Supplier Diversity Leaders Launch Global Program for Supplier Diversity Training

MBE Magazine Staff
Muslim woman standing in front of whiteboard

Porter Brown Associates and IW Consulting Group partner to launch Supplier Diversity Training Institute (SDTI).

More than ever, supplier diversity professionals are a fundamental component of organizations worldwide, interacting with every facet of an organization from procurement and business development to diversity and inclusion and oftentimes even community relations. Stakeholders must not only have a basic understanding of the supplier diversity function, but also the key competencies needed to lead the organization and achieve results. Responding to these multifaceted demands, the Supplier Diversity Training Institute (SDTI) was launched and facilitated by two noted leaders in supplier diversity and small business development, Kathey Porter, an award-winning, supplier diversity champion and small business strategist and Principal of Porter Brown Associates and Ingrid Watkins, renowned supplier diversity thought leader, a former supplier diversity leader with The Coca-Cola Company, and current Principal & Chief Diversity Strategist of IW Consulting Group, a global diversity program consulting firm. The first cohort was held in Fall, 2020.

Targeting all organizational stakeholders including supplier diversity practitioners, procurement and strategic sourcing professionals, buyers, supply chain professionals, material management, contract compliance officers/analysts, , facilities/construction professionals and D&I leaders. The Supplier Diversity Training Institute (SDTI) allows for a deeper understanding of the industry, its relevance within organizations today, and its increasing importance as a differentiator and driver of economic development in diverse communities. It includes not only an introduction to basic concepts but also practical context for the supplier diversity function in practice, along with the tools for effective, strategic decision-making. Upon completion of the two-day training, participants receive a Supplier Diversity Leadership Certificate. This program is also eligible to receive continuing education credits through the University of Central Florida. 

“This program is pretty novel in its purpose and execution in that it is the first pedagogy-based program that examines the fundamentals of developing an effective, results-driven supplier diversity and inclusion program. It provides an exclusive opportunity for participants to explore key competencies that support diversity and drive performance within their organizations,” says Kathey Porter. “While writing my book on supplier diversity, Implementing Supplier Diversity: A Driver of Entrepreneurship, I had the opportunity to talk to colleagues and industry professionals across the country. Through that experience, it became clear that there was an overwhelming need for this kind of educational experience. The feedback stressed the desire to become more effective in the role, thus, more valuable to the organizations and communities served. Supplier diversity typically interfaces with procurement, supply chain, and construction departments. As the workplace continues to evolve, each of these business facets also evolves and reengineers the competencies and qualifications required of them. Supplier diversity should be no different,” adds Ms. Porter

“The truth is that not every organization has intentionality when it comes to staffing this role. New hires (and sometimes entrenched staff) often have this function added to their primary job description out of necessity. Our hope is that practitioners who are in this role and want to become more effective will leverage the institute as a resource to expand their professional reach. For individuals working collaboratively with supplier diversity practitioners, we hope they walk away with a deeper understanding of how to lead and become an influencer within their organization. Ultimately, the goal is for them to develop the skills necessary to work purposefully and strategically with internal stakeholders to achieve the desired results. This work is critically important to diverse families, businesses and communities and it should not be taken lightly. Supplier diversity practitioners must be committed to ensuring their efforts are impactful, says Ingrid Watkins, Principal & Chief Diversity Strategist, IW Consulting Group. “Our course takes a deep dive into developing multifaceted industry insights, complex skillsets, and expert level effectiveness. The experience is akin to a practicum,” adds Ms. Watkins.

The next cohort is scheduled for Spring, 2021. For more information and to register, go to: Supplier Diversity Training Institute | UCF Continuing Education.




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