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Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity
Take Programs to Next Level

As 2014 unfolds, it is becoming clearer that businesses need strong, diverse leadership in order to compete. The globalization of the competitive environment has presented challenges requiring creative and innovative approaches. The old saying that “leaders are born” may be true, but the truth is that more leaders develop through hard work, the ability to recognize opportunities, and the utilization of talents and capabilities. The 2014 Women in Power Impacting Diversity represent the women leaders who have deep experience, exceptional talent, and continue to move and deepen diversity practices as a business and community success strategy.

The business landscape has been undeniably difficult since the start of the Great Recession for a lot of inter-related reasons that include economic uncertainty, increasing numbers of mergers and acquisitions, emerging global markets, increasing number of MWBEs, and rapid technology changes. Managing this environment requires having sensitivity to the needs of people and a passion for helping others succeed, whether as a staff member, business owner, or nonprofit leader. The Women in Power have the passion and the talents needed to steer organizations through the challenges by developing diversity best practices. Moving beyond the talking points and metrics and inclusion practices, the 2014 Women in Power are leaders in the next phase, which is most accurately defined as the “integration” of supplier diversity.

There is a big difference between filling positions or awarding a supplier a contract and integrating diversity into the organization. Integrating diversity is a process in which each person in the organization internalizes the importance of diversity and inclusion and contributes to a supportive culture through their actions and positions. It is a broader concept than inclusion because it goes beyond filling pipelines and inviting participation on teams. Integration requires a business culture that supports diversity, meaning even people who are not directly involved in decision-making contribute to making the organization as supportive as possible. One of the Women in Power winners said it is often not an easy process because decision-makers are focused on sales, expense control and profits, and many beyond the senior leadership have not yet made the connection between organizational competitiveness and diversity. They still view the process as one mainly involving meeting goals, quotas, and government regulations.

Working across a variety of industries and nonprofits, each of the Women in Power approached the process of diversity integration within their respective organizations in a unique way. They identified the key touch points for increasing integration like department heads, category managers, business unit leadership, suppliers, community-based advocates, small businesses, and corporate procurement professionals. That was followed by the development of customized events and activities intended to bring results. Activities included educating people at key touch points, launching online training programs, addressing work-life balance issues, developing community outreach programs, designing databases that go beyond tracking and assist with decision-making, launching Tier 2 programs, and much more.

Running like a thread through the fabric of the experiences of the Women in Power is the personal commitment to go one-on-one with leadership, suppliers and community members. The diversity leaders took the diversity effort up several notches this past year by looking for more ways to personally drive the effort forward. Under the leadership of Stacey Key, the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council opened a new business work/research/networking hub for diverse small businesses. The Women in Power connected carefully selected suppliers with specific business unit leaders; met one-on-one with brand managers and suppliers; designed networking events that generated millions of dollars in business; personally mentored MWBEs; initiated supplier joint ventures, and so much more.

Reading the bios of the 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity is inspiring. There is something here for every business leader, and there is no doubt that each achievement and idea to date will initiate approaches in other companies. Integrating diversity as a way of doing business for the right reasons may be challenging, but clearly these women leaders like a good challenge. They are key to building organizations capable of thriving in a globalized competitive environment. Any reader with questions about the process of integrating supplier diversity should email or call the diversity leader. They are more than willing to share their knowledge and expertise, and for that we should all be grateful.

2014 Top 25 Women In Power Impacting Diversity

Gladys Lopez Name Gladys Lopez   Monette Knapik Name Monette Knapik
Designation Manager, Supply Chain Inclusion Initiative Designation Director of Strategic Procurement
Company American Express Company CVS Caremark

Marcella McCullough Name Marcella McCullough   Gloria Pualani Name Gloria Pualani
Designation Manager, Supplier Diversity Designation Corporate Director, Global Supplier Diversity Programs Government Relations
Company Ford Motor Company Company Northrop Grumman

Shari Francis Name Shari Francis   Christina Morrow Name Christina Morrow
Designation HUB Merchandising Manager Designation Sr. Manager, Purchasing & Supplier Diversity
Company Office Depot Company Ricoh Americas Corporation

Sonia Mercado Name Sonia Mercado   Joyce Christanio Name Joyce Christanio
Designation M/W/DBE Liaison Designation Senior Manager, Supplier Diversity
Company Schiavone Construction Co. LLC Company Sprint

Jamie Crump Name Jamie Crump   Kathy Homeyer Name Kathy Homeyer
Designation Director of Strategic Sourcing & Supplier Diversity Designation Director, Supplier Diversity
Company United Rentals Company UPS

Bonnie Wong Name Bonnie Wong   Teresa Whalen LeFevre Name Teresa Whalen LeFevre
Designation Founder and President Designation Vice President and Manager of Supplier Diversity
Company Asian Women in Business Company Comerica Bank

Michelle L. Taylor Name Michelle L. Taylor   Jacqueline Taylor Name Jacqueline Taylor
Designation Diversity Procurement Director Designation Diversity Supplier Development Director
Company Cummins Company Dakkota Integrated Systems, LLC.

Sherrie Duncan Name Sherrie Duncan   Deborah R. Pickens Name Deborah R. Pickens
Designation Manager, Supplier Diversity Designation Director of Supplier Diversity
Company Duke Energy Company Eaton

Heidi C. Morgan Name Heidi C. Morgan   Stacey Key Name Stacey Key
Designation Vice President Business Needs – Hospitality,Leisure and Retail Brands Designation President and CEO
Company Foodbuy, LLC. Company GMSDC

Debra Voss Name Debra Voss   Valerie Coyazo Name Valerie Coyazo
Designation Manager of Supplier Diversity Designation Supplier Diversity Manager
Company International Paper Company Kansas City Power & Light

Natalie Cortes Name Natalie Cortes   Dawn Mitchell Name Dawn Mitchell
Designation U.S. Supplier Diversity Program Manager Designation Executive Director of Supplier Diversity
Company Pearson Company Saatchi & Saatchi

Lesa Rivers Name Lesa Rivers   Melissa Persia Oliver Name Melissa Persia Oliver
Designation Director, Supplier Diversity Designation Founder
Company Staples Company Odyssey IP

Dr. TendaiNdoro Name Dr. TendaiNdoro    
Designation CEO Founder    
Company SLIPPA    

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