October is LGBT History Month, and we are all beneficiaries of the contributions made by LGBT people in the arts, sciences, sports, entertainment, government, philanthropy, business, etc. Spend a few moments reflecting on the brilliance of the many people who have shaped our collective history — people who happen to be LGBT.
In the pages to follow, we spotlight some amazing individuals who are making history now. In their authenticity, these entrepreneurs and community leaders — with the help of allied organizations — are changing the face of diversity by being out in their personal lives and standing true in their respective businesses. They aren’t leading with their orientation — gay, straight or bi-sexual — or with their identity — male, female or non-conforming. They are leading through their brilliant sense of purpose, commitment and innovation. At Affinity, we are committed to bringing the LGBT business equality community together to build LGBT supplier certification and economic empowerment.
We are excited to share the brilliance of Dr. Vivienne Ming who looks at the cost of unrealized human potential with her algorithm for redirecting recruiter hiring practices and her development of a predictive model of diabetes to better manage blood glucose levels using Google Glass.
We also introduce you to TailsSpin Pet Food & Accessories, a Georgia-based small business. In the face of what looked like insurmountable odds, the brilliance of owners Jusak Bernhard and Jeff Manley garnered accolades from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as well as the Georgia District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
We also hear from Time Warner’s Clint Grimes, executive director of procurement services and supplier diversity. Based on his brilliant guidance, potential suppliers interested in doing business with TW should focus their conversation on “how your business can help Time Warner better compete in the marketplace.” Now, that’s sound advice. He also shares that TW has a significant LGBT supplier base; unfortunately, most have not certified as LGBT-owned businesses. Our opportunity lies in encouraging LGBT-owned businesses to get certified as there is strength in numbers.
If you haven’t heard or experienced firsthand International Business Machine Corp.’s commitment to diversity, this issue explains it all. We share in the celebration of a company committed to supplier diversity for 45 years, among other brilliant achievements. IBM’s Tony Tenicela shares how the company has created a globally sensitive corporate culture that fosters and leverages diversity of thought and relationships. It has soared far beyond the intent of the mid-20th century, i.e. equal opportunity legislation and compliance regulations, as the pacesetter to emulate.
When a senior executive of an organization as great as Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. says that the “…diversity of our associates — and by extension our external suppliers — is our absolute strength,” nothing but good can happen. Andrew D. Walker, senior vice president, IT chief financial officer and chief procurement officer at Nationwide, provides brilliant insight on what being “On Your Side” really means in terms of its commitment to the LGBT business equality community.
Cheers to those making history now and inspiring us with their brilliance.
Robin Dillard, Publisher