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CelebrASIAN 2021 Turns into a Goldmine of Supplier Diversity information, Re-assures Minority Businesses of Inclusion and More Opportunities

As USPAACC completed a 3-day flagship CelebrASIAN Business + Procurement Conference, Agility and Adaptability were the key takeaways for the small, minority, and diverse business community.

Now on its 36th year, USPAACC assembled 66 speakers from Fortune 1000 Corporations, Federal Agencies, Chamber Leadership Alliance Presidents, CEOs, and Founders, and Pan Asian American suppliers and entrepreneurs over 25 sessions for the CelebrASIAN Conference. More than 800 participants tuned in on the virtual platform, held June 8 – 10.

The third day of the conference built upon the substantive business development forums and discussions of the previous two days, also focused on opportunities in the supply chain, latest best practices, strategies, and the big picture on procurement.

Congresswoman Young Kim (R-CA) started off the day with encouraging remarks on how minority communities supported each other during the pandemic. Subash Iyer, Chief Counsel, Federal Transit Administration of U.S. Department of Transportation, shared his insights on how jobs are the centerpiece in the re-opening of the economy especially through increased infrastructure funding. Edith McCloud, MBDA, U.S. Dept of Commerce applauded USPAACC’s work and effort and shared her agency’s mission in expanded help for the minority business community.

At the second round of the popular CPO Forum Rachel Kutz, VP, Global Connections Supply Chain Strategic Initiatives, AT&T said, “Organizations are being intentional in their approach and MBEs should show up well.” She encouraged minority businesses to know their financial capabilities, learn how to respond to RFPs, and ask for help when necessary. “We are here to mentor,” Kutz added. Talking about the evolution of the supply chain and current trends in procurement, Shahid Javed, CPO, TIAA, said, “Don’t be a generalist, be a specialist. MBEs should be demanding.” Wassel Lewis, CPO, Aflac, emphasized risk management as a prerequisite.

Jalayana Bolden, Director, AT&T, shared key tips for prospective suppliers to major corporations: “Get certified and register with organizations like USPAACC and build a portfolio. Sell us the solutions, not just your products. Share ideas on how to save money and increase efficiency. Help us help you get into our supply chain.”

Clayton Judge III, Global D&I Lead, Nike, shared the corporation’s plans to increase participation from diverse communities: “We are starting a mentorship and internship diversity program called the Nike Academy. We focus on connection, innovation, competition, and impact for our Diversity and Inclusion initiatives.”

Gigi Dixon, Executive VP & Head of External Engagements, Wells Fargo and USPAACC National President & CEO Susan Au Allen closed the virtual conference in a candid conversation about how far the two organizations’ collaborative work has come. “It is not a conclusion but an intermission, and we will continue our series of innovative D&I programs. We will keep expanding our efforts for small and minority businesses with the help of corporations and the Biden government,” Allen said. “We thank our sponsors, speakers, and participants for helping to make CelebrASIAN conference a big success.”

To learn more about CelebrASIAN Business + Procurement Conference, follow the link here. For more information about USPAACC, click here.

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