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Steps of becoming a good supplier diversity advocatre.

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Published by D/FW MSDC, 2018-07-29 10:26:51

10 Steps To Becoming A Supplier Diversity_Advocate

Steps of becoming a good supplier diversity advocatre.

To Becoming A Supplier Diversity Advocate

by Veronica Cook-Euell, M.A., MBA, M.Ed

If we take a look at advocacy and the fact that true support, intercession, leverage and consideration will rest on the
shoulders of those who stand in the gap for others, we will understand that this is the real value of supplier diversity
professionals. In 10 Steps to Becoming A Supplier Diversity Advocate, we will take a look at the approach supplier
diversity professionals should take to impact the diverse suppliers they serve. Follow these steps and you will be well
on your way to being a successful advocate too!

11 Become a Subject Matter Expert • Help solve their problems
• Be concerned with what concerns them
IN CONSTRUCTION: • Support projects other than your own i.e., vendor
• Knowing the difference between Design Build vs.
Design Bid Build presentations
• Construction manager at risk & other delivery methods • Stay abreast of industry trends within their covered
• Guaranteed Maximum Price GMP and its uses in
construction categories
• Use and purpose of Bid tabulation sheet
• Attend bid openings & presentations as often as 3 Identify Potential Internal Advocates
possible and Champions

IN PROFESSIONAL SERVICES UNDERSTAND THE FOLLOWING: • Usually can be found in areas of largest spend
• Information Technology • Watch for buying signals while collaborating
• Cloud Computing • Help them meet their goals—ask how you can help
• VOIP and Unified Communications
• Software such as Banner, Sciquest, CRM, ERP etc. with vendors
• Platforms such as Dell Servers, Virtualized Machines, • By continuing to deliver outstanding diverse suppliers
Databases etc.
in significant categories
IN PROCUREMENT OF GOODS AND SERVICES: • Build trust through consistent follow up and follow
• Sole Source, Consortium, E&I etc. through
• MRO’s • Be responsive to their feedback and act on requests or
• Read and review RFP’s—ask questions
2 Build Relationships With End Users By: • Find out what’s important to them and assist in

• Inviting them to events such as Matchmakers meeting their needs
•Ask to accompany Lunches and Galas with you
• Bring back product samples from suppliers 4 Work Closely With Buyers
• Email to Leadership about your interaction and
• By keeping your ear to the ground
successful results • Always looking for what is coming up next
•Include in photo opportunities with suppliers • Attend RFP meetings throughout the process
• Write articles highlighting their involvement and • Serve on committees along with them
• Pick your battles—be open minded and ask
46 • questions—we can’t win them all!
• Create a new approach to matching suppliers and

accept feedback
• Look for areas where suppliers are scarce—suggest

introduction meetings
• Negotiate implementing a 2nd Tier Program and

include MBE goals in all RFPs

5 Identify Gaps & Needs 8 Maximize the Appeal of Advocacy

• Through forecasting of future projects and • Highlight contributions of your champions
opportunities • Reward great collaboration
• Compliment when things go exceptionally well
• Identify who’s not performing well—introduce new • Give credit where credit is due i.e., for $$ spent with
• “Go-to” supplier is retiring? Facilitate matchmaking • Encourage involvement
with new suppliers
9 Stay by the Suppliers’ Side
• Stay abreast of new technologies—bring in supplier
with strong technology skills and who are abreast of
the latest developments in the industry
• End users have needs—uncover them by asking and
then deliver results by introducing Minority suppliers • Accompany them to their first introductory meeting
• Stay informed of their interactions, meetings and email
with the capabilities to meet those needs—your top exchanges
• Make suggestions and interject during meetings
6 Prepare Minority Suppliers Before • Listen for buying signals—take notes
Introduction • Work with them on follow-up strategies
• Follow-up with buyer to close the loop and provide
• Advise them of the culture of the organization and in more insight
10 Show Up!
• Be sure to mention the timeframe of interaction i.e.
hard stops of buyers/end users
• Discuss with them what important issues end user/
buyers are facing • Provide soft vetting on behalf of suppliers
• Support buyer by providing access to needed
• Suggest “show and tell” type of product or service information
• Encourage use of photos and to elaborate on their • Be available when a mediator is needed
• Be customer service minded!
“core” specialty
• Logistics—communicate the best place to park, go
over directions, landmarks etc. At the end of the day whether we are successful advocates
in supporting our suppliers in getting a contract or not, let us
• Encourage them to share references of past successful not tire of this work, yet, let us be reminded of this famous
• BE CONFIDENT! quote:

7 Share Viable Companies “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
With End Users - Mahatma Gandhi
Advocacy is fresh and new every day!
• Capabilities Statements that include:
– Relevant past projects or experiences
– Capacity in terms of bonding and insurances
– Key clients served (at least top 10)
– Certifications from 3rd party entities and their
– A company summary which should include their
competitive advantage
– Key personnel and decision makers
– Full contact information with emails, phone and
– Their core products and or services offered
– Geographical reach
– Unique processes

• Non-minorities too!

Veronica Cook-Euell is the Supplier Diversity, Program Manager for Kent State University. Cook-Euell is a recent award
recipient of the Asian American Commerce Group Award in 2016, the Women of Power Award from the Akron Urban League
2015, the Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council “Advocate of the Year Award” 2014 and nominated for the same award
in November 2015, also the Minority Business Advocacy Award from Black Pages Ohio in 2012 recognizing her work in building
business-to-business relationships throughout Ohio, and her commitment to supporting growth in emerging and small

CONNECTIONS Magazine 2017 • 47

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