumer tastes and preferences. Domestic MBEs also focus on how to increase effectiveness in the procurement cycle, either by either managing logistics or waste. A measure of the value that an MBE can provide can be seen in the supplier’s contract, where detailed analysis and care has been taken to tackle the potential buyer’s most important concerns and offering services to eradicate them for the lowest possible price, while maintaining the integrity of the product and service.
Big challenges for MWBEs in the supply chain Drastic times call for drastic measures, and that is why during turbulent times, companies strive to build closer relationships with their suppliers. If corporations are downsizing during tough economic times, imagine what happens to small chain suppliers? They’re badly hit, unless it’s during these times that MWBEs move towards building and maintaining close relationships with their parent corporations. This alliance is crucial if the MWBE in question wants to ensure a strong supply chain for the future. Top supply chain managers are quick to point out that communication and a strong understanding of the corporation’s supplying needs leads to success, even in the worst of times. The biggest challenge is maintaining these connections during rough times by strategizing, reviewing material availability, inventories, monitoring cash flows, transportation costs and computing financial health. It all boils down to how well a MWBE can communicate with the parent company, www.diversityplus.com
to ensure a steady flow of contracts throughout.
Best Supply Chain Practices to Adopt Some of the best practices to adopt as early as possible in the supply chain business are strategizing and getting up-close and personal with the corporation in question. The best MWBE suppliers know the intricacies of the business and use that to their advantage. They build these into their business practices, usually by having agreements with the parent company about a new innovation model, sharing top strategies about how to become more successful, looking and thinking outside the box and, most importantly, knowing how to procure more benefits. By changing how MWBEs do sourcing with them, they change the face of their business by moving from a cost model to cost sharing, which means that both the supplier and the corporation make reasonable profits. An open relationship is the best practice to implement because it ensures ongoing trust and success for the future.
Supply Chain Trends Demand Planning is crucial when it comes to larger sales and has a significant impact on new productions, management and planning techniques. Demand Planning is tied to an organization’s structure, and focusing consistently on resources that can have a huge impact on sales in the long run. Commitment is the key, with talent and all their energy being diverted to forecast strategies that will deliver. Globalization has become an integral part of supply chains, affecting the way they interact with business both at home and abroad. It is important to be flexible for this emerging business environment. Most notably, the areas of distribution, manufacturing and sourcing of materials have seen significant changes, especially in healthcare supply chains - where there is a large global supplier and consumer base. 37
Opportunities for MWBEs in a Global Supply Chain The only way any MWBE can make a strong impact is by getting right down to the nitty gritty. This means getting hands-on in the global supply chain for healthcare. With strong overseas competition, the pressure of needing to reduce costs and rising economic uncertainty, it becomes very important to have that edge over other fledgling MWBEs. Opportunities are certainly available for those who can grab them, by turning any seeming disadvantage into an advantage through correct strategizing, research and market analysis. Carving out a niche becomes important, as this helps to develop greater relationships with parent corporations, which in turn ensures that work keeps coming their way.
How to Avoid Supply Chain Disruptions Most high level supply chain managers will tell you that the key to avoiding supply chain disruptions is to be smart, act fast and be able to think on your feet. Entering into any business venture is a risk in itself - the best plan is to take calculated risks, in order to avoid disruptions. Success lies in the effective construction and implementation of risk management approaches. There are many ways to do this: focusing on increasing capacity, acquiring redundant suppliers, increasing responsiveness, increasing flexibility and doing all this by decentralizing reserves. That’s perhaps the smartest and lowest risk management approach available. DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Opportunities in the Healthcare Industry 2
Driving Change Through Innovation in
- by James Hsu
s with any other business sector, innovation is quintessential in healthcare industries. Rapid scientific advancements in the understanding of biological processes have fuelled radical changes in nanotechnology and genetics, as well as in other sectors. The pharmaceutical industry stands as a great example of the impact that breakthroughs have had in the invention of new products and processes. There are a great number of products available on the market today that were impossible to conceive 50 years ago.
Using Social Tools to Meet Healthcare Needs The main goal of those working in the healthcare industry is to improve the health of as many individuals as possible. Through combined efforts and consistent dedication, many healthcare corporations have tried to ensure that this trend continues well into the future, without passing on higher costs to the consumer. One of the key ways to do this is to make use of emerging social tools. This means getting right to the heart of the matter by involvDiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
ing the consumer - the person who is most affected by decisions relating to healthcare. Many large healthcare institutions have now developed ‘social responsibility committees’. These committees ensure that all matters related to patient care are approached with sensitivity, increased activity and greater transparency on the corporation’s part. These boards urge employees on all levels of the supply chain to exceed their obligations by ensuring safe and effective medications are issued to the highest standards. It all boils down to quality control and how well each organization can adhere to it. The pressure of providing the best care to patients urges corporations to innovate, giving them an added incentive for exploring other healthcare options. The focus lies on maximizing internal operations while making decisions that strictly adhere to ethical and social principals.
Innovation Processes Used to Meet Goals and Objectives For any healthcare or pharmaceutical corporation, the social responsibility it owes to the consumer becomes 38
a key factor. It is very important that the corporation uses techniques, devices, resources and strategies in such a way that the integrity of the product or the patient’s safety is not compromised. Successful healthcare companies will tell you that they focus their attention on four main areas: innovation, management, performance and ethics. Keeping the patient at the center of any business transaction is vitally important. Since they are the targeted audience, it’s crucial to be able to relate to them in a harmonious way. Innovation becomes a priority. Research and development are essential in areas of medicine that are most affecting the human population, such as in cancer and AIDS. In addition, an increased effort to improve patient education by working in conjunction with patient organizations is required. By employing people from all walks of life, diversity becomes essential as a multitude of new talent is found, developed and nurtured. This in turn helps the business grow through transference, as people with skills can be transferred to developing www.diversityplus.com
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Opportunities in the healthcare Industry 2 countries where there is more scope for development. Of course, with research bordering on controversy, it becomes important to be vigilant and keep in mind the ethical constraints of the society the corporation is functioning in. All of these, or a mixture of some of these, processes are required to meet businesses’ goals and objectives.
Today’s Value Proposition The rising cost of healthcare facilities is an area of concern for countries all over the world. The number of people seeking healthcare coverage is steadily declining, especially in the aftermath of the economic recession, as they seriously question the value they are receiving for their spending. Thousands of people in healthcare industries are employed every year to ensure that people stay healthy – however, there is strong public mistrust of pharmaceutical and healthcare institutions, perhaps owing to a general lack of incentives, price control and transparency. Today’s value proposition is balanced very precariously, and it can swing either way depending on the company. If it’s a small business, the chances are that its value proposition will still be high, perhaps higher than those of big pharmaceutical chains. It all seems to depend on where along the supply chain one is stationed.
Staying Ahead of the Curve The only successful way to stay ahead of the curve is to implement practical and innovative solutions in business. This certainly holds true for small businesses and suppliers who are at the receiving end of blows from economic cutbacks. The key is to uncover new opportunities for growth, improvement and excellence. It’s only when a supplier can identify and successfully implement a technique or strategy that their future is secured. Corporations want profits without compromising on overall costs or structure. This is where suppliers come in, by bridging the gap between demand and supply in an ingenious way. DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Disruptive Business Models – Shaping or Breaking the Industry? Disruptive models, in any industry, are usually designed to improve processes. Health care is no different, with costs rising and demand falling. The challenge with the healthcare industry is making it more affordable and more accessible. Almost every industry begins with the provision of services and products that only a few people can afford or buy. However, over time, as expansion occurs, the law of diminishing returns kicks in and things will get cheaper for a while, before they’re right back to where they started. It is disruptive innovation that has transformed these industries and made products cheaper and more accessible. Looking at today’s health care situation, the industry is clearly screaming for a disruption. It solves the most fundamental problem, i.e., how to make healthcare more affordable.
Spotting and Capitalizing on Opportunities For healthcare suppliers, the focus should be only on one thing – the seeking and development of opportunities. It could be said that any process that requires an innovative solution can be an opportunity in disguise, one which can be capitalized on. If you can identify the process, and provide an appropriate solution, you are guaranteed to increase growth opportunities. Providing a lower cost, more accessible disruptive enabler addresses the simplest problems at the ontset and opens the door for other solutions to follow. This is what is meant by the term capitalization: big corporations don’t have to cut back on costs to the extent that quality suffers. Tasks get delegated and profits are split. In the short run, everyone wins. It’s the sustenance of this model which marks the difference between success and failure.
Patient Input Vital to the Future of Healthcare The healthcare industry functions at its best when working in conjunction with its consumers, namely the patients. Since patience care is its main objective, it is vital to know what patients want, need and how to tackle any associated problems. The impact of this social interaction on healthcare has been tremendous because of the valuable input given by statistics through patient care related research. Given the advances in technology, it is crucial for suppliers to keep close tabs on changing trends. What is happening in the market, how the consumer is reacting to these changes, trying to gauge results and predicting accurate forecasts are all measures that ensure the survival of suppliers in an industry that is changing on a daily basis. Innovation is at its peak, so it’s only logical that healthcare suppliers stay involved every step of the way and really analyze the market in which they are operating.
Risks and Rewards Taking a step into unknown territory is always risky, but you either take that risk, or you may end up fading into the shadows. Many suppliers often take the risk but fail to reap rewards. This can happen due to a number of factors, including a lack of dedicated and consistent efforts and focus. As a small scale business, you have to carve out a niche for yourself within an industry. This is done by being focused and informed about every step of the process. Having a clear idea about what your objectives are, and working towards them relentlessly is the key. In the healthcare industry especially, innovation is always a hot topic, so research in this area is imperative. Once you know what corporations want and need, you can gain advantage by providing low costs and sustainable results - reaping rewards that often far exceed their expectations.
Opportunities in the Healthcare Industry 3 The Value of Life Sciences We see an abundance of nature all around us, in trees, plants, organisms, animals, the sky and the earth. There is no limit to the variety of nature, yet as the world has become more commercialized, we find ourselves struggling to get a good use of value out of nature. This is particularly true of pharmaceutical or healthcare companies, both of which can struggle to find the right balance. So where does one start when extracting the cash value out of all that nature has to offer? Where should we stop? Life Science constitutes an integral part of the daily business of pharmaceutical companies. The field is the parts of science that require the studying of living organisms: plants, animals and humans alike. The term also now includes the fields of biotechnology, biomedical technologies, biomedical devices, pharmaceuticals, life system technologies and those organizations that devote most of their time to the research and development of the above mentioned fields, and their commercialization.
Value in Life Sciences for MWBEs The recession of the past few years has forced companies to adopt a somewhat shark-like attitude. This often means adopting lethal practices such as takeovers, mergers and even declaring bankruptcy. Additionally, many large businesses have been forced to split up into smaller franchises in an effort to save costs on whatever front they could. Like all big industries, the pharmaceutical companies have taken a hit as well. The big retail chains have been especially hard struck because of the amount of investment poured into these large conglomerations, which has left them financially insecure. This is where MWBEs come in. The law of economics tells us that when consumer demand is high, prices will reduce, and when demand is low, the prices will shoot up. The benefit of operating in a MWBE is that the prices are always set at a convenient level. The highest price that the goods from an MWBE can reach will still be comparatively less when compared to a larger pharmaceutical company. That is why, when big businesses go under, it is the underdogs, the small businesses, that ultimately prosper. People naturally turn towards cheaper products of the same quality and use. Also, because of their size, MWBEs are more liable to receive governmental assistance than big firms.
Building a Strategy for Doing Business With
Healthcare Companies - by Sharon Ross
Value That Corporations Look For Basically it all boils down to this: corporations are looking for businesses that have the capacity and potential to expand and grow. In such a case, pharmaceutical or healthcare companies owned by MWBEs fit the bill perfectly because they represent a microcosm of the overall market. When the supernormal profits are falling and costs are becoming too high, major branches of pharmaceutical corporations, such as research and development, are delegated to MWBEs. Corpo41
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Opportunities in the Healthcare Industry 3 rations are looking for MWBEs that are still young, and have the ability to provide facilities at a much lower cost than banks or other similar institutions.
Value Measurement System Every corporation wants to ensure that the MWBE it is investing its time and money into is going to bring them noticeable results and returns. Certainly, there is no fixed system of measuring the value of a MWBE, but there are standardized procedures that every organization is subjected to, whether big or small. The parent corporation usually implements a small model of the corporate sustainability performance measurement system (CSPMS) to gauge the effectiveness of the MWBE. Since measuring corporate value is complex and time consuming, key areas of the MWBE are targeted at the beginning, identifying which resources need to be focused on. The CSPMS then works in tandem with decision makers to understand the current situation of the MWBE, establish what their future aims and objectives are and form strategies on how they are going to be reached. These diagnostic statistics are then reviewed, providing crucial information to researchers and business analysts.
Opportunities for Minorities in Life Sciences – Scale Matters A very wise man once said there was never a scarcity of opportunities, just a lack of those who observed them. There has never been a better time than now for minorities to get a firm foothold in the Life Science industries. The UK is home to the one of the fastest and strongest growing Life Science markets in the world. Biotechnology, pharmaceutical industries and healthcare industries show a remarkable track record in garnering state support for investment in R&D through tax credits, drug recovery and a burgeoning management population. In such cases, scale becomes very important as only legitimate MWBEs can qualify for such government support. Small scale pharmaceutical businesses are DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
also more liable to do well because of their low costs and high productive output.
Availability of Second Tier Opportunities As a result of new business strategies, many prime suppliers operating in major supply chain management provide ample opportunities for growth. Of course, big firms realize that there are a limited number of opportunities for MWBEs, so they develop Tier 2 supplier programs, usually created in conjunction with prime suppliers. This happens often with big pharmaceutical or biotechnology firms where a portion of their contracts are subcontracted to MWBEs. The efforts of introducing Tier 2 opportunities have not gone unnoticed. Indeed, many of the participants in the Tier 2 programs have embraced the diversity that it has to offer as a business imperative. It definitely helps them to learn, increases their confidence and ensures a dependable pool of MWBEs that big companies can utilize to maximum effect.
Success Stories Success follows if one perseveres and is dedicated. This rings true for MWBEs who start off small, often under the Tier 2 program, but then mature into Tier 1 over time. Of course, individually, it may be hard to find success stories related to the advancement of MWBEs, but collectively as a fast growing fledgling industry, the case studies are many. When small businesses have something to sell, and large businesses have something to offer, it becomes a win-win situation for everyone involved. When 42
big firms have target audiences over a broad range, but no resources to help them reach the target, it is here that the MWBEs come in and delegate. In the process, the MWBE in question gets clients, and the big firms get profits. The fact that Life Science is an incredibly innovative industry where technological advancements can ensure that extra edge over your competitor is crucial to its development. Going Tier 2 reduces R&D costs and increases production. This is exactly what many healthcare industries have done over the last decade or so, resulting in many minority and women owned businesses prospering and opening the gateway for others.
Concluding Observations Trends vary from year to year, but the overall trend in the past five years or so has been one of steady growth, even with occasional dips. MWBEs are on the rise as a whole, because of the excellent and strategic business and expansion opportunities they provide. However, issues arise when there is not enough research done to understand the complexity of delegation. The task of integrating a MWBE within the parent company and training it according to set standards is tough, not to mention the cost of investing time and money into such a program. Many large healthcare companies have failed to integrate with smaller businesses successfully, leaving them more in debt than prior to the integration. Therefore, a thorough systems and management scan should be undertaken. DASNY or ‘The Dormitory Authority State of New York’ organized a seminar for MWBEs to provide information about getting contracts in DASNY related to healthcare and other industries. The turnout was huge, with many MWBEs walking away with valuable information about technology and how to move up in the general market. Suffice to say, if you’re looking to earn a living through a small business, start off with a MWBE, and move up from there, because the opportunities are vast and plenty. www.diversityplus.com
From Cloud to Cars
bdi Ahmed, president and chief technology officer of NetServe Systems, Inc., began MBOD 2011 by presenting a workshop on “Cloud Computing: Is It Time to Get Your Head in the Cloud?” He defined cloud computing as a way to increase capacity or add capabilities without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software. Cloud computing encompasses any subscriptionbased or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, extends IT’s existing capabilities. The benefits of cloud computing include “ease of use, scalability, low risk, reliability and low cost,” he said. The second workshop, aptly named “Shifting Your Business Into Drive,” featured executives from major automakers, including Nissan North America, Hyundai Motor America, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., and American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Serving on the panel were: Daniel Boren, purchasing supplier diversity coordinator, Nissan; Walter Rodriguez, manager, diversity and corporate
Abdi Ahmed, President and Chief Technology Officer, NetServe Systems, Inc. outreach, Hyundai; James Colon, vice president, Toyota Product Communications, Toyota, and Charles Harmon, manager, corporate procurement, American Honda. Moderated by Bill Imada, chairman and CEO of IW Group, Inc., a communications firm specializing in multicultural markets, the panel discussed what it takes to do work with their firms. These key points include having a strong value proposition, being specific about what suppliers can do, understanding the company’s business and its procurement needs,
‘Heavy Hitters’ and More at SCMBDC’s Minority Business Opportunity Day
“Where in the world can you get exposure to so many heavy hitters for such a reasonable price?” asked Claudia Kihano Parker, a first-time attendee of Southern California Minority Business Development Council’s
(SCMBDC) Minority Business Opportunity Day (MBOD). Parker, who owns Parker Law Group, Inc. in Mission Viejo, Calif., expressed a sentiment many past attendees have long known -- MBOD is one of the best ways for business owners to meet who’s who in Corporate America, build relationships and, ultimately, increase sales. Business owners who attended the 35th annual event on February 24 at the Pacific Palms Conference Resort in Industry Hills, Calif., had 43
researching the company, and not promising something that can’t be delivered. The keynote speaker was Gerry Fernandez, founder and president of the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance, a non-profit organization promoting the economic benefits of diversity and inclusion in the foodservice and hospitality industries. He engaged the audience with his passionate appeal that minorities need to fully understand the power they hold as consumers by knowing the importance of cultural awareness in business. Citing examples of how persons of color can change the corporate supplier diversity landscape, he named a number of large corporations that are leaders in supplier diversity and deserve consumers’ loyalty, including Toyota, MBOD 2011’s title sponsor. He concluded his presentation saying, “In this country, culture counts -not color. If you’re not culturally connected to customers, employees and communities, you’re leaving money on the table.” the opportunity to participate in a full-day of activities. MBOD offered two engaging workshops, including a panel discussion on how to get in the door with major automakers; ‘Quick Connect,’ one-on-one appointments designed to match certified diverse suppliers with corporate buyers and decision makers; ‘Hard Hat Pavilion,’ an activity specifically for construction and construction-related businesses, and a business expo. “We’ve always known MBOD is one of the best deals in town and a productive way to spend the day,” said SCMBDC President John W. Murray, Jr., noting the event attracted about 1,100 people. “There are countless stories of relationship-building and doors opening to new contracts as a result of suppliers and corporations meeting at MBOD.”
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
- by Pamela Grant
Galapagos: Outpost, Experiment, or Sustainable Example?
ention the Galapagos Islands, and you’ll find a host of reactions waiting for you. Schoolchildren yawn at another reference to Darwin and their history books, adventure travelers wax on about the trip of a lifetime, travel agents salivate at fat fees, and ecologists rave and rant that everybody needs to just stay away. Somewhere in the middle of all these divergent points of view are the islands themselves, held up as the world’s example of sustainable tourism in action. The islands have arrived at this pinnacle of the ecotourism industry through a rather convoluted path.
First discovered in 1535 by the Bishop of Panama, who was lost at the time, they were better known as a whaling pit stop and pirate hideout until 1835, when Charles Darwin came ashore. At that time, the Galapagos were freshly annexed by the Ecuadorian government, who was taking a page out of the Australian textbook and populating the remote islands with prisoners. Yet Darwin’s pen catapulted the islands into global prominence as an ecological wonder, laying the foundations for the waves of naturalist visitors who would follow him to the islands’ unique shores. Since Darwin brought the islands another kind of fame, they have capi-
talized on it in different ways over the ages. In many ways, the islands have been pioneers in the world of sustainable tourism, using their status as a remote outpost to maintain excellent control over tourist practices. In other ways, the islands have served as experimental zone for ecologists and sustainable tourism advocates, who find the controlled environment useful for testing their theories and doing case studies. At the end of the day, however, the question remains: Are the Galapagos Islands a success model for sustainable tourism, or are they just as endangered as their native species?
The Power of Distance
The power of distance has always been a factor in the islands’ unique character. Located more than 500 nautical miles west of the country that claims them, the Galapagos are not a destination to be tripped over by accident. In the early part of the 20th century, the Ecuadorian government even bribed settlers to move out to populate the islands with a 20 hectare plot; now, a permit is required to move out to the island and a home there is considered a privilege indeed. DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Life as an Experiment
The distance also served to set up the Galapagos as an experimental zone, particularly for the ecotourism industry. In some ways, this has worked out wonderfully, with trails and wildlife watch sites being meticulously maintained over time according to Julian Fritter of the Guardian UK. In www.diversityplus.com
Sustainable Example or Endangered Species?
So where, then, are the islands heading in the future? “The islands need tourism to survive,” claims noted wildlife authority Sir David Attenborough, yet the President of Galapagos Conservation Trust, Andrew Marr, advocates that visitors only be allowed once in a lifetime. Meanwhile, to keep up with nearly 200,000 annual tourists, travelers, and researchers, the full-time resident population of the island has swelled to nearly 40,000 people. The numbers paint a precarious picture. Twenty years ago, annual visitor traffic sat at just 41,000, with local populations peaking at around 18,000. All the new bodies make it hard to believe that the 97 percent of the islands currently designated as preserved space will actually be able 45
to maintain that status in fact as well as policy. Still, the rising population and traffic numbers are not going unnoticed by the inter-governmental and multi-national groups that support and protect the islands. The InterAmerican Development Bank is funding reforesting projects that also provide coffee bean income to help improve environmental quality while enhancing native standards of living. For fuel efficiency and independence from environmentally harmful fossil fuel systems, the World Wildlife Fund has partnered with Toyota and the Ecuadorian government to bring more environmentally sound fuel management systems to the island and wind power generators to the islands. Locals remain largely caught in the middle. They oppose moves that harm the environment and endanger the ecological treasures that make them a world-class ecotourist destination, but they also allow hundreds of illegal workers to stay on the islands and welcome ever-larger cruise ship operations. Everyone claims to want what is “best” for all sides, but that definition varies broadly, and seems to have a three to five year versus a generational component. In some ways, the islands are indeed a true success story. . . with a note of caution echoing in the background. The money from the tourists funds cutting edge environmental research. Yet the money from the tourists also encourages islanders to seek more of them, endangering the islands over the long term. Whether a true balance can be found is anyone’s guess, but in the years to come there is no doubt that the wonders of the Galapagos Islands will continue hold the world’s attention.
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Its remoteness has in many ways served as an advantage. When the Galapagos National Park Service was formed in 1968, the lack of flights to the island meant that the ability of visitors to depart from the Park rules was minimal. All visitors came in by boat, were met at the docks, and carefully guided through available wildlife and botanical tourism sites. Still, the distance did work against local residents, even as it worked for the nascent sustainable tourism industry. Most produce and almost all finished goods were imported from the mainland, as on-island production quality was poor. With few opportunities to build income through agriculture or industry, locals relied on tourist fees for dollars and overfished the marine preserves to make up for gaps in the native food supply.
other ways, however, the experimental mindset has allowed some practices to develop which may not be for the ultimate good of the island. On the plus side for the islands, ecological experiments involving species transfer between islands has prevented some of the giant tortoise strains from going extinct. Investments in airports, docks, and lodges have brought greater accessibility to more travelers, bringing in more money from nature tours and park fees. The influx of money has stimulated the local economy, providing residents with alternatives to heavy fishing or subsistence agriculture as income. However, the experimental framework does have a “Well, why not?” element that has put a strain on the islands and the natives. Larger and more frequent cruise ships and passenger flights are threatening to overwhelm the ability of the island to support casual guests without compromising the ecosystem. Species and fauna introduced to tackle specific problems have led to more complex problems, and the screening and prevention systems to stop alien species and plants that may be incoming with travelers are a noted vulnerability.
Organic Cooking Traditions in
- by John Jacobs
f you’re reaching for a glass of water in Jamaica, chances are you are just getting started with the local Scotch Bonnet peppers. Rated as one of the hottest peppers in the world according to the Scoville scale, they are commonly used to add flavor. You won’t be the first they’ve taken by surprise, and as Jamaica’s traditional organic cooking traditions spread their heat around the world, you certainly won’t be the last. Jamaican cuisine is unique because of its isolated roots and the way that it has preserved its core flavorings throughout centuries of outside influences. The Tainos welcomed Christopher Columbus to the island with seasoned meats that made him sweat, and despite the incoming Spanish cooking traditions, those seasonings provided to be the true Conquistadors. They’ve held up against not just the Spanish, but also Hakka, African, and British influences over the years. The net result is an island cuisine flavored like none other, and a historical cooking tradition that Jamaicans can embrace as uniquely their own with pride.
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
With the rising tide of processed food imports and “junk” food choices, this strong cooking tradition is more important than ever to preserve. Traditional food choices offer low calorie and low fat alternatives to pizzas, burgers, and fries, while the spicing helps keep portions in check. Add in a preference for uniquely Caribbean fruits and vegetables, and a taste of Jamaica will satisfy on multiple levels.
Historically Prevalent Organic Food Choices
Jamaicans’ food choices throughout history have been influenced by the ecological bounty of the island itself and the crops brought in by foreigners over the years. From the island itself, Jamaicans have embraced seafood, bananas and plantains, peas, kidney beans, and allspice. From incoming forces, Jamaicans have acquired the African based ackee fruit, vinegar seasoning from the Spanish, and curries from the East Indian and Hakka settlers. Most of the traditional foods in the Jamaican diet are fresh or lightly processed meats, fruits, and vegetables 46
that are then richly seasoned. One of the most dominant and uniquely Jamaican spices is allspice, which was once believed to grow only on the island, though it is now grown in warm regions throughout the world. Containing taste elements of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, allspice also contains eugenol. When eaten, eugenol has antimicrobial properties and is credited with helping to relieve indigestion and gas.
Embracing the Power of the Jerk
One traditional organic dish stemming from Jamaica that dates back to the indigenous Tainos is the Jamaican Jerk. Jerk, a dry rub for meats and seafood, was the singular flavor that gave Columbus pause after months at sea. Thanks to its uniquely Jamaican blend of ingredients, it’s a singular flavor that continues to be an island signature. The main ingredients in Jamaican Jerk are the nuanced allspice and the blazingly hot Scotch Bonnet Peppers. Other common ingredients in the spice rub include sea salt, cloves, www.diversityplus.com
change with serving Jamaican Jerk. Modern variations of the dish also no longer call for the meat to be smoked over specialty wood. On the island, a steel drum-based jerk pan is used to make Jamaican Jerk, but those far from Jamaica can simply grill out with a different rub. This is appealing to backyard barbeque kings and their variety-seeking kingdoms alike. Since the flavor power of the dish comes from simple spices, it is also easy to make Jamaican Jerk a part of heart-healthy and diabetic diets. Thereâ€™s no deep frying or butter, and those watching their salt intake can make or buy blends that donâ€™t include the salt. With minimal prep time (rub and done), simple cooking options, and the ability to fit into dietconscious lifestyles, Jamaican Jerk can be found on menus around the world as well as in shakers on mainstream supermarket shelves.
cinnamon, nutmeg, scallions, thyme, garlic, and black pepper. This spicy blend is then applied to chicken or pork, although modern versions also apply it to all seafoods, red meat, and tofu. To cook traditional Jamaican Jerk, the marinated meat needs to be smoked. The wood of choice for the most traditional version of the recipe is allspice wood itself, as the flavoring from the wood further enhances the elements of the spice on the meat. The final product is a protein-rich dish covered with spices that enhance gut health and fight disease causing microbes.
As Jamaican Jerk makes inroads on supermarket shelves and restaurant menus, it opens the door for those who are interested in exploring other traditional island dishes. Many of these dishes are lightly processed, based on fresh produce and spices, and can be quickly assembled by novice cooks. Not all of them are as hot as true Jamaican Jerk, either, freeing more hesitant palates to indulge in is-
land flavors. The variety of unique flavors in common Jamaican dishes further invites people into the island cuisine. They can opt for more richly flavored dishes like goat curries, Coconut Rundown, and Grapenut ice cream, or they go for simpler staples like the Jamaican Coat of Arms, rice and peas stewed in coconut milk, or escabeche, a poached fish in a vinegary sauce. Each offers its own flavor profile while not being unduly complex for amateur chefs. Island staples like Jamaican Jerk offer an appealing alternative to the same old meat flavorings. The healthful benefits of the dish also make it an attractive alternative to buttery sauces or mysterious liquid marinades. With minimal preparation or culinary skill needed to turn out a tasty version, diners around the world are preparing their palates for more and more of the same unique flavors that Columbus so vividly remembered.
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Opening the Way for Jamaican Food Worldwide
Spreading the Benefit
As diners around the world seek out unique flavors that remind them of distant locales, Jamaican Jerk is gaining popularity. The spice rub can be bought as a pre-blended mix, appealing to harried home cookers seeking a bit of simplicity. With its powerful punch and distinctive taste of the island, there is no mistaking that something different is on the menu for a www.diversityplus.com
A Primer on Doing Business in
Africa: Ghana - by William Bell
- by William Bell
rials exporter and an importer of finished goods. It generally runs a typical North-South trading deficit with its partners, importing finished goods at greater values than the raw materials it exports. Its largest deficit is with China, at nearly $2 billion USD, and with the US, at around $800 million. In 2010, Ghana was the second largest producer of cocoa worldwide, with shea butter, pineapple, and mango other key agricultural exporters. The country discovered a large oil field in 2007, and also trades in coal, gold, diamonds, bauxite, and manganese. Its energy exports and rare earths have been working in its favor, especially in recent months as the Chinese have disrupted the rare earths markets. In terms of manufactured goods suitable for trade, the main export is clothing. Low-cost rayon shirts from Ghana can be found throughout the U.S. at discounters such as Ross Stores. Traditional Kente cloth made by boutique sellers is also a notable export.
Financing, Security and Legal Concerns
ocated on Africa’s Western Coast, Ghana is often cited as one of the continent’s success stories. The country has a stable government, ranked second after Mauritius on the 2009 Failed States Index for African nations. A former British colony, it was the first subSaharan nation to achieve colonial independence, taking charge of its own destiny in 1957. Known for its vast natural resources and well-educated population, Ghana has cultivated a number of global trading relationships since achieving independence.
The Scope of the Opportunity
When it comes to opportunities in Africa, Ghana offers a number of appealing avenues for success. The country is multi-lingual and a ready embracer of emerging technology. National DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
goals are to bring the nation to middle income status by 2015, providing a market of consumers with the disposable income available to fully partake in global trade opportunities. Currently, the personal purchasing power of each of the 24 million residents stands at the equivalent of $1,600 USD. Just over a third of all citizens work in agricultural areas, with light manufacturing, textiles, and mining/drilling accounting for the rest of the economy. Though some areas are resource constrained, 83 percent of the student population is in school, and Ghana’s adoption of English as the official language further lowers barriers to establishing business ties in the country.
Key Trade Materials
Ghana itself is known as a raw mate48
Trading with Ghana is mainly a matter of finding the right path into the country. The stable political environment and austerity measures from the government on debt issues provide a relatively stable economic outlook, and the crime rate is low. The legal system is based on British Common Law as a colonial legacy, different but not wholly alien to the modern U.S. system which shares the same roots. The government itself is a trade promoter, with preference given to relationships that allow Ghana trade equality. According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI, http:// www.moti.gov.gh/) the current mandate is, “to develop a vibrant, technology-driven, liberalized and competitive trade and industrial sector that significantly contributes to economic growth and employment creation, particularly involving mass mobilization of rural communities and other vulnerable groups including women.” www.diversityplus.com
American minority businesses headed into Ghana may be surprised at how much competition there is for the opportunities the country represents. Both China and Britain maintain a large trading presence on the ground, with Britain capitalizing on its historical relationship with the country to set targets to double trade by 2015. Along with the heavy British presence, some analysts have alleged that China has effectively over-run the country from a trade perspective. The two countries have a preferential bi-lateral trade agreement, and China has been investing heavily in upgrading the local infrastructure at the behest of the Ghanaian government. However, there is still room for smart U.S. businesses to get a piece of the action. The main areas of opportunity revolve around energy efficient solutions, finished goods, and industrial www.diversityplus.com
equipment. Ghana has struggled to provide enough power to support its expanding industries and population, to the point that it is estimated power shortage have shaved two percent off the national GDP. Firms that can provide large and small solutions as well as power sipping products will be welcomed. Finished goods are also popular, especially in the electronics category, and the need for improved infrastructure is an area of investment for the government, providing a steady market for industrial equipment and products.
In terms of success factors for Ghanaian business with U.S. partnerships, the main link between firms has been referrals and word of mouth. Sleek Garments, the Ghanaian clothier supplying Ross Stores, was referred into the relationship by another partner. Many firms advertise their capabilities through their reputations as providers rather than formal promotion networks. While the USAID organization operates broadly in rural Ghana, most of their efforts are on helping Ghanaian groups gain access to global (but not necessarily US-based) markets for their agricultural and natural re49
source products. Formal trade fairs sponsored by MOTI as well as an updated â€œKey Contactsâ€? list on their website attempt to bridge the gap between aid agency programming and small-scale internationalization between U.S. and Ghanaian firms. To find success doing business with Ghana, MBEs in the U.S. should pay careful attention to the countryâ€™s needs and spend time cultivating relationships. With most local businesses open to the idea of trade and partnerships, the main remaining barrier is time. Ghana is on an upward path, and only those firms who take the time to research and build the connections will be able to compete with the established international players to thrive in the local markets.
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Thus, minority owned businesses in the U.S. looking to do business with Ghana would do well to consider the current mandate when making trade proposals. In terms of financing for trade deals, the country is in good financial standing internationally, and participates in a number of regional and panAfrican trade alliances. These groups have been known to provide grants and loans, particularly on the local side of international partnerships. On the U.S. side, minority businesses can tap into the resources offered by the National Export Initiative through the Minority Business Development Agency and the resources available through the International Trade Administration. The main impediments that U.S. businesses are likely to face on the ground revolve around the diversity of cultures that thrive in Ghana. There are more than 100 distinct ethnic cultures and 47 recognized local languages. Taking the time to build business connections and cultivate relationships will help smooth over differences and provide guidance in navigating hyper-local norms.
he average U.S. worker spends more than 1,777 hours each year in his or her office, according to the Organization For Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Minority and women business owners, especially in smaller operations where night and weekend hours are common, may spend an additional 300 or 400 hours in their offices. With this much time spent at the office, it only makes sense to want to spend that time in the best workplace environment possible. Naturally, the “perfect” workplace varies by industry and is subject to personal preference. Still, there are a few factors that can be universally examined to improve working environments. These revolve around light, air quality, plants/greenery, noise levels, and temperature.
Steps to a Better Workplace Environment
- by Ingrid Johnson
Let There be Light
Lighting is a prime place to start when it comes to getting a better workplace environment. With sustainability and green initiatives trending in all industries, lights have come in for extra attention and change. However, the focus has generally been on the bottom line impact or the environmental effects rather than the way that lighting solutions impact workers. New compact fluorescent bulbs can cause workers to complain of “cold” or “sterile” work environments. Traditional fluorescents buzz, hum, and flicker. Natural light is ideal, but many office and manufacturing spaces suffer from a distinct lack of windows, sometimes deliberately as an insulation, safety, or cost-cutting measure. There are ways to provide more natural lighting without compromising on environmental or security issues. The answer is full-spectrum bulbs, which maintain the “warmth” of traditional yellow-hued light bulbs while being available as compact fluorescent bulbs. Useful in personal lamps or as overheads, these can provide more acceptable and comfortable lighting solutions to workers while meeting green standards. DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Address Air Quality Walking into a work environment with stale air or an odd “funk” on Monday morning hardly gets the week started right. Air quality issues can also contribute to sick days and stale, uncirculated air becomes a festering annoyance, especially in hermetically sealed buildings where opening a window isn’t really a viable solution. Instead, air quality issues can be addressed by bringing in air filters. Doubling as fans that can circulate air throughout the office or shop floor, basic HEPA-standard air filters are readily available from big box stores, office supply stores, and online retailers. Entry level models are less than $30, though high tech filters can cost several hundred dollars. Their impact is almost immediate, and many models compete on how quietly they run. Even if a full install of filters isn’t financially viable for a MBE, adding one 50
to break rooms to cut food odors or to entry and reception spaces to cut lingering tobacco smells from smokers coming in and out can dramatically improve the workplace environment.
Embrace the Power of Plants
Plants are not merely “nice to haves” in the work environment. Plants can also provide benefits for employee’s mental well-being, improve air quality, and soften stark, barren workspaces. For those who adhere to Feng Shui principles, plants can also serve as bringers of peace and positive energy. Elaborate plant systems aren’t necessary to get a better workspace. Instead, choosing a handful of lowmaintenance plants can bring the necessary benefits without causing great inconvenience. Leafy ferns, decorative orchids, or even bamboos can put energizing oxygen back into the air, green up the space, and add www.diversityplus.com
Work-Life visual interest without becoming distractions.
Target Noise Pollution & Noise Control
Noise control is a serious environmental issue for workspaces. Everything from manufacturing sounds to clattering keyboards can contribute to noise levels at the office, killing worker focus and becoming an all-day irritant. Left unaddressed, noise issues can raise stress levels, cause workplace clashes, and even damage hearing. Combating noise is a matter of choosing the best battles to fight. Manufacturing sites obviously have different challenges than office spaces, and both sides have to balance health and safety with noise concerns. Still, by addressing carried sounds and volume levels, the work environment can be improved. Internally generated and externally generated sounds have to be handled differently. Internal noise levels can be battled with protective earplugs for extreme sounds, but adding a few strategically placed doors or hanging soundboards from the ceilings will also help block or soak up unwanted
sounds. Rugs on tile floors, guidelines for radio use, or even designated “quiet hours” at the beginning or end of the day can cut the negative effects of internal noise. For external noise, checking window and door seals, hanging drapes on windows, or investing in white noise machines can dramatically improve the workplace environment.
Stop Playing Hot & Cold
Temperature levels are another major work environment issue. Not all workers run at the same average temperature, and neither do the machines they use to do their jobs. Finding a comfortable balance helps improve the work environment, but it can also significantly shave costs off annual heating and cooling bills. The first step is to take control of the temperature. Remotely controlled heating and cooling solutions may work for equipment areas, but they don’t work well for purely human environments. Workers don’t accept that some computer 1,000 miles away is accurately meeting their needs, and the frustration with not being able to get it hotter or colder is often vented
(continued from page 8)
You Can Build a Better Workplace
The “perfect” workplace may be an elusive construct, but that doesn’t mean a better work environment is out of reach. Spending some designated time considering the key environmental elements of light, air quality, greenery, noise levels, and temperature can help uncover areas where small improvements might go a long way. With the sheer amount of time the average worker spends in the office, making it a better place to be is well worth the effort.
MBEs must look at strategies that link them to similar MBEs and others in different geographic markets in ways that leverage expertise and relationships. For example, we must have a thousand certified MBE corporate gift companies across the country. Why won’t some of them combine forces in ways that do not relinquish local autonomy by generating greater profitability through increased buying power and superior marketing effectiveness? The same holds true for IT staffing firms, law firms, computer resellers and others. Entrepreneurs who make these changes will thrive in the coming expansion. The Great Recession is over and it is time for MBEs to come out of the bunkers and claim their piece of the global economy. MBEs today have greater skills, financial experience and superior quality networks than any generation of MBEs in history. There is no reason why MBEs cannot and should not lead the expansion of the U.S. and global economy.
sion had its origins in housing and financial markets, it is not these markets that will lead us out of the recession. Furthermore, the economy that we are becoming is not the same as the pre-Great Recession economy. One important difference is that speculative excesses in housing and financial markets will be slow to return as entrepreneurs and corporations attempt to return to business basics. In the early stages of the recovery, the economy we are heading into will be based more on operational cash flow and less on speculative projections. The business world has become a “show me the money” economy. This change in entrepreneurial attitude will mean that companies will become more integrated into a global network of suppliers and customers all searching for value. MBEs can no longer afford to believe that they can comfortably ignore the advantages of sourcing and selling globally.
in non-related situations that keep negativity in the workplace. Instead, bring control over the temperature to the local office, and work on areas that bring in unwanted drafts, heat, or icy blasts. Weatherproofing offices (especially smaller and home-based offices) can have dramatic results on the workplace environment. Mindfulness about the outside environment can also put an end to constant adjustments and the need for workers to have sweaters at work or to use fans that contribute to noisy offices and set off automated heat systems.
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Minority Companies to Watch in the Healthcare Industry
ChemicoMays - On the Cutting Edge
hemicoMays is perhaps one of the very few chemical management companies that are process not product driven. They focus on everything that it takes to ensure the client’s goal is reached without compromising on standards. They have 50 years of experience to offer your company, whether you’re developing a new product or manufacturing a chemical. The whole focus is on the process and that means that cost are radically reduced. ChemicoMays has been able to reduce chemical inventory by 60 percent on average for the
Fortune 500 manufacturers. In a world where the environment has become a key issue with most pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing companies, ChemicoMays has just the right services to ensure that continues. Minimizing risk, recycling chemicals and reducing costs drastically are just some of the benefits that you can accrue if you opt for their specialized services. Chemicals are volatile. That’s why with ChemicoMays, onsite removal of hazardous material has reached 40 percent, which enables workers to become more productive by working in risk free surroundings. The experts at ChemicoMays will work with you in six main areas: IT, logistics, and purchasing, environmental, chemistry and industry specific process specialists. The reason behind ChemicoMay’s industry wide success is its dedication to process driven implementation.
This means that the experts at ChemicoMays will do whatever it takes to meet set targets. A complete on site inventory has boosted ongoing cycle counting to maintain accuracy at a phenomenal 95 percent. ChemicoMay’s customers are its guide. You just have to look at their past track record to know they deliver under pressure. Saving or reducing cost is a major concern when it comes to chemical manufacturing and that is the area ChemicoMay’s experts work on the best. Chemical procurement with all its associated responsibilities and liabilities are kept under close scrutiny while every step of every transaction is documented. ChemicoMays provides invaluable depth, understanding and a critical approach to all facets of chemical management. Unnecessary risks are not taken, and special attention is paid to the way individual organizations function, so that services can be customized to fit the client’s needs.
Jones Lang Lasalle Americas Inc - Never Skipping a Beat
ioneering real estate development, Jones Lang Lasalle, dared to do what others could only think of. Built on the revolutionary ideas of changing with changing times, since the time of the Second World War, Jones Lang Lasalle delivers quality. The company personifies global management, whether dealing with individual investors or shareholders. In a world where financial markets are always in turbulence and no one seems to know just how and where to invest, Lasalle steps in with the answer. People who have exceptional expertise and can bring relevant market knowledge to the table are always welcomed.
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Jones Lang Lasalle’s reputation for growing continually is based on its ability to lavishly reward and attract the best in the industry. Working with over 30, 000 people in 60 countries, Lasalle has received tremendous recognition as a management firm in real estate. The company’s motto is to provide real value to every client they come into contact with. Building long lasting, harmonious and mutually beneficial relationships with close partners and clients, Lasalle strives to maintain the highest standards in all areas of life, be it economically, environmentally or ethically. Detailed market research, collated data and a close scrutiny of the present real estate market situation are what has catapulted Lasalle to the top.
Their strict code of conduct conduct, especially when it comes to business transactions. The real estate business is one of extremes, but if one knows how to work within the system, it becomes possible to overcome adversity. They do the research, provide the insight and present the solution best fit for each and every client. Global management is taken very seriously, especially when it comes to handling such a diverse group of clients. Regardless of which country’s branch you may be working with, the standard initially set by Jones Lang Lasalle is never compromised. In fact, Lasalle takes its ethical responsibilities very seriously so that any client, firm or institution that comes in contact with Lasalle walks away with the best deals ever. Trust is the knot that holds the professionals at Lasalle together with their clients.
Minority Companies to Watch in the Healthcare Industry
Liberty IRB - On The Watch
iberty IRB, Inc. has one motto: to fuel and support active researchers who dare to pioneer modern science while recognizing the importance of, and taking measures to ensure that the risks taken never endanger human live. Located in DeLand, Florida, Liberty is an independent institutional review board (IRB) that boasts of a diverse board of members who all contribute to its development. Liberty IRB takes into account the social, economic, scientific and ethical aspects of the research it supports thereby facilitating ease for the IRB application and submission process. Fully AAHRPP accredited in 2009, Liberty has the ability to review Phase I – IV behavioral, pharmaceutical and biologic research. Members at IRB continually endeavor to produce accurate, diligent and punctual reviews of clinical research. They provides
complete legal protection to research participants by being a proud member of the Consortium of Independent Review Boards (CIRB). Liberty is also registered with the FDA and OHRP. It observes and follows all federal regulations and rules in tandem with the legal framework that governs pharmaceutical related research. Joining Liberty IRB can be an uplifting experience because of the numerous benefits that customers can make avaiable. All IRB members receive ongoing education in the field of human subject rights after
the initial orientation. Liberty IRB has also incorporated and developed an extensive database that all members can use to make sure they comply with regulations and to facilitate queries. Each researcher receives a comprehensive multi – institutional review that includes various project management approaches. Communication is of essence at Liberty IRB, so all members make it a point to effectively convey their thoughts and ideas in a proactive and constructive manner. Members of Liberty IRB make it a point to ensure that whatever research the participant is undertaking is of the highest quality in terms of time. Since time is of essence, on site visits are allocated to researchers who need them. There is competitive pricing so that able and deserving candidates can participate in the field of scientific research. Liberty IRB prides itself on its quality, and makes sure that all who enter its doors leave satisfied.
Pharma Bio Serv - Charging Ahead
ounded by Elizabeth Plaza in 1993, Pharma Bio Serv’s philosophy is based solely on working within an ethical framework of values. They manage and direct their business and all transactions on the basis of the ethical effects it may have on their customers, clients and human kind at large. Their unfaltering commitment to core values is the reason behind their success. Nurturing employees and their families, Pharma Bio Serv believes in valuing people and resources equally. Strengthening the core of its organization through cohesive planning and management, it has set an example for all other MWBEs to follow high standards of competitiveness and excellence. They conduct business on the basis of these core values because they believe this is what makes for a fruitful organiza-
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
tion. What distinguishes Pharma Bio Serv is its impeccable business manner, whereby any task undertaken is done so considering all its implications. Honesty, integrity and transparency are highly prized by its members, and sustained efforts are made in every aspect of R&D to ensure that customers are kept happy. No compromising is done or tolerated when it comes to their core values of trust, excellence and respect. Its mission is to provide a cost effective, flexible and strategic approach to its customers while maintaining the integrity of the Health Sciences Industry, by keeping in compliance with legal, federal and ethical codes of conduct. The Pharmaceutical industry, like any other, has become highly competitive where most often quality is
compromised in order to save costs. Pharma Bio Serv actively works towards maintaining quality while keeping costs down through outsourcing whereby liabilities decrease, cost of supervision and training goes down and risks are better managed and prevented. Staff augmentation and project management are some of the services that it provides for its clients through active participation with the client. Pharma Bio Serv has branches in Puerto Rico, Ireland and the United States. This allows it to boast of a unique and diverse staff that is one of the most professionally recognized and respected in the industry. Most of its staff hold degrees in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Microbiology, General Sciences and many others, all adding to Pharma Bio Serv’s overall value and worth.
People & Places WEPO Breakfast Awards
Attendees at the WEPO Breakfast networking prior to the start of the event Marsha Firestone, Ph.D., President & Founder, WPEO; Liz Cullen, Former Executive Director, WPEO-DC; and Erica Billie, Supplier Diversity Manager, US, Capital One; with representatives from ExxonMobil Corporation, winner of the Outstanding Corporation Award for the DC Region.
Marsha Firestone, Ph.D., President & Founder, WPEO; Liz; Judy Bradt, Summit Insight LLC, winner of the 2011 WPEO Rising Star Award for the DC Region; Sandra Eberhard, Executive Director, WPEO-DC
Marsha Firestone, Ph.D., President & Founder, WPEO; Bunni Wheeler-Young, Manager, Supplier Diversity, Freddie Mac, winner of the Outstanding Women’s Business Advocate Award for the DC Region; Liz Cullen, Former Executive Director, WPEO-DC
Direct Women Awards Luncheon
DirectWomen honored Helene Kaplan, Roberta Karmel, and Siri Marshall for serving with distinction on boards of directors of public companies at the Sandra Day O’Connor Board Excellence Award Luncheon on February 11th, 2011 in New York City. Several hundred attendees filled the Grand Ballroom at the Waldorf=Astoria to join keynote speaker Linda Koch Lorimer, Vice President and Secretary of Yale University and Lead Director of the McGraw-Hill Companies, to pay tribute to these remarkable women. The mission of DirectWomen is to increase the representation of women on corporate boards. For more information, please visit www.directwomen.org.
The 4th annual DirectWomen Board Institute was held at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City from February 9th – 11th, 2011. This year’s class included 23 members from across the United States, who met with leading corporate executives, directors, and academics to discuss key governance issues facing boards in the current business and regulatory environment. The mission of DirectWomen is to increase the representation of women on corporate boards. For more information, please visit www. directwomen.org.
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
People & Places PSEG Supplier Fair
Susan Hogan, Manager of Supplier Diversity at PSEG, opening the PSEG Supplier Fair. The event was a big success with suppliers across different industries competing for available contract opportunities. PSEG was represented across all major divisions with buyers and procurement heads in attendance.
Potential suppliers listen with rapt attention as several speakers spoke of the opportunities at PSEG and the kind of value proposition PSEG is looking for in suppliers that would lead to long-term relationships.
Skanska USA Supplier Conference
Standing - Wade Colclough, President, Minority Supplier Development Council PA-NJ-DE Sitting - Harold Levy, Eastern Regional Representative, Commonwealth of PA Dept. of General Services
Diversity Workshop in Session
Ed Szwarc, Executive Vice President / General Manager, Skanska. Lyle Frederick, Project Manager, Skanska. Ron Payne, PSI (Purchasing Wade Colclough, President, Minority Supplier Development Council PA-NJ-DE Services, Inc.) Dick Hahn, Project Director, Skanska Sherry Nacci, Diversity Coordinator, Skanska. Harold Levy, Eastern Regional Representative, Commonwealth of PA Dept. of General Services
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Event Calendar Month
Event & Place
Mail & Website
March 1-2nd Annual NASA/JPL High-Tech Conference for 818-354-4550 Small Business
firstname.lastname@example.org http://acquisition.jpl.nasa.gov/boo/2011HT/ index.asp
March 4th Annual Alliance Mid-Atlantic 509-838-8755
NJAWBO Mentoring Meeting, Novartis, East Hanover
Regional Alliance for Small Contractors Clearing House, Con Edison, NYC Alliance of Mid Atlantic SMWBE – Atlantic City Expo
Annual Reservation Economic Summit & American 480-545-1298 Indian Business Trade Fair (RES 2011)
NY/NJ MSDC Board of Directors Meeting - NYC
Annual SFMSDC Business Expo
NJ BPU SDDC Board of Directors Meeting – PSEG Newark
March 22-23rd Summit and Salute to Women’s Business Enterprise 202-872-5515
SET2011 Exhibition and Conference
April April 4th
MBE Procurement Fair with the NY/NJ Council
PSEG Newark MBE Procurement Fair – w/ NY/NJ MSDC
April 13-14th Diversity Procurement Fair 416-941-0004
NJAWBO Procurement Expo Pines Manor Edison, NJ
April 18-19th Indiana Business Opportunity Fair 317-921-2680
April 18-20th Chicago Business Opportunity Fair 312-775-8880
NJ BPU SDDC Board of Directors Meeting- PSEG, Newark
May May 2-3rd Virginia Business Opportunity Fair 804-788-6490 May 3-5th
Michigan Minority Procurement Conference and Trade Fair (MMPC)
May 10-12th 12th Annual DOE Small Business Conference & Expo 866-925-5708 May 11th
NJAWBO Mentoring Meeting, PSEG, Newark
ISM’s 96th Annual International Supply Management 800-888-6276 Conference and Education Exhibit.
96th Annual ISM International Supply Management
infoDOE@aetherquest.com http://smallbusinessconference.energy.gov www.ism.ws
For more events visit: http://www.diversityplus.com/calender/calmar.aspx www.diversityplus.com
DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
by James McAfee
Lightning—Get off the course
t’s that time of the year where we have more thunderstorms and golfers need to understand that being on the golf course is one place to avoid. Of an estimated 80 deaths attributed to lightning each year here in the United States, half occur on golf courses. It’s easy to see why when you see open fields, isolated trees, open-sided shelters and even golf carts as places to avoid. A good safety motto is: “If you can hear thunder, clear it. If you see lightning, flee it.” Last summer while in Aruba, my group of golf writers from the United States followed this advice. We could see a storm approaching from the ocean as we played our practice round. You could
hear thunder and see lightning off in the distance. As I prepared to tee off on a par 3 not far from the ocean, I heard thunder and dropped my club just as a big flash of lightning could be seen. We all got into our golf carts and headed to the clubhouse. En route back, a warning was posted on our golf cart for all players to stop play. As a golfer, even playing in a tournament, you have the right to stop play even if play has not been officially stopped if you feel that there is a danger from lightning. My group did that in one an event in Myrtle Beach. We got to the clubhouse just as the sirens went off to stop play and before heavy rains started. Many other soaked writers
wished they had followed our lead, but no one was struck by lightning, which starts before the rain. Use common sense before going out on the course; monitor the local weather forecasts on television as they can usually give times when storms will hit in your area. Golf courses have staff keeping their eyes open to these reports and sound sirens to tell golfers to come in and post warnings on golf carts. For events like the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and the HP Byron Nelson Championship, the PGA Tour staff has sophisticated systems that give them time to get fans to safety, too.
James McAfee is a freelance writer based in Texas who was a former editor with Golf Digest and a long-time tournament director. Currently, you can read more of his articles at www.theaposition.com. DiversityPlus Magazine | March/April 2011
Coming together only makes us stronger.
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