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This month, I am sharing juicy intel about Supplier Diversity Managers. Imagine going to a supplier diversity event, you're excited about the opportunities. You talk with various Supplier Diversity Managers and you believe they will be your advocate. With your best foot forward (lasting impressions are made in the first 30 seconds) you are hoping they will help you connect with the right people, guide you and all your dreams will come true! Sounds amazing, right?

Not so fast. Not all Supplier Diversity Managers are equal and not all are your friends. Some Supplier Diversity Managers will lead you down a direct path, while others will simply distract you along an unguided tour. Keep reading to learn how to tell if your Supplier Diversity Manager is your friend... or foe.

Tammy L. Davis
CEO/Chief Relationship Officer
Relationship Builder/Change Influencer/Training Expert
Connect with me on LinkedIn
"Just Register in the Supplier Database." ~said no good Supplier Diversity Manager
Supplier Diversity Manager - Friend or Foe?
Like any good business partnership, it takes time and energy to build a trusting relationship. However, at times, there are signs that a relationship is not going to work out. My goal is to provide you with insight to help you determine up-front when a relationship with a Supplier Diversity Manager (SDM) is likely to pan out in your favor.

Let's look at the following two scenarios representing a Friend versus Foe. In EACH scenario, you have reached out to the SDM to request more information about an opportunity you saw and to ask for an introduction to the appropriate department, leader or even better, a key decision maker

Focused Direction: The SDM answers with a bright and interested voice. They are happy to talk with you and to learn even more about you and your businesses. They realize the level of excellence AND the experience you can bring to the table. They offer to connect you with the key decision maker and give you important details as to how to make the meeting successful. They share information about the decision maker’s personality and their expectations. They are guiding you to increase your chances of success. They truly are your liaison. You sense they are well connected within the organization and able to guide and ... This SDM is your friend!

Unguided Distraction: The SDM acts uninterested and can't tell you who you should connect with, let alone offer an introduction. But you still have hope! You inquire about other opportunities in their pipeline, but low and behold, the SDM does not have that information. In fact, they don't even attempt to learn more about your business. It becomes obvious this conversation is pointless. You tactfully end the conversation, realizing this SDM is not well connected within the organization and therefore is unable or unwilling to offer introductions and your efforts, at best, will result in meandering attempts at connections leading nowhere. This SDM is your Foe.

A Supplier Diversity Manager who is your ‘Friend’ will be your champion! They will provide guidance throughout the process. They will be your liaison between you and where you want to go and GROW your business within the company.

Those are two very disparate stories. Yet, each can happen, and you need to have your radar on to detect and respond appropriately early in the process. I've put together a printable checklist with 10 questions to ask yourself to help you determine whether a Supplier Diversity Manager is your friend or foe! I'd love to hear your feedback. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this special intel!
Making the Most of Supplier Diversity Events
Before you go to your next supplier diversity event, let's talk about what to look for. Why? Because if the corporate culture does not truly want a more diverse supplier base and is only paying "lip service", even the best Supplier Diversity Manager in the world might not be able to help you. Here are three ‘signs’ to look for:

  • The organization does not have a nice display. They sent one person to sit at a table with a few brochures.
  • The organization has an impressive booth, but the Supplier Diversity Manager only talks about themselves and their organization. They don't inquire about your business or your services.
  • The Supplier Diversity Manager is not able to tell you about any of their opportunities and simply tells you to register in their database.

In any of these scenarios, my advice to you is to… keep moving. I say this with one caveat; an impressive booth with all the shiny bells and whistles can make it hard to decipher true intentions. Sometimes, it’s best to wait to make your final determination until the follow-through stage. If the Supplier Diversity Manager makes promises, but does not follow-through after the show, keep moving.
Bonus Tip: What is the #1 sign that the organization is serious about building a diverse supplier base? They come prepared! Their Supplier Diversity Manager has documentation of the organization's pipeline and is willing and able to help guide you to opportunities that fit your business. This Supplier Diversity Manager can be your friend. Make an effort to build a solid, lasting relationship.
In The Community
Enriching Your Learning & Expanding Your Opportunities
R.O.A.R. Conference & Matchmaker
Sponsored by Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council (EMSDC)
March 19 @ 7:30 am - 5:00 pm.
I have been invited by Monica Kang, CEO of InnovatorsBox and Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at BAU International University, Washington, DC, to discuss my Entrepreneurial journey, insights, and wisdom and to participate in a Q&A session.
About Nexlevel Consulting Services, LLC : Nexlevel Consulting Services provides organizational change management, training, and system implementation services. Our philosophy is "One Team, One Mission " which supports you in moving from working in an “individual” silo to a collaborative environment aligned with your mission, culture and goals. We do this by breaking down the walls of technology to connect your people, processes and systems; for all three to have a voice and work together in your transformation. Again, “ One Team One Mission."

Tammy is available for Speaking : Tammy offers a fresh, new and exciting perspective on topics related to organizational change management, diversity certifications, training and communication approaches. She exudes enthusiasm , and her audiences can't help but to be drawn in by her energy. To learn more about hiring Tammy as a speaker, call (800) 511-8193 . View Speaker Bio