Supplier Diversity: Building Capacity and Making a Difference
It is a privilege to be recognized as a White House Champion of Change. Giving back to the community in which I work and live has been incredibly rewarding; to be recognized for doing something that I love makes this award even better.
I am honored to be invited to participate with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s founders, Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell, as a “Champion of Change” on the topic of mentoring. Part of my role as Accenture’s Supplier Diversity Program Manager is to help manage our Diverse Supplier Development Program (DSDP), a formal mentoring program which matches selected minority-owned, women-owned, LGBT-owned, small and other diverse businesses with Accenture executives to mentor and assist in developing and growing the capacity of their businesses. The program also offers training symposia, knowledge exchange and networking opportunities for participants. Accenture is now conducting the third class of this 18-month program and, once complete, we will have mentored over 50 diverse business entities.
Reflecting on my career…I expected to have a certain role for 2 – 3 years and then move on, but have now worked in supplier diversity for almost the entire 11 years I’ve been with Accenture. I’ve stayed not only because Accenture is a dynamic company in an ever changing industry but also because we have grown our Supplier Diversity Program and there are still so many exciting things on the horizon for us to achieve.
Through our mentoring program, we not only provide executive one-on-one mentorship but we also create an 18-month curriculum that focuses on knowledge capital and best practices as well as a wide array of business topics. Our training relies heavily on direct feedback from the DSDP participants, with a focus on covering what is important and relevant to them. The program also provides opportunities for suppliers to learn how to better navigate corporate structures and to network with experts in various parts of the business.
Today we have an even greater focus on collaboration among the protégé companies by challenging them to explore ways in which they can partner with each other. It’s so exciting to see your work payoff and to receive the positive feedback and success stories that come from those in the program. It is truly one of the most rewarding parts of my job and makes me proud to work for Accenture.
Carol Attak is the Supplier Diversity Program Manager for Accenture. She manages the formal mentoring program in which Accenture executives team with selected minority-owned, women-owned, LGBT-owned, small and other diverse suppliers to help them develop and grow their businesses.