During my internship, I had the opportunity to speak with Ronald Garnett, the President and CEO of Council for Supplier Diversity, and learned about the Council and its impacts on suppliers, buyers and communities. The Council uses Supplier Diversity initiatives as an engine for economic development in under-represented communities, including women, minorities, service-disabled veteran, LGBTQ and disabled business enterprises.
The Council’s effort on reducing poverty, lowering unemployment, increasing wealth, and integrating American society really inspires me. I believe that economic development requires creative and active participation among communities, governments and business entities.
The Council’s partnership with the Reshoring Institute is an important one. When companies decide to bring manufacturing back to America, they must also rebuild their supply base. The Council for Supplier Diversity can connect Reshoring companies with a robust and enthusiastic supply base across most industries. This gives companies an opportunity to source from underrepresented suppliers in America that they may not have considered before.
To rebuild the American middle class through manufacturing jobs, the Reshoring Institute and Council for Supplier Diversity collaborate to create pathways to success. In addition to connecting local suppliers with buyers, the Council also gives back to the communities by empowering youth. Instead of picking charities to donate to, the Council aggregates its resources and gives back to underserved communities. For example, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy serves mostly high school students to learn what it takes to own and operate a business. The Academy provides young entrepreneurs opportunities to exchange ideas with business owners who facilitate the program. This program gives youth a whole new sense of what economic opportunities might be available to them, and awareness that they may do whatever they dream of.
I also learned that a diverse supply base creates dynamic competition, where suppliers have to be more flexible, cost effective, innovative and adaptive to lean practices. Buyers benefit economically by sourcing from a more diverse and competitive supplier base. I believe that the challenges in competition provide mutual growth and important learning.