Doing Business with Corporations
During this session, suppliers will have the chance to learn the ins and outs of securing and fulfilling corporate contracts. Senior supplier diversity leaders from a wide range of industries will come together to share their insights and best practices to help prepare suppliers to better fill supply chain gaps amidst major supply chain disruptions.
Securing Business Contacts with Corporations
Learn from corporation leaders at AARP, AT&T, Boston Scientific, Caesars Entertainment, Cushman & Wakefield, Denny's, Edwards Lifesciences, Enterprise Holdings, ICIC Goldman Sachs 10000 Small Businesses, Kellogg Corporation, Liberty Mutual, Logitech, MassMutual, Merck, PepsiCo, Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, T-Mobile, Trane Technologies, UPS, US Bank, and Walmart about how small businesses can best prepare to address supply chain issues and seize these opportunities.
Senior Supplier Diversity Sourcing ManagerAT&T
Senior Supplier Diversity Sourcing Manager
Roger Cheng recently joined AT&T as a Sr. Supplier Diversity Sourcing Manager. Prior to AT&T, Roger spent the previous 14+ years with M/WBEs in the technology space leading business development through Supplier Diversity.
Roger, also known as “The Voice,” has served as emcee or VOG for a number of organizations across the country. In 2017, Roger was recognized as the #Hes4Shes Champion at the WBENC National Conference.
Vice President of ProcurementCaesars Entertainment, Inc.
Vice President of Procurement
Caesars Entertainment, Inc.
Alan has over 20+ years of experience in Purchasing & Warehousing Management in the Entertainment & Hospitality Industry. Alan joined Caesars Entertainment in June 2011 and is currently the Vice President of Procurement responsible for overseeing Regional Procurement, Warehousing, Supplier Diversity and Sustainability for all Caesars’ properties. Prior to this role, Alan has held multiple Regional Director positions throughout the country most recently the Senior Director of the Western Region. Before coming to Caesars, Alan spent 4 years as the Purchasing Manager at The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in Asheville, NC and 10 years as the Purchasing and Warehouse Manager at Six Flags America in Maryland.
Head of Supplier DiversityCushman & Wakefield
Head of Supplier Diversity
Cushman & Wakefield
Egwu Nwankpah is the Head of Supplier Diversity at Cushman & Wakefield. Egwu is responsible for establishing and maintaining the Global Supplier Diversity Strategy. Egwu is a key part of both the Procurement function as well as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team. In this role he is an advocate for diverse suppliers, provides critical information related to current and potential diverse suppliers, leads engagement with external organizations aligned to supplier diversity, and promotes utilization of diverse suppliers globally to both internal and external stakeholders.
Before coming to Cushman & Wakefield, Egwu was a Vice President at Bank of America as he served as part of the Supplier Diversity and Responsible Sourcing team. Egwu is noted by several supplier diversity councils and organizations for his work in the field of Supplier Diversity. Prior to his work at Bank of America, Egwu was a Manager in the Financial Services group of Deloitte & Touché LLP. In that role, he provided auditing, accounting and advisory services to both public and private clients, inclusive of banks, broker dealers and mortgage banks. Egwu has more than 23 years of combined relevant experience in the realms of internal audit and advisory services, vendor management, supplier diversity/development, diversity, equity and inclusion.
Egwu earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Accounting from Andrews University where he graduated as a member of the prestigious J. N. Andrews Honors Program. He holds an MBA from the R.H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, where his focus area was Global Strategy. He is a Certified Public Accountant (NY, MD,and CA), Certified Auditor (IIA), a Chartered Global Management Accountant (AICPA).
In his spare time Egwu is very involved in local and national civic activities, church activities, cheering for various sports teams, and most importantly spending quality time with his beautiful wife and three daughters.
Manager - Supplier Diversity and InclusionDelta Air Lines
Manager - Supplier Diversity and Inclusion
Delta Air Lines
Axel D. Adams is employed with Delta Air Lines as a Manager in Supplier Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion where he and his colleagues are responsible for ensuring diverse businesses have an opportunity to secure contracts for business with Delta. Prior to Delta, he had a brief stint as National Director of African American Outreach with 2020 Presidential Candidate Tom Steyer’s Campaign. His overall responsibility keeping the campaign focused on AA voters, issues, concerns and what is most important to them.
Axel’s most noted employment was noted with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC) where the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. is the Founder and President. Axel served in a many roles such as the Chief Operations Officer in the Chicago Headquarters managing all operations/departments of the organization. staff, finance, education, trade bureau, press, finding, national and regional conventions, and cooperate relationships, emerging markets, and regional offices to name a few. He also held the positions of Bureau Chief, and National Youth Director.
Prior to RPC, Axel was with Westinghouse Savannah River Company as a supervisor in the Nuclear Materials Processing Division. During his employment there, he was the first African American to receive the Community Service Award.
Axel is a recipient of many awards/honors such as the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama; The Georgia Assembly passed House Bill 1984 for his dedication to the betterment of the citizens of the State of Georgia; South Carolina Senate recognized Axel Adams and passed Resolution 1118 for his significant contributions and outstanding achievements in the fields of politics, business, and community outreach. He is the author of “The Journey”, a book detailing his life experiences in politics, community service, and social activism. He is President of the Axel Adams Foundation (www.axeladamsfoundation.com), which is committed to making long-term improvements in education, health and wellness, and combating socioeconomic issues in the Central Savannah River Area. Axel has the honor of being the first African American elected to serve on City Council in New Ellenton South Carolina at the early age of 22 years old, serving two-four-year elected terms on city council. And he was Acting-Mayor and Police commissioner for three years, and the first African American to serve in this capacity as well.
He has a master’s in business administration, and bachelor’s degree in business management. Axel says that God is first and foremost in his life.
Director, Indirect SourcingEdwards Lifesciences
Director, Indirect Sourcing
Corporate Supplier Diversity ManagerEnterprise Holdings
Corporate Supplier Diversity Manager
Dwayne Norris has worked for Enterprise Holdings for the past 17 years. During his time he has served on the North American DE&I Team for Enterprise Holdings for two years from 2018-2020 and the Southeast Region DE&I Team for Enterprise Holdings two years from 2020-2022. He managed daily rental operations as an Area Manager with Enterprise in Orlando FL, including the Orlando International Airport (Largest car rental facility in the world). He is an Alumni of the University of Florida where he earned a BA in History w/ concentration on General Business. He was also a student athlete, playing football at the University of Florida from 2001-2004 (Defensive Tackle). Dwayne was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.
Director, Corporate Procurement & Supplier DiversityHilton
Director, Corporate Procurement & Supplier Diversity
Simone Ray leads Hiltons award-winning Supplier Diversity program, advancing their commitment to increase diversity in supply chain. She partners with HSM category leaders to identify, develop, and mentor minority suppliers. Simone also collaborates closely with Hilton’s D&I team and is always looking for a referral to small and minority business owners! She is originally from Orlando, Florida and attended Florida State University with a concentration on Merchandising. She’s worked with leading retail companies such as Macy’s and JC Penney, holding positions in buying, planning and product development. For her work at Hilton, she was named Buyer of the Year in 2020 by Minority Business News USA. In her free time Simone enjoys hosting events and meeting like-minded creative and community leaders.
Supplier Diversity ManagerKellogg's
Supplier Diversity Manager
Debra Quade is the Supplier Diversity Manager at Kellogg Company. Prior to joining Kellogg, she served as Supplier Diversity Specialist at Toyota Boshoku America in Erlanger, Kentucky and Magna Donnelly in Holland, Michigan.
Debra serves on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in addition to leading a MiDiCo module for supplier inclusion and opportunity. She represents Kellogg Company on the National Minority Supplier Development Council Working Group, and the Corporate Advisory Council for the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in addition to participating on the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council Programs Committee, the Food Marketing Institute Group Supplier Diversity Committee, WEConnect International Agricultural Industry Group and the Food & Beverage Industry Group.
Head, Global Supplier DiversityLogitech
Head, Global Supplier Diversity
Specialist, Global Economic Inclusion & Supplier DiversityMerck
Specialist, Global Economic Inclusion & Supplier Diversity
Andrea Arce is a Specialist, Global Economic Inclusion & Supplier Diversity at Merck. Joining the company in 2019, as part of the Global Economic Inclusion & Supplier Diversity Team, Andrea has been responsible for supporting Research Development Sourcing & Procurement category when it pertains to sourcing diverse suppliers. Andrea also leads the Merck Drexel Advanced Leadership Program for Diverse Suppliers, along with external and internal communications. Prior to joining Merck, Andrea was the Site Manager at Express Employment Professionals, where she was responsible for large clients and their staffing needs. Andrea has a Bachelor of Arts from William Paterson University.
Director, Global Inclusion & Supplier DiversityMerck
Director, Global Inclusion & Supplier Diversity
Raul Suarez-Rodriguez currently serves as Director, Global Economic Inclusion and Supplier Diversity at Merck. In this role, Raul is responsible to drive diverse supplier inclusion, innovation and economic growth through lens of the company mission by partnering with internal business leaders and external advocacy groups to grow mutual value, and create a lasting impact on the business and communities where we live and work.
Raul joined Merck in 2018 from CVS Health, where he led their Supplier Diversity Program to Best In Class by being inducted into the Billion Dollar Roundtable and winning several top awards including National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) Corporation of the Year for Innovation, DiversityInc Top Companies (No.1) for Supplier Diversity, and Americas Top Corporation for Women Business Enterprises.
Raul is recognized for his creative and innovative thinking and transformation efforts in Supplier Diversity. Most recently, he was recognized as the Supply Chain Advocate of the Year by Disability: IN for his work around Disability Owned Business Enterprises where he serves as the Procurement Council Co-Chair. Also, the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council (GNEMSDC) recognized Raul as Advocate of the Year and Shining Star. Raul co-led the Retail Industry Group (RIG) driving change and strategy while advocating for diverse businesses to become strategic partners in the global economy for major retail companies. Raul serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Diversity Alliance for Science.
Raul holds a Master in Business Administration with a concentration in Leadership, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Nova Southeastern University
Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP)NASA
Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP)
Mr. Robert Medina is the Deputy Associate Administrator, for the Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) at NASA Headquarters (HQ), since January 2023. Prior to this position, he served as a Small Business Program Manager, at NASA HQ OSBP, from September 2019 to December 2022. Mr. Medina was a Senior Procurement Analyst and Small Business Specialist at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, in Edwards, California from March 1994 through September 2019.
Mr. Medina is a native of Las Cruces, New Mexico and graduated from New Mexico State University in 1979 with a Bachelor of Accounting degree. After graduation he continued to work with NASA. He began his career with NASA in 1977 as a cooperative education student.
During his forty-five years with NASA, Mr. Medina has worked in many different procurement positions and at different NASA Centers. He has worked as a purchasing agent, price analyst, contract specialist, contracting officer, procurement analyst, and small business specialist. In addition to his procurement background, he worked three years at NASA Headquarters in the Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology, as an Institutional Program Manager, having oversight over NASA’s three Research Centers (Ames, Langley, and Glenn). Most recently, Mr. Medina served on a detail at NASA Headquarters in the Office of Small Business Programs, from December 2016 through December 2017, serving as a Small Business Program Manager with oversight of the small business programs at NASA Stennis Space Center, NASA Shared Services Center, and NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center.
Mr. Medina has been a long-time supporter and member of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA). He is a NCMA Fellow and has held a number of NCMA chapter office positions, as well as national functional positions. Mr. Medina also is a member of the Department of Defense (DoD) Western Regional Council for Small Business Education and Advocacy and has served on the Executive Board for the council, as well as a chairperson of the council’s Interface Committee. In 2008 and 2013, he was selected as NASA’s Small Business Specialist of the Year
Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI)Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI)
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
Marcus graduated from Bowie State University with a degree in Communications and concentration in Broadcast Journalism. After graduating, Marcus worked for companies such as Digital, EDS and MCI Worldcom and has 30 years of acquisitions and small business experience. Marcus previously worked at the Federal Aviation Administration for 20 years as a senior contracting officer in acquisitions and senior program analyst in the small business office, while also serving as the Program Manager for FAA’s Mentor-Protégé Program responsible for over 70 mentor-protégé and joint venture partnerships.
Marcus joined The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in 2018 and is currently the Business Procurement Analyst and Small Business Specialist leading the Small Business Program in the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion. Marcus is passionate about working with small businesses and assisting in their growth. He believes small businesses are the backbone of society and there is a renewed energy around Supplier Diversity and Inclusion in today’s workplace which should pave the way for incredible growth in the small business community.
Supplier Diversity ManagerSouthern California Edison
Supplier Diversity Manager
Southern California Edison
Dennis J. Thurston, a 36-year employee of Southern California Edison (SCE), beginning in August of 1987 serving in his current capacity as a Supplier Diversity Program Manager for 25 years assisting small and diverse businesses understand the Company’s general procurement practices and procedures.
Prior to SCE, Mr. Thurston worked at Consolidated Edison in New York bringing 12 years of experience with him.
In 2021, Dennis received the 2021 Corporate Advocate of the Year Award from the Southern California Minority Development Council.
In 2018, Dennis received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native American Indian Chamber of Commerce of California for outstanding work within the Native American business community and tribal leaders.
The U.S. Small Business Administration, Santa Ana District Office selected Dennis as the 2017 Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year for his devotion to the success and advancement of Veterans in business in his professional capacity at SCE and his personal life.
During the 2017 Inaugural Veterans In Business (VIB) Network National Conference, Dennis Thurston received the Above & Beyond Bravo Zulu Award recognizing Veteran Business Advocates that go Above & Beyond to help the Veteran business community grow and succeed.
In 2016 Dennis was nominated for the State Agency Recognition Awards (SARA) given by the Department of General Services.
In recognition of his contributions as a role model of Edison International’s values and guiding behaviors of integrity, continuous growth and improvement, excellence, respect, and teamwork, Dennis was awarded the Chairman’s Award, now the Edison Award in 2009. Edison selects only 40 employees out of over 15,000 for the first of the prestigious award.
Mr. Thurston still volunteers for many community activities geared toward mentorship and guidance of small and diverse businesses in the areas of career, jobs, and starting businesses.
For the past 27 years, served as an off-ice official for the National Hockey League (NHL) assigned to the Anaheim Ducks and Dennis represented the NHL at the first ever game played outside North America in Japan, Helsinki, and Berlin.
Senior Program Manager, Supplier DiversityT-Mobile
Senior Program Manager, Supplier Diversity
Accomplished leader with over 20 year's experience managing Supplier Diversity, Contract Negotiations and leading cross-functional teams of an organization to achieve cost savings. Write policy language, programs and processes to advance a corporation's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion goals. Joyce recently developed T-Mobile’s workforce development program - NextTech Diversity to nationally fund training and job placement for women and men of color to become network technicians and network equipment drivers.
Author of "Dressing Classy Doesn't Change" which provides women an overview of the do's and don'ts of proper workplace attire. Information that Corporate America doesn’t share with women is included in this book. One Reader Commented: The author has hit the "nail on the head" as she mixes humor, personal experiences and concrete advice regarding proper attire for women in any setting and at any income level. Women buy this fun and easy to read book for you and all the young girls you know. Men buy it for all the women in your life. It is a keepsake.
Edkedsha (KeeKee) Mathis
Supplier Sustainability & Diversity Senior LeaderTrane Technologies
Edkedsha (KeeKee) Mathis
Supplier Sustainability & Diversity Senior Leader
KeeKee joined Trane Technologies in April 2021, before joining Trane Technologies, she worked in the automotive industry for thirteen years at Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. where she was the Supplier Diversity Manager. Her accolades include an array of awards, acknowledgements, and nationwide recognitions including but not limited to 2017 and 2022 Corporation of the Year and Corporate Representative of the Year for (TSMSDC) TriState Minority Supplier Development Council and 2022 USPAACC Corporation of the Year. She has been recognized for many years as one of the Top 30 Diversity Professionals and Women Leading Diversity on a national level as a leader in the Supplier Diversity community. She has held many board seats and has chaired many boards across the nation. She is a graduate of Leadership Chattanooga, Urban League’s Inclusion by Design, YALP, and is a part of the current cohort of Leadership Tennessee. KeeKee brings more has more than 26+ years within purchasing which includes supporting as a regional buyer, service buyer, supply chain support, key user for all the purchasing systems and continuous improvement such as (TPM) Total Planned Maintenance, QCDSM, and Lean Management. She is committed to mentor diverse suppliers but also to build strategic “partnerships” and “alliances” with diverse suppliers. Now, also leading supplier sustainability within her organization her role is the integration of social, ethical, and environmental performance factors into the process of selecting suppliers. The goal is to build strong, long term relationships with suppliers as we “Boldly challenge what’s possible for a sustainable world.”
KeeKee holds has a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from University of Phoenix, Chattanooga, TN.
Director, Supplier Diversity and DevelopmentUnion Bank
Director, Supplier Diversity and Development
Donna Ruff joined the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team, managing Supplier Diversity & Development at Union Bank in 2018, where the bank was committed to promoting economic vitality in the communities they serve and increasing the number of diverse business enterprises from which they purchase goods and services.
Donna brings a unique perspective to Supplier Diversity, having sat on both sides of the table as a prime supplier and as a large corporation that prime suppliers seek to partner with. She works diligently to help diverse businesses do business with the bank and find other growth opportunities for those businesses. Donna brings her knowledge and experiences to continue building on strong, sustainable, and inclusive initiatives. She holds a bachelor’s degree and MBA. Before joining the Union Bank family, Donna brings more than 15 years of experience, jointly supporting business development and managing supplier diversity for a non-diverse private corporation, where she was successful at bringing new revenue streams to the company and creating/implementing the company-wide supplier diversity program.
Donna is a committee participant with the Financial Services Roundtable for Supplier Diversity, Western Regional Supplier Development Council Board Member and Board Secretary, Advisory Council Co-Chairperson for the Asian Business Association – Los Angeles, Advisory Council Member with the UC Small and Diverse Business Advisory Council, Veterans in Business Network Corporate Advisory Board Member, California Commanders Veteran Council Member, Council for Supplier Diversity San Diego Board Member and Vermont Slauson Educational Development Corporation Board Member
Senior Director, Supplier Diversity SourcingWalmart
Senior Director, Supplier Diversity Sourcing
As of January 2023, Sherry leads the strategy and team responsible for building an inclusive supply chain at Walmart that is reflective of Walmart’s customer base. She is tasked with helping to grow Walmart’s direct and indirect spend with certified diverse owned businesses. Her team works as business partners to help build diverse supplier connections, drive internal engagement, and support external stakeholder collaborations all in service of helping to level the playing field for diverse owned businesses to grow with Walmart.
Prior to taking on this role Sherry was Director, Sustainability Walmart.Org from October 2016 where she led several commitments and programs. Sherry began her Walmart career in 2012 at Massmart in South Africa, where she was responsible for accelerating Massmart’s flagship supplier development program with a focus on diverse suppliers, women owned suppliers and small and medium-sized businesses. Prior to Walmart, Sherry had a career in international development, international trade, and management consulting. Sherry holds an MPhil in International Relations from the University of Oxford where she was a Rhodes Scholar and a BA (Hons) Political Science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal where she was a Ronald H. Brown Foundation for Commercial Diplomacy fellow.