Together… We Rise was a fitting theme for the Greater New England Minority Supplier Diversity Council’s (GNEMSDC’s) three-day Business Opportunity Conference, welcoming all members of the greater GNEMSDC community:
- Existing & prospective corporate members
- Certified Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs)
- Business leaders & owners
- Community leaders
- Supplier diversity representatives
- Purchasing & procurement professionals
The annual event reenergized the organization’s efforts to Certify, Develop, Connect, and Advocate for minority-owned firms in the global corporate supply chain. It also provided impactful opportunities to position, propel, and prepare businesses to the next level:
- Panel discussions
- Celebrity fireside chat
- Networking opportunities
Conference Event Recap
Day 1 – May 25, 2021
Session One: Commemorating Triumphs & Transforming Futures
Day one of the Business Opportunity Conference spotlighted two success stories of MBEs leveraging their certifications:
Providing an example of corporate-to-MBE success, Jerry Epps, Supplier Diversity Manager at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Anthony Samuels, Founder of DRB Facility Services, shared an inspiring story of the growth of their professional relationship.
MBE-to-MBE success also occurs quite often within the GNEMSDC community. As a testament to these opportunities, Sean Cogdell, Chairman & CEO of The Panther Group, and Chirag Modi, Vice President of Technology Services for Saisystems International, shared their experiences collaborating with other MBEs.
Session Two: Bridging a World of Opportunity
Day one concluded with an informative panel discussion, moderated by corporate member, Kate Weaver, Supplier Diversity Manager at Peapod Digital Labs.
Panelists included GNEMSDC business-to-consumer (B2C) corporate members:
- Monette Knapik, Senior Director, Enterprise Procurement Operations at CVS Health
- April Cimorelli, Supplier, Diversity Consultant at MassMutual
Day 2: May 26, 2021
Session One: Fireside Chat
Fueled by the energy of day one of the Business Opportunity Conference, day two began with a captivating Fireside Chat with Donna Latson Gittens, Founder & Principal of MORE Advertising, and Andy Williams, host of HGTV’s, Flip or Flop Fort Worth.
Andy Williams is a U.S. Marine, social entrepreneur, and Founder of RECON and Rehab Warriors – social ventures empowering transitioning veterans to combat America’s housing crisis.
Session Two: Create Connections, Accelerate Growth
Moderated by Ramon Peralta, Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Peralta Design, this panel included MBE panelists and corporate members who shared procurement success stories.
- Lee Green, Chief Architect, Enterprise Technology at Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA
- Eric Hardy, President & CEO of w3r
- Carolyn Ball, Vice President Strategy and Client Solutions at w3r
- Jo-Ann Schlick, VP of Purchasing / General Services of Eastern Bank
- Michael White, Chief Operating Officer at ACP Facility Services
Day 3: May 27, 2021
Session One: Corporate and MBE Roundtables
The final day of the Business Opportunity Conference kicked off with a Corporate Roundtable, moderated by Carole Sears, Supplier Diversity Manager – Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The MBE Roundtable was co-moderated by Sean Cogdell and Ramon Peralta, Co-Chairs of GNEMSDC’s Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee (MBEIC).
Session Two: Virtual Networking
Networking is a critical component in relationship building between MBEs and corporate members. As such, the conference concluded with a virtual networking session for all attendees.
Three days of informative and instructional insights from corporate members and MBEs provided valuable resources for the greater GNEMSDC community. The diverse perspectives and backgrounds of participants also aided in delivering valuable information, key resources, and critical takeaways to ensure future success.
To learn more about GNEMSDC and participate in future events, visit gnemsdc.org/events.