Expert tips given @ Breakfast with Brands

Over 50 of our community members (WBEs, Corporate Members, Assessors, etc) came together on November 18th for our most successful Breakfast with Brands to date. Participants rated this event 4.8 out of 5, and 100% of those surveyed said they would definitely attend a Breakfast with Brands event again.

The morning event featured extensive roundtable networking and an open panel discussion with the audience about how to get into the financial services sector supplier diversity supply chain and what programs are available.

Our corporate panel included:

  • Catherine Grosz, Manager, Supplier Diversity, BMO Financial Group
  • Marcia Seymour, Senior Manager, Procurement Corporate Responsibility, TD Bank Group
  • Sheri Spinks, Director of Strategic Sourcing & Supplier Diversity, the DATA Group of Companies

Their top 5 tips were:

  1. Do your research. Marcia Seymour (TD) suggested looking at a company’s website, annual reports, and corporate responsibility code before you approach them. Know what your customer is looking for, what is important to them, and where you stand. You need to understand their business to identify solutions.
  2. Make sure there’s a fit. Come to the corporations with your value proposition but make sure there is a fit. Sometimes factors like size, scope and even location play a key part in determining if a supplier is a good fit for an RFP.
  3. Consider Tier 2 (even Tier 3 or 4). Catherine Grosz (BMO) explained how you might not be a fit for a Tier 1 due to the regulations and requirements (e.g. security, privacy, insurance) so a Tier 2 relationship may provide an alternative way to access this business. Consider all the Tier 2, 3, 4 suppliers, and of course WBE to WBE.
  4. Be patient, and do follow up with them. You are building this relationship over at least 2 to 3 years, so do not barrage a corporation after getting on their supplier list. Nurture the relationship slowly. Not sure how or when to contact them? Ask, then stay in contact and respect and maintain the relationship.
  5. Keep your information current and share your news. Corporations reach out to organizations like WBE Canada to find diverse suppliers as these certifications provide a comfort level about the validity and sustainability of the suppliers, so keep your information current with WBE Canada and also in the individual corporate SD portals, when available. Share what’s new in your business including any recent awards or accomplishments your business has achieved.

Thank you to everyone who joined us especially Accolade Promotion Group (APG), Allegis Group, Brookfield Johnston Controls, BMO, Sodexo, TD, and The DATA Group of Companies who came to meet certified WBE Canada WBEs.