International Reception, July 24th, 2013. Counsul Generals from both India & China met with WBEs to share their perspective on doing business in their countries.
Keynote Speaker, July 25th, 2013. It pays to show up. It’s not everyday that you get to meet a billionaire in person. For those who attended the 16th Annual Astra Workshops & Awards on July 25th that’s exactly what you did. You met a billionaire. Fellow WBE, Lynn Tilton of Patriarch Partners, didn’t just show up, she fully participated and shared her life experiences with all who were in attendance. It was a day of giving. Lynn told her story from the heart. Take a moment, get to know Lynn.
Another fabulous week in San Leandro, California sharing the Kauffman Foundation’s GrowthVenture Program with WBEs from around the country. Eight WBENC WBEs came together to share experience & expertise over 5 days and learn together how to grow and take their businesses to the next level. Sponsored by Bank of American and Chevron in 2012, the Kauffman Foundation Growth Venture program is designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. They initially didn’t think they needed to be there, what can I learn or re-learn after 20-years in business? What could possibly change? Over a the course of 5 days the women-business owners worked through a 10 module course creating new opportunities for their businesses. On the final day each participate pitched their new vision to the whole group for feedback. Lots of laughs and a few tears – this is what it is all about – helping each other formulate the future.
2012 Kauffman Foundation GrowthVenture Graduates:L-R: Helena Jones, Platinum Realty; Diana Platika, Platika Financial, Facilitator; Sandra James, Private Eyes, Inc; Charlotte Davis, Event Source Professionals;Sandy Hunter, Hunter Hawk, Inc. and Peggy O’Connor, OLC Global.
As of March 31st, 2012, Astra (WBENC) WBEs employ 20,768 people and are generating over $4 billion dollars annually in revenue. Women-owned businesses in the West are thriving. As a regional network our reach is wide. Located in 6 states, 33% of Astra’s WBEs describe themselves as ethnically diverse. Working together,we make a big impact in our region.
As diverse businesses, WBEs, can further boost the network by establishing and implementing their own Supplier Diversity Program. Astra is often asked, “What are best practices for developing a Supplier Diversity Program?” Here are a few simple recommendations:
Be committed. A diversity program can be part of your organization’s overall strategic plan. If you haven’t already done it, just add a diversity pledge to your company’s core values & mention it in the “About Us” section of your website.
Be Specific. Determine your level of commitment. As a WBENC WBE, you already are committed to diversity. Take a minute and document your goals as a part of your budgeting process.
Be Accountable. Do a quick review. You are probably already buying from diverse suppliers. Simply write down how you can capture, monitor & report your diversity spend. This is easy to include in your policy & procedures handbook.
Be Visible. In addition, to displaying your WBENC badge, add a link to your diversity pledge & include “stories” in your company’s messaging. Remember to report your Done Deals or nominate your best customer for an “Advocacy Award” by completing the form below.
(Left to Right) Suchi Gupta, Caroline Gladding, Diane McClelland, Consul-General Cassie Doyle, Suzanne Lackman, Marcella Mandeville, Mary Anderson, Arlene Inch, Sandra James and Olsa Martini.
Participating in events is the key way to cement relationships. Whether you are connecting with people for the first time or touching base with people you already know, there is no replacement for face-to-face meetings. On March 1st, 2012, Astra and WEConnect Canada joined forces to hold their first in-person trade mission with Canada. Pictured above are delegates from the Astra Board, the Consulate of Canada-San Francisco & Palo Alto, CA & WEConnect Canada who participated in the Trade Mission. Download the program.
Astra WBENC WBE, Pam Young, Pam Young Company, attended the event & wrote “It’s been a week since the event, and I am still so glad that I had this opportunity to meet other people who are working just like me building their businesses in meaningful and rewarding ways. I find it amazing, at least on most days, that I have the privilege of owning a business, and this in itself keeps me inspired and motivated to find ways to grow and to keep the business strong. It has been very difficult in the past two years to accomplish this, but I have to say that meeting so many women that are staying focused on their core values, believing in their services and or products, well it really was what I needed to keep moving forward. And interestingly enough, while initially I wasn’t sure that there would be new business opportunities, it is turning out that I definitely have some potential prospects to develop, with people that seem excited about working with me! That is exciting! So thank you for encouraging me to attend, and also for all your hard work in putting together a great event…….”
MaryJo Juarez, Government Contracting Expert, Consultant at NAPTAC & Astra Board Member sees an increasing volume of opportunities, especially with Prime Contractors, for WBEs. Here are MaryJo’s top action items using your WOSB Certification for success:
Learn the language – Government contracting is different. Start with the SBA website as a resource & learn the different acronyms. Present your marketing materials with the information the Contracting Officers need on your business cards, Capability Statements (Services) & on your Line Cards (products).
Research who buys what you sell – All agencies are different but most put together a buying forecast each September that lists everything the agency will be buying. If you don’t see these posted online ask the agency representatives for a copy when you see them at events. PTACs are a good resource and offer assistance to small businesses at low/no cost including “Bid Match” that matches you with opportunities as they are posted online.
Go to events -Find out where the Primes are going to be. Often times they list their outreach events on their websites. Follow Astra’s Events & plan to attend the partner outreach events that they are attending.
Ask for help & build relationships – The only unanswered question is the one that is not asked. Build your network & use it. Reach out to Astra Leaders.
Thank you to Astra Corporate Member URS for sponsoring Astra’s webinar on February 20,2012: “WOSB – What Next?” For more information about URS’ supplier diversity program visit their website.