What We Learned at the 2022 NMSDC Conference about Disruption, Equity, & Socioeconomic Growth
Meeting people again face-to-face is something w3r Consulting has relished over the last year. Whether to build stronger communities or share insights with our peers in the business world, we’ve valued the renewed chance to strengthen our bonds and make an impact in ways only possible in person.
In New Orleans, our team had the opportunity to do just that at the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) 50th Anniversary Conference & Exchange. At this momentous gathering, we joined a diverse group of business leaders and agencies, all passionate about cultivating greater collaboration and inclusivity, to discuss past success and future visions for minority business enterprises (MBEs) and the nation.
“Most people’s personal sentiment was that they were excited to be back together in person,” said Carolyn Ball, Vice President of Strategy and Client Solutions at w3r Consulting. “There were a lot of fresh faces at the conference. As a matter of fact, attendance jumped by 36% since the last face-to-face gathering. It feels like the audience is growing and includes more members who are energized to grow and create value.”
Here’s what we learned at the conference and what that means for business leaders nationwide.
Disrupting The Status Quo
Successful business leaders know the value of shaking up the norm. The art of disruption is what allows enterprises to not only overcome adversity but to thrive in an ever-evolving world. It’s this core concept which inspired the theme “It’s Time to Disrupt Our Own Status Quo” during the NMSDC Conference & Exchange.
During Monday’s keynote, current and past leadership of the nonprofit talked about their commitment to positive disruption. Ying McGuire, CEO and President of the NMSDC, delved into the history of the council (some of which you can learn about here) and talked about how the organization has grown in their ability to drive socioeconomic equity and generational wealth for MBEs. A panel of past NMSDC presidents built upon that story, talking about the challenges of their own tenure as well as the legacies of their initiatives and programs.
Championing a Milestone Business Investment
On top of all the other NMSDC programs, McGuire took time to reaffirm the national council’s commitment to generating $1 trillion in annual revenue for certified MBE members. They have already earned $5.8 billion in corporate pledges on their way to that goal, working with Fortune 500s and other corporations to create win-win-win situations. The council is even providing relevant suppliers with guidance on how to compete for bids made possible by the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law with the “Build Up Local” program, an announcement made at the conference.
“The NMSDC does what other nonprofits, agencies, or even MBEs cannot: create accountability for corporations that claim to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said David Reich, VP of Strategy and Business Development at w3r Consulting. “This council does the work of auditing corporate commitments to move the needle with socioeconomic equity and prosperity.”
Sharing Commitment to Equity
Even during the many sub-sessions, some of which we had a chance to attend, industry leaders talked about the tangible actions taken to advance greater equity and economic growth. One event we attended, the Financial Services Roundtable for Supplier Diversity (FSRSD), offered forecasts and actionable guidance for diverse business leaders and MBEs to incorporate and apply.
The FSRSD provides supplier diversity professionals in the financial services industry with an opportunity to network and benchmark corporate DE&I measures. In our own experiences, we’re seeing technology (everything from an evolving financial services digital strategy to open banking APIs) emerging as a way for MBEs to expand their market share and grow.
The commitment to the NMSDC’s vision was definitely clear when we attended the 35th Annual NMSDC National Black Supplier Reception. Hosted by Ken Harris, Ph.D., President and CEO of the National Business League (NBL), this event discussed the challenges facing black owned businesses and the activities undertaken to support their members.
At the beginning of October, the NBL partnered with the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) to audit corporate commitments to support black businesses after the tragedy of George Floyd’s murder. Their scorecard will help gauge the support of concrete actions taken by corporations to support equity now and in the future.
“Dr. Ken Harris is the type of person who strives to stay attuned to relevant industry trends as well as issues of significance, providing a perspective that helps to elevate the decision-making of those around him,” said Eric Hardy, President and CEO at w3r Consulting. “Hearing him speak emphasized the theme of the conference, that investing in diverse communities, expecting accountability for promises made, and disrupting historic systems of inequality will elevate the outcomes for organizations everywhere.”
Want to stay informed about how events like the 2022 NMSDC conference are changing the business world? Check out our blog for our takeaways and perspectives on the latest developments.