For minority and women supplier diversity business entrepreneurs

There’s little doubt that Gary Stiffler personifies the concept of a self-made man.That the road to success wasn’t paved, and actually began in rural Ohio makes his story all the more compelling.

Stiffler is president and CEO of The MATLET Group, a packaging, commercial and digital print solutions provider headquartered in Pawtucket, Rhode Island with revenues in excess of $100 million. After a 30-year career in the printing industry at R.R. Donnelly, Quebecor World and others, his journey to the world of entrepreneurship seems to be borne from a pleasant set of circumstances. 

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This post is not to complain about what is but instead offer hope and action items that can harness positive energy for future change. Based on recent industry under­standings, interactions, and experiences, we envision the revolutionary start of a new chapter around workforce inclusion and vendor partnerships, hereinafter “advocacy.” Many of us are already aware that when it comes to advocacy in the advertising industry, there are some valiant causes to be defended, many hopeless cases to be conceded and others bureaucratically wrapped up without any concrete follow-up or follow-through steps toward resolution or advancement.

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WEConnect Inter­national envisions a world in which women have the same opportunity as their male counterparts to design and implement business solutions that create wealth and ensure the sustainable prosperity of their communities. Five years ago, our global team started working with local representatives in India to identify, educate, register, and certify women’s business enterprises that are at least 51 percent owned, managed, and controlled by one or more women. To date, we have offered business training and networking opportunities to thousands of women business owners throughout the country.

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From the top down, my workforce is made up of a rich, colorful, cross-cultural group of people. To begin with, I am an Irish immigrant who made Silicon Valley my home after I left university. The first person I hired when I launched my company was a Latino who would later bring on his sister, and, shortly after that, their nephew. Today, the majority of my employees hail from, among other places, Asia, Latin America, and the Near East. As you can imagine, establishing and maintaining a harmonious work environment in which cultural norms are anything but, can be a challenge.

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Mary Shulenberger’s drive to differentiate her business from the competition led to more than just a strategic repositioning. It led to creating a new technology product category altogether.

She formed her firm, Parle Innovation (Pi), in April 2010, at the same time Apple introduced its first iPad. Shulenberger realized the iPad’s potential as a business tool immediately, and envisioned accessories that would help professionals and consumers take full advantage of the technology.

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MBE Resource Center

MBE's Business Opportunities resource covers business-related financing, consulting, and programs available for the Supplier Diversity community and M/WBEs. Updated monthly.

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MBE's M/WBE Resource Directory is a comprehensive list of resource organizations (including links) that support the Supplier Diversity community and M/WBEs.

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Refer to MBE's Acronyms & Terminology list for frequently used acronyms and terminology and an overview of the major organizations supporting the Supplier Diversity community.

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