“Great networking, great connections. This was the place to be for two days,” Natalie Orta, Small Business Administration, said of SCMSDC’s recent Minority Business Opportunity Day (MBOD). Her sentiment was shared by many who attended the “can’t miss” event for organizations interested in doing business with minority business enterprises (MBEs) and for MBEs who want to advance their business.
Held March 3 and 4 at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City, with Toyota serving as title sponsor for the seventh consecutive year, more than 1,000 MBEs and corporate procurement and supplier diversity representatives came together for networking opportunities, engaging seminars, matchmaking appointments and a popular business opportunity fair.
MBOD 2015 represented one of the best opportunities to turn contacts into contracts, according to SCMSDC President Virginia Gomez. “We’ve heard from several attendees who reported strong business prospects as a result of connections made at MBOD. Whether you’re a corporate member, an MBE, a first-time or 10-time attendee, there are always new connections to be made at MBOD, which can turn into new business leads.”
The first day featured informative workshops led by corporate representatives and successful MBEs who provided insights into working with major corporations and furthering their business success.
Why You Didn’t Win the Award! – There are some definite do’s and don’ts when it comes to submitting request for proposals and two corporate representatives – Vicky Harper-Hall, Northrop Grumman, and Monetta Stephens, Toyota, offered tips on how to stand out from the competition. They advised MBEs to do their homework to get a good understanding of a prospective client’s needs, be concise about the products and services you provide, be realistic about the sales cycle, and make sure certifications are up to date and financials/credit ratings are strong. If you don’t win a contract, ask for a debriefing to see how you can improve the next time. The workshop was moderated by Peter Wittenberg, Technology Integration Group.
The World Wants American-Made Products But… — With a growing need for companies to buy American-made products to satisfy the requirements of federal contracts and ensure quality control, where do you find suppliers and how do you work with them? Moderated by Guillermo “Memo” Kahan, PromoShop, panelists included Elizabeth Glynn, California Manufacturing Technology Consulting, and Michelle Smith-Ballard, Turner Construction. They said trade shows can be a tremendous resource to find suppliers of American-made products. There’s also a benefit to having products from California because of the state’s stringent requirements, especially related to food safety, with many companies paying a premium for California-made products.
Protect Your Business by Protecting Yourself – Business owners are vulnerable to disruptions caused by natural disasters, such as earthquakes, as well as fires and other emergencies. Michael Binkow of the American Red Cross shared emergency preparedness basics, including supplies, having an emergency plan and identifying risks and vulnerabilities.
Why You Failed to Secure Capital for Your Company – Taking your business to the next level often involves accessing capital. Moderated by Louis Green, Supplier Success, a panel comprised of Kunya Nix, Prudential; Lina Elias, JP Morgan Chase; George Paniagua, Southland EDC; and Pat Watts, FCI Management Consultants; discussed what suppliers can do to increase their chances of securing capital. Panelists told the audience to make sure the “5 C’s” (character, capacity, capital, collateral and conditions) are in line. They also stressed the importance of having a strong relationship with the bank. Green said, “People do business with people they know, like and trust. Banks are no different.”
The Truth about Supplier Diversity – Supplier diversity provides benefits for both suppliers and corporations. In a two-part session moderated by Richard Chacon, MUFG Union Bank, N.A., MBEs and corporate representatives shared insights on their experiences with supplier diversity.
>>The Yin and Yang of Supplier Diversity: Navigating the Supplier Diversity Maze – Maurice Brewster, Mosaic Global Transportation and VIP Airport Shuttle, and Sheila Bright, TheBrightOne & Associates Consulting, discussed corporate supplier diversity objectives and how they are at times out of sync with MBEs’. To help MBEs through the supplier diversity maze, they said suppliers should have a solid business plan, a marketing program that covers the “4 P’s” (product, pricing, promotion and placement) and conduct a thorough SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.
>>Supplier Diversity in Action – Two supplier diversity champions — Dicran Arnold, World Wide Technology, Inc., and Jinus Moghbeli, Amgen — shared best practices and tips for advancing supplier diversity and procurement efforts. Their advice to MBEs? Present solutions to problems, introduce yourself to supplier diversity representatives who can help provide access to the company, be relevant and prepared, build relationships, and if you get a contract, deliver exceptional service.
A networking reception followed the workshops, where MBEs and corporate representatives enjoyed additional networking opportunities and a relaxing evening with great food, beverages, music and stunning views of Los Angeles.
For the first time, MBOD’s popular business fair was open all day, giving attendees ample time to meet corporate and MBE exhibitors. Exhibitors represented who’s who in corporate America as well as a wide range of MBEs, featuring such industries as automotive, technology, entertainment, energy, retail and hospitality, food, banking, education and manufacturing.
In addition to title sponsor Toyota, exhibitors and participants included: Southern California Gas Co.; Anthem; Chevron; Southern California Edison; Northrop Grumman Corp.; NBCUniversal; The Walt Disney Company; American Honda Motor Co.; Technology Integration Group (TIG); World Wide Technology, Inc.; Phillips 66; Turner Construction; AG Employer Advantage; American Indian Chamber of Commerce; American Red Cross; Beach Feet; Amgen; Apex Computer Systems; Asian Business Association – Los Angeles; Asian Business Association – Orange County; AT&T; Business Resource Group; California Public Utilities Commission; California Water Association; Cetera Marketing; Collabera; Comerica; Denso; Dickerson Employee Benefits; DTZ; DuckPunk Productions; Employers Choice Online; FCI Management; Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; Herman Miller; IBM; JP Morgan Chase; Kambrian Corporation; Kia Motors America; Latin Business Association; Los Angeles World Airports; Minority Business Enterprises Magazine; Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; Nestle; NuSet Lock; Orange County Transportation Authority; Philatron Wire and Cable; Prudential; Southwest Gas; SuperbTech; Telecom Pacific; Thorpe Energy Services, LLC; Time Warner Cable; UCLA Anderson School of Management; M.U.F.G Union Bank, N.A; U.S. Small Business Association; Valley Economic Development Center; Verizon; Hispanic Network; Black EOE Journal; Professional Woman’s Magazine; U.S. Veterans Magazine; Mosaic Global Transportation; TheBrightOne & Associates Consulting; Supplier Success; California Manufacturing Technology Consulting; PromoShop; Balfour Beatty; Department of Public Works; Hensel Phelps; Jacobs Engineering; Kaiser Permanente; Kiewit Corporation; Los Angeles Community College District; Los Angeles Unified School District; Swinerton; One West Bank; Los Angeles Biz-Fed; University of Southern California; Clark Construction; SABAN; Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation; Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Disabled Veteran Business Alliance, and Operation Hope.
Held concurrently with the business fair were the Construction Hardhat Pavilion, a mini exhibit fair targeting construction and construction-related suppliers, and matchmaking appointments, where suppliers were matched with corporate members looking for specific products/services.
Participating in the Hardhat Pavilion were: Turner Construction; Balfour Beatty; Hensel Phelps; Los Angeles Community College District; The Walt Disney Company; Los Angeles Department of Public Works; Los Angeles Unified School District; Los Angeles World Airports; Jacobs Engineering; Kaiser Permanente; Swinerton; So Cal Gas; USC; Southwest Gas; Kiewit, and Metropolitan Water District.
During lunch, the council recognized corporate supplier diversity champions and presented awards to Yolanda Padilla, Southern California Gas Co., and Arnice Lamb, The Walt Disney Company, recipients of the Supplier Diversity Beacon Award; and Monetta Stephens, Toyota, recipient of the Spirit of Diversity Award.
Later, at the matchmaking appointments, corporate members met with a wide range of suppliers in such areas as facilities, human resources, staffing, legal services, landscaping and professional services. Over 100 appointments were made among suppliers and buyers during the two-hour matchmaking session. Corporate members met with a wide variety of suppliers in areas where they had potential contract opportunities. Recognizing the high value that suppliers and corporate members gain from matchmaking appointments, SCMSDC is pursuing additional opportunities for these activities, including the Supplier of the Year awards.
Participating companies included: American Red Cross; Amgen; AT&T; CBRE; City of LA; Comerica Bank; Golden State Water Company; Herman Miller; Los Angeles World Airports; NBCUniversal; Southern California Gas Company; The Walt Disney Company; Walmart, and Warner Bros.
Voices from MBOD
‘It’s a perfect opportunity to meet new minority business enterprises and participate in the learning sessions. We’re proud to be MBOD’s title sponsor for the 7th straight year.’ – Monetta Stephens, Toyota
‘I see incredible value in MBOD for suppliers and our corporate partners. Where else can you go to get the quality of information provided in the seminars and the opportunity to meet and interact with industry giants? This was a fantastic event.’ – SCMSDC Chair Rick Hobbs, SoCalGas
‘I love the exposure. It solidifies our value with customers and reminds them of our capabilities. We’ve already spoken to several people who will be placing orders with us.’ – Dana Hali, Cetera Marketing
‘Going to MBOD made me realize the opportunity that SCMSDC provides: valuable mentoring, great networking, and a sense of belonging to family that can help nurture ALR Partner’s growth. Best of all, you can see that the organization and people that support it, both suppliers and corporate, are passionate about what they do! Being around that sort of energy really motivates me!’ – Luan Lai, ALR Partners
‘This is our third year exhibiting and although it’s a financial investment, it’s an opportunity to showcase our services, elevate our game and be different from other MBEs. This is an excellent source of advertising and a great forum for making connections.’ – Jan Davis, SuperbTech
‘I see it as a great opportunity for smaller suppliers to interface with potential new business and utilize that time to educate those businesses on their capabilities.’ – Robert Dyer, Walmart
‘Great networking, great connections. This was the place to be for two days.’ – Natalie Orta, Small Business Administration
‘We thoroughly enjoyed the MBOD event this year. The caliber of organizations and talent is unparalleled and is a true testament to the support SCMSDC provides.’- Cody Farzad, Employers Choice Online
‘I met some great people at MBOD. I spoke with every last one of them via email and also matched three vendors with a sourcing manager. They have already scheduled a phone meeting. This event was a perfect match for American Red Cross. Many who attended this event were surprised to know we have a supplier diversity program…’ – Jillnell Joiner, American Red Cross
‘This is my first year as an MBE and I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy myself, I made great connections with other MBEs as well as corporate members. I participated in the workshops, the networking and the matchmaking events.’ — Katherine Hunter-Blyden, KHB Marketing Group
‘We were very pleased with the activity we received at our booth. Many people stopped by to thanks us for the Flexy Cord electrical extension cord, which we provided for every SCMSDC goodie bag…we received great interest from large corporations – including NANA, Wal-Mart, City of Los Angeles, Southern California Edison, Southwest Gas, South Coast Paper, and Artios’ Bell. – Phil Ramos, Jr., Philatron Wire & Cable
Thanks to all sponsors, exhibitors and participants. And, special thanks to:
MBOD Special Event Committee
Monetta Stephens, Toyota
Aura McCracken-Byrd, NBCUniversal
Bonnie Nijst, ZEESMAN
Bill Imada, IW Group, Inc.
Michelle Smith-Ballard, Turner Construction
Karen Blackwell, Nestle North America
Eric Fisher, Southern California Edison
Vicky Harper-Hall, Northrop Grumman Corp.
Kathlina Lai, SoCalGas
Construction Hardhat Committee
Michelle Smith-Ballard, Turner Construction
Giovanna Brasfield, Hensel Phelps
Sophia Cavalli, Balfour Beatty
Mel Jones, Skanska
Steve Lamar, Kaiser
Arnice Lamb, The Walt Disney Company
Rick Moore, Swinerton
Commissioner Monica Rodriguez, City of LA
Veronica Soto, LACCD
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