BEQ Today

The world is big enough.

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By Robin Dillard

I swear (OK, I shouldn’t swear), but I can’t help but marvel at all the talented people and especially the business owners and diversity professionals I have access to every day. There are three with more than 55 years of procurement, sourcing and supplier diversity experience collectively who I want to acknowledge. Robin Pulford (American Airlines-Retired), Michael Robinson (IBM) and Joy Wong (New York Life) have all agreed to join our inaugural Advisory Board. Each of them, and a few others I hope to announce soon, have always generously shared the kind of insights and access that makes all the difference when starting a new venture. And, they are some of the kindest souls I know. Thank you. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in business are always top-of-mind for me and I’m never at a loss for finding like-minded individuals from all over the world with different experiences to keep me grounded, growing and learning.

It’s spring and there are already so many reasons to celebrate. Like the 31st Annual Forum on Workplace Inclusion in Minneapolis next month. In the meantime, I’d like to invite you to read all about their new podcast which covers industries and DEI topics around the globe. The great thing about podcasts is you can take them wherever you go, no matter what you have to do. So far there are eight episodes, just enough to keep your mind occupied on your travels.

I’ll be kicking off Women’s History Month and this issue of BEQ Pride in Houston where I’ll get to introduce my ally superhero and Wonder Twin, Eduardo Placer, of Fearless Communicators, to all the fierce women and their allies at WBENC’s Summit & Salute. Eduardo’s focus on the voices of ‘Visionary Women Leaders’ is something I recently experienced first-hand. His process is powerful, his preparation is thorough and his passion for his craft is visceral. What I love most about my kinship with Eduardo is that he speaks the language of allyship by being a force for good in spaces that need his bright light the most.

I am gay-adjacent (a straight woman working with the LGBTQ community) and he is woman-adjacent (a man on a mission for women) and we like it like that. We grace the BEQ Pride cover with our beautiful friends (Valerie, Kristin, Melissa, Hiroko, Stephanie and Debra) from the Fearless Force, Circle 11 in NYC. The article by Melissa Lowery provides insight on why this certified LGBTBE® business owner is called the Story Doula.

Speaking of allyship, Julie Tarney shares her perspective and experience as a mother of an LGBTQ child, now adult. Her wisdom is profound, and her advice is gentle as it comes from having to navigate unfamiliar terrain and trying desperately not to do any harm. If you find you are parenting an LGBTQ person, what I’m learning from Julie is you should be sure to open your heart first and then listen and listen deeply to your child. Julie’s book and her blog, both titled My Son Wears Heels, are filled with universal truths about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression for any adult caregiver of LGBTQ children.

We also have an amazing piece that highlight’s JPMorgan Chase’s Women on the Move initiative with managing director Samantha Saperstein, its leader and champion. This multipronged initiative has an entire component dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs and business owners grow and expand their businesses. The initiative started in 2013, reaching women inside the firm, outside the firm and across the planet. We all win when we invest in women and women-owned enterprises.

It feels good to have resources invested in you, it feels better to deliberately invest in yourself. We are introducing to some and reacquainting others to a group of four WBEs on purpose. They are investing time in each other and in themselves with a tried and true circle of friends. I recall meeting Ebony and Crystal in Detroit while attending the Coca-Cola Women of Color event where Dee C. Marshall was a featured speaker. I was getting a sense of their camaraderie as well as their dedication to their businesses from across the table. During the lunch break, they shared they had started a mastermind with Dee and Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour. True to form I whipped out my camera and the rest is history. I promised I’d have my team follow-up to get the scoop on their success and how they are taking their businesses to the top together.

I have but one more, very important article I want to be sure you see. In my opinion, it’s a game changer from Stefanie Francis of Hootology. “Hoot what?”… you know I read your mind. Remember, we proudly introduced you to her as our BEQ Pride cover feature this time last year.

Stefanie has proven why inclusion matters. The data scientist that lives deep inside her was determined to apply her genius to better understanding the links between supplier diversity and the metrics that shareholders and the C-suite care most about. She and her Hootology team have struck gold—that is, for their clients—with their brand-new Supplier Diversity Impact Indicator (SDII). We are thrilled to be the first publication to take a closer look and share what they’ve found.

After 50 years of Supplier Diversity, a woman and LGBT-owned and certified business brings us hardcore data that supports what we’ve all intuitively known. Go see for yourself. Spoiler alert, there is a link between a consumer’s awareness of Supplier Diversity and their propensity to make a purchase. Kudos to Stefanie and team and to the brands who have already signed up for a detailed study.

Happy spring and don’t mind me, I’m going to get ready for World Pride, LGBT Week® and the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. You see, the world is big enough—you can always find exactly what you’re looking for. See you soon.

Robin Signature

Business Equality Pride (BEQPride) is the first publication from the BEQ family of national print and digital magazines exclusively addressing the needs of LGBTQ small-to-medium sized businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals.