Tag: MBE Spotlight

Keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the supply chain diversity space both nationally, regionally, and locally as well as get the latest NYNJMSDC news.

MBE Spotlight: Amit Saraff

Amit is a seasoned outsourcing, technology, and procurement expert that has been supporting the USA, Singapore, and India with Smartshore for more than 15 years. Under the Smartshore umbrella, he has advised various Wall Street clients on technology and procurement outsourcing. Amit has been involved with outsourcing for over 25 years and has been instrumental in the conceptualization and implementation of global outsourcing and offshoring strategies for UBS Investment Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and MBNA (now Bank of America). Amit has completed the “Growing an Established Diverse Business” program from Tuck Executive Education at Dartmouth, received an MBA from the University of Delaware, and has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT, Manipal. 

About Smartshore

Smartshore is a 15-year-old IT services and procurement consulting company. They specialize in driving process transformations for financial services clients. By leveraging detailed process maps, RPA, ML, and AI, the company assists clients in adopting advanced technology tools such as reverse auctions and global workforce solutions. 

Operating in the USA, Singapore, and India, Smartshore has established itself as a key player in the industry. With a client base that includes several global banks, the company continues to deliver innovative solutions, showcasing its commitment to enhancing operational efficiency and leveraging cutting-edge technologies for the benefit of its clients.

What does being a minority business, or supporting minority businesses, mean to you?

Being a minority business, or supporting one, signifies recognizing and valuing diversity in the business landscape. It involves fostering an inclusive environment where businesses owned by individuals from underrepresented groups are given equal opportunities. Embracing minority businesses contributes to economic empowerment, creates a level playing field, and encourages a rich tapestry of perspectives. It’s about breaking down barriers, promoting fairness, and acknowledging that diverse voices bring unique strengths to the business world. Supporting minority businesses is not just a commitment to equality but a strategic move that enhances innovation, resilience, and overall success in a global and interconnected marketplace.

How has being certified with the NMSDC helped your business?

Smartshore has gained significantly after obtaining certification from NMSDC. Certification has enhanced credibility, and opened doors to new opportunities and partnerships, especially in the realm of supplier diversity. 

For Smartshore, this has meant increased access to contracts and collaboration with corporations committed to diverse suppliers. NMSDC certification signals a dedication to inclusion, aligning with the values of many businesses. Additionally, it provides resources like educational courses at Dartmouth College and support that can aid Smartshore’s growth and development. In essence, NMSDC certification has been a strategic move amplifying Smartshore’s presence and success in the industry.

What is one thing you wish you had known when you were starting out in your career?

I wish I had started my business in the early days of my career rather than focusing on getting an MBA and spending 8 years working for others. 

For more information on Amit Saraff and Smartshore, please visit: smartshore.us or follow their social media: Facebook, X, and LinkedIn.

MBE Spotlight: Diana Domenech

Diana Domenech is Owner and Visionary of Accelerate Consulting Experts (ACE) and a proven professional in leading organizations, influencing groups, and developing people and businesses. Here, she assists and advises larger companies on how to strategize and execute global diversity & sustainability programs. For smaller or disadvantaged businesses, she works to develop and execute plans that will result in growth and development in the federal and private sectors. Recently, Diana has had success working with global organizations in the financial services and non-profit sectors, Native American tribes, and African-American owned businesses.

Diana has more than 20 years of experience in the private sector, having worked up the ranks in the banking and insurance industries. She most recently served as Head of Sourcing Process, Technology, Governance and Risk at AIG. In that role she led special sourcing programs such as Supplier Diversity and Sustainability. She previously held roles at AIG in supplier relationship management and transformation.

Diana spent 14 years at JPMorgan Chase, where she was Vice President of the Corporate Supplier Diversity Program. Here she was responsible for leading the firm wide global supplier diversity initiative. Under her leadership, the Supplier Diversity Program increased spend with Tier 1 and Tier 2 diverse businesses to over $1.3 billion annually.

Diana has an MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University and a BS from Cornell University. She currently serves as Chair Emeritus and the Nominating Committee Chair for the Financial Services Roundtable for Supplier Diversity, Class Parent for the 5th grade, and Cookie Mom for her daughter’s Girl Scout troop, and just completed her 9th triathlon.

About ACE

ACE is a management consulting company that started because of the need for global diversity and sustainability expertise. With a desire to transform the world to become a better place, ACE serves regional and global corporations, and small businesses by strategically leveraging diversity as a means to learn and implement new and more effective ways to generate more revenue, reduce costs, improve employee satisfaction, and exceed shareholders expectations. Clients trust us to advise on and build global Vendor Diversity and DE&I Programs, enhance existing programs, develop diversity specific strategies and solutions, train and coach executive leadership, and take action to deliver meaningful and impactful results.

What does being a minority business, or supporting minority businesses, mean to you?

Supporting minority businesses means breaking down external factors that prevent or impede these businesses from entering into a market.  It’s promoting community development and economic growth by working with and supporting diverse-owned business enterprises so we can all succeed.

Equally as important for me as a leader is to be a role model for other minority businesses and demonstrate to them that it is possible to succeed in the corporate world. I believe that supporting minority businesses is good for business and provides them with the opportunity to participate, compete, and thrive not only in America, but globally.

How has being certified with the NMSDC helped your business?

Being certified with the NMSDC has provided the opportunity to meet Fortune 500 companies and other MBEs to explore new business. This membership has boosted my company’s visibility, created connections and credibility with major organizations and possible future partners.

What is one thing you wish you had known when you were starting out in your career?

I wish I knew that it’s ok to make mistakes. No one expects you to know everything, especially when you are new to a role or company. As long as people know that you are trying, and most importantly, learning from your mistakes, you will be a success.

For more information on Diana Domenech and ACE, please visit: accelerateconsulting-llc.com or contact Diana Domenech at dianad@accelerateconsulting-llc.com to set up a free consultation.

MBE Spotlight: Irene Smalls

Growing up in Harlem, New York in the 1950s, Irene Smalls experienced and lived through segregation, integration, racial violence, the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, and present-day racial conservatism. These experiences affected her at a young age and continue to influence the career she has made for herself. 

Irene Smalls is a Black Historian, Author, and Activist. She received an MBA in Behavioral Science and a Black Studies degree from Cornell University. She became the founder of the Cornell Black Alumni Association and Wari House—the first official Black women’s residence on an Ivy League college campus. She led the first Black student protests at Cornell University, protesting the mistreatment of Black women in Cornell’s Balch Dormitory. 

After college, Smalls found her passion as an advocate for equality in education and healthcare for children from communities of color. Through her research, she found that populations with low literacy rates also tended to have poorer health outcomes. 

As an award-winning children’s author and a health enthusiast, Smalls recognized the clear connections between health and academic achievement. To highlight the intersectionality between literacy, physical movement, and overall health, she created Literacise and developed the Literacise Read-y Fashions exhibits. Through these programs, she works to create a brain-body-book connection to help children succeed. 

As part of her continued scientific research, Smalls realized that learning and health are also vitally connected to sleep. It has been her lifelong mission to address these issues through her books and speaking engagements. Recently, Smalls launched her own bedtime book imprint, with the first title in the series being, “An Affirmation Nite Baby Nite.” 

Irene Smalls has published more than 17 books for children. In 2022, she became the winner of the ‘Mom’s Choice Award for Excellence in Children’s Publishing’. She has also written four Black History picture books for children from stories sourced from original enslaved narratives as a part of her 12 Months of Black History picture book series. 

The exceptional knowledge and work that Irene Smalls has made has earned her features in PBS’ Stories from the State, Newsweek, People Magazine, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Essence, Ebony, Jet, The Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, Black Enterprise, and Boston Magazine. Smalls has been invited twice to share her stories at the White House and has developed literacy-oriented corporate promotions with New England Telephone, The Gillette Company, and State Street Bank.

Watch Irene Smalls speak on PBS

For more information on Irene Smalls and Literacise, please visit: literacise.com

MBE Spotlight: Taiye Doughty

For Taiye Doughty, the spirit of entrepreneurship in his family began back in 1875 when his great-grandfather Hector Walker was born. He was the first entrepreneur from their family in America. He started as a sharecropper and grew to become a modest farmer which ignited a bold spirit of business ownership that he passed down through generations to come. Adopting Walker’s drive, Taiye’s grandparents also became farmers and grew to acquire over 900 acres of farmland in the segregated state of South Carolina. His mother and father also had a spirit for entrepreneurship and moved from South Carolina to New York City where they grew to own two businesses. 

Through the generations, ambitiousness and perseverance were handed down through the family line. Taiye was shown by example the risks and rewards of building a brand with integrity and sticking to your principles no matter the cost. 

Taiye was given a great opportunity to study architecture at Pratt Institute and Interior Design at the Art Institute of Atlanta. After he completed his studies, he started a career in construction management. While working in corporate America, he completed projects that totaled over a million square feet in the greater New York City area for many Fortune 500 companies. 

Despite all of his achievements, he knew that something was missing from his life. He leaned on the entrepreneurial spirit that he had inherited from his ancestors and departed from his executive corporate position to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an entrepreneur, creator, and fabricator. From this transition, Walker Studios was born, using his great-grandfather’s name to proudly carry on his legacy.

About Walker Design Studios

Walker Design Studios is a minority-owned full-service furniture fabrication company that specializes in the design and fabrication of custom furniture, casework, furnishings, and home goods. They work with interior designers, architects, and construction managers on residential, retail, and corporate projects. They design and fabricate their goods in-house utilizing state of the art equipment, tools, and their hands. In addition to offering their furniture collection, they also custom fabricate furniture pieces for end users, interior designers, and architects. 

At Walker Design Studios, they believe in providing an experience that is an unparalleled sense of gratification, fulfillment, and enjoyment. The products that they make are beautifully crafted and aesthetically timeless.

A partial list of furniture items they fabricate are: 

  • Conference tables
  • Dining tables
  • Side tables
  • Benches
  • Stools 
  • Mirrors
  • Case pieces
  • Sideboards
  • Credenzas
  • Shelving
  • Nightstands

Walker Design Studios is guided by a philosophy of experience, equality, and fairness. This spreads throughout all aspects of their business and to all people they encounter in their daily business routine. They treat all people equally and with fairness: clients, staff members, and vendors alike. They listen to what is being said and pay careful attention to details. Equality and fairness matter – everyone has a voice that will be heard. These principles are the building blocks of their long-lasting relationships.

What does being a minority business, or supporting minority businesses, mean to you?

For me, being a minority business means representing the greatness of my ancestral history and combining that with creativity, experience, and specialized business acumen. It means competing and running a hard race where I was not given a head start and doing it with a winning attitude. I recognize the legacy and that I stand on the shoulders of giants who were enslaved people who persevered despite being stripped of their culture and human dignity. It means being a trailblazer and making a clearer path for those who come behind me. It means being a depository of information based on my experiences and distributing the knowledge to our brethren. Being a minority business means having a commitment to excellence in our operations while uplifting our community and embracing our heritage. 

How has being certified with the NMSDC helped your business?

Being certified with the NMSDC has provided me with access to a community and network of some amazing entrepreneurs, business leaders, artists, creators, financers, designers, and the list goes on. Since becoming a member I feel like I have landed in a safe environment for sharing, learning, and giving. I call it a safe environment because we all have something in common as a minority group. Sameness in our experiences, challenges, and traumas that we have endured here in our nation and globally. When sharing stories about our challenges and successes in business there’s an underlying inherent understanding of our traumas and the stakes that are against us. In other words, the folks around you get it!

But even more than that, the NMSDC has opened up access to a wealth of information, networking, mentorship, coaching, and of course business opportunities. Being regularly engaged with the folks at NMSDC keeps me focused, engaged, and energized. No matter the size of the company, its business leaders always have open arms and welcome access to them. I have only been a member for 4 months, however, in a year I will likely be able to fill a book with how NMSDC has helped Walker Studios.

What is one thing you wish you had known when you were starting out in your career?

Starting out in my career, I wish that I had known the importance of networking and building a community. You can have a great education, hopes, and dreams but networking, exposure, and developing your tribe is a crucial key in personal and business development.

For more information on Walker Design Studios, please visit: walkerdesignstudio.myshopify.com or follow them on their social media: Facebook, Instagram, & LinkedIn

MBE Spotlight: Ezra Salami

Ezra Salami specializes in business law-related matters spanning a business’s entire life cycle, namely corporate formation and governance, investment agreements, and contractual agreements. On top of his business law expertise, clients who work with Ezra gain first-hand exposure to years’ worth of small to mid-sized commercial litigation experience, adding an invaluable perspective on the real-world implications of poorly written contracts and how to avoid them. 

Before Ezra founded the Firm, Ezra Law, he practiced law on both sides, advocating for both plaintiffs and defendants at several high-stakes litigation law firms in New York City and, he even served as a judicial law clerk. Throughout his career, he’s also taken steps to expand his background by studying business internationally and practicing law abroad. This background affords him, and more importantly, his clients, the benefit of approaching each legal issue with a unique and layered perspective.  Against this backdrop of knowledge and capabilities, Ezra Law was founded to help bring a diversified voice to the entrepreneurial and corporate landscape.   

Ezra graduated from Fordham University School of Law after completing his undergraduate degree in Business Administration at Morehouse College, where he took on some of his studies abroad in the international financial capital of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He is licensed to practice in New York federal and state courts 

During his free time, you can find Ezra taking golf too seriously, offering his unsolicited opinions on movies and television shows, and supporting local mom-and-pop restaurants (and that’s not just because he cannot cook to save his life). 

About Ezra Law

Running a business can be daunting –  Let us do the leg(al) work! We are a mission-driven, nimble, commercial litigation law firm based in New York, NY. We are equipped to quickly respond to the varying twists and turns that startup founders and business owners encounter. We address our clients’ various legal endeavors, throughout the entire business life cycle, with expert thought, care, and consistency from start to finish.

They say “business is business and never personal,” but we disagree!  As entrepreneurs ourselves, we know that your dreams are personal, and sharing them with the world through your venture is an investment you don’t (and shouldn’t) take lightly. Our well-versed counsel is here to help you navigate the entrepreneurial journey with peace of mind as you transition and grow. 

What does being a minority business, or supporting minority businesses, mean to you?

Offering legal support to minority-owned businesses with the aim of helping to create a more self-reliant, self-referring, diverse business ecosystem is our north star and is the essence of our law firm. 

How has being certified with the NMSDC helped your business?

Yes, the MBE2MBE Tool is a game-changer! Its First-in-class!

For more information on Ezra Law, please visit: ezralaw.co or follow them on their social media: LinkedIn & Instagram

MBE Spotlight: Amy (Archana) Banala

Amy Banala is the proud owner of a minority woman-owned business called Praxis Consultants based in New Jersey. As a woman coming from an underrepresented community, she has harnessed her entrepreneurial spirit to create an IT service solutions company that serves the needs of their customers in various industries. 

Despite facing numerous challenges, Amy has been running this company since 2019, continuously acquiring contracts–even during the pandemic. During COVID, Amy dealt with a lot of difficult situations, especially with the number of people losing their jobs. But her true character shined through during this time as she helped people financially so they were still able to take care of their families.

About your company

Praxis Consultants is a Minority Woman Owned business, offering professional IT services such as cloud services, IT staff augmentation, cyber security consulting, business intelligence, and data analyst. Their strength is sourcing talented resources to meet your goals in a quick turnaround time, and by helping you stay in control of your timeline, expectations, and budgeting. With Praxis IT staff augmentation services, you can contract or hire permanently from our company.

Praxis Consultants brings a fresh perspective to the industry by leveraging their diverse experiences to drive creativity and problem-solving. Their dedication to quality and their values of inclusivity and equality shines through in everything they do.

At Praxis, they are a team of tech experts, obsessed with technology innovation and creating custom solutions for you by making sure they take your business to the next level. Their expertise is placing talented resources and making them available to their esteemed clients across all domains. 

By choosing to support Praxis Consultants, you are not only gaining access to their exceptional services but also becoming a part of their mission to promote diversity and empower underrepresented voices in the business landscape. You will have the most in-demand skills, budget-friendly resources, and a provider with deep experience in making projects happen on time. At Praxis, they create tailored solutions, from cybersecurity to data backup and disaster recovery – their team of IT experts can help you with any technology you need and lead you through any technology crisis. They strive to be competitive in the digital world and use AI tools to improve their operational goals.

What does being a minority business, or supporting minority businesses, mean to you?

Minority businesses have an opportunity for federal grants and contracting opportunities that corporations offer. Some corporations are willing to invest in entrepreneurial growth.

I believe in supporting minority businesses as it helps create jobs and opportunities. 

How has being certified with the NMSDC helped your business?

I was certified a month ago and waiting for some contracts to materialize. I am looking forward to the benefits of NMSDC certification as an MBE.

What is one thing you wish you had known when you were starting out in your career?

I wish I knew more about the grants available to women and minority-owned businesses. They truly do offer a helping hand with business operations. 

I also wish I knew to not be scared of failure. Staying positive in situations has helped me to succeed in different aspects of my life and business.

For more information on Praxis Consultants, please visit: praxisconsultantsinc.com or follow them on their social media: LinkedIn.

MBE Spotlight: Ashish Garg

Ashish Garg started his company, Net2Source, at the age of 23 by taking out a personal loan. He approached 15 banks to gather a total of $100k in loans and started operations in India with five employees, zero clients, and a 500 square foot office. His company is now in 32 countries and is a recognized award winning market leader in Global Workforce Solutions. He started as a college dropout with a dream of becoming a game changer in the staffing world and is now managing a global company with several others like N2S Healthcare, N2S Industrial, and N2S Global Workforce Solutions in addition to Net2Source. 

He believes in his vision, employees, and strategy to shape the future of Workforce Management. His motto is to be the best in whatever they do. He has been a role model for many and his “never say never” spirit allows him to uphold integrity in everything he does.  He believes in doing things differently and is very unconventional in his business strategy and approach. 

Ashish has also invested in providing help where he can by setting up NGOs like Aashayein for Elderly and underprivileged kids and orphans. He has been a member of Community Seva, Feed the Need, and initiated the We Support Women campaign to promote women hiring and career advancement. 

He is unstoppable and is a role model to many who believe in the motto – The Sky is the Limit.

About your company

Net2Source has made it to the SIA’s Largest US Staffing Firms 2023 list (5 years in a row).  They have global locations in 32 countries across North America, Latin America, EMEA, APAC, and ANZ specializing in Contingent Labor, Direct Hiring, Payroll Management, RPO, SOW, and Nearshore/Offshore services

What does being a minority business, or supporting minority businesses, mean to you?

Being a minority business or supporting minority businesses holds a unique significance for an Indian entrepreneur like me who has always been an avid risk taker with an unconventional approach.

Being a minority business for me means:

  • Breaking Norms: Challenging the status quo and defying traditional expectations in a business landscape dominated by conventional practices. As an entrepreneur, I see being a minority as an opportunity to disrupt industries, redefine norms, and introduce fresh perspectives.
  • Innovation: Recognizing that diversity of thought and experience often leads to innovation. I believe in leveraging their unique background and perspectives to create novel solutions and products that cater to underrepresented markets or address unmet needs.
  • Resilience: Embracing challenges and setbacks as an inherent part of their journey. I understand that navigating uncharted territories requires resilience and determination, traits that are often developed through overcoming the adversity faced as a minority entrepreneur.
  • Empowerment: Viewing success as a means to empower others from similar backgrounds. 
  • Community Impact: Recognizing the potential of their business to uplift and support minority communities. My company actively seeks to create jobs, provide opportunities for skill development, and contribute to the economic growth of underserved areas.
  • Global Perspective: Embracing a global outlook, and understanding that unconventional ideas can transcend cultural boundaries and have a broader impact. 

Supporting minority businesses, from my perspective means;

  • Promoting Diversity: Valuing diversity as a driver of innovation and progress. I recognize that supporting minority businesses contributes to a more inclusive and dynamic business ecosystem.
  • Economic Empowerment: Acknowledging that supporting minority businesses can uplift marginalized communities, promote economic self-sufficiency, and reduce disparities in wealth and opportunity.
  • Fostering Innovation: Believing that diverse perspectives lead to more creative and innovative solutions. I support minority businesses as a way to encourage fresh ideas and unique approaches.
  • Driving Social Change: Understanding that backing minority businesses aligns with broader social and economic goals of reducing inequality and promoting social justice.
  • Networking and Collaboration: Seeing the value of building a network of diverse entrepreneurs and thought leaders. I support minority businesses to foster collaborations that can lead to mutually beneficial partnerships and ventures.

Being a minority business owner and supporting minority businesses embody a powerful combination of empowerment, innovation, resilience, and the potential to drive meaningful change in both business and society.

How has being certified with the NMSDC helped your business?

Our certification with the NMSDC has helped us in so many ways:

  • Access to Corporate Contracts: NMSDC certification provides access to a network of major corporations that prioritize supplier diversity. Many large companies have supplier diversity programs and initiatives aimed at sourcing goods and services from certified minority-owned businesses, including staffing services. This opens doors to potential contracts and partnerships that might not have been accessible otherwise.
  • Business Opportunities: Certification has led to increased visibility and recognition within the business community. This exposure results in new business opportunities and client relationships.
  • Competitive Advantage: Being NMSDC-certified sets a staffing firm apart from competitors, demonstrating a commitment to diversity and inclusion. This can be particularly appealing to clients who value supplier diversity and are seeking to align their business practices with social and economic goals.
  • Networking and Relationship Building: Certification provides opportunities for networking and relationship building with other NMSDC-certified businesses, corporations, and organizations. This can lead to collaborations, partnerships, and knowledge-sharing that enhance business growth and development.
  • Credibility and Trust: NMSDC certification is a recognized symbol of credibility and trust. It signifies that a staffing firm has met certain criteria and standards, which can instill confidence in potential clients and partners.
  • Visibility in NMSDC Events: NMSDC organizes events, conferences, and trade shows that provide certified businesses with opportunities to showcase their services and connect with potential clients, partners, and industry leaders.
  • Advocacy and Support: Being part of the NMSDC community means having an advocate for the interests of minority-owned businesses. The organization provides guidance, support, and representation on issues that impact minority entrepreneurs.
What is one thing you wish you had known when you were starting out in your career?

Experience is the Best Teacher – I am a firm believer in the fact that no matter how brilliant your mind or strategy is, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team. If everyone is moving forward together, success will take care of itself. With time, I have realized even more that loyal, sincere, responsible, and hardworking employees are rare to find. And if you have found them, then keep them. Loyalty cannot be bought, it has to be earned and a degree does not define an individual’s merit alone, it’s the passion and the go-getter spirit that does.

For more information on Net2Source, please visit: net2source.com or follow them on their social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

MBE Spotlight: Ajeta Sinha

Coming from a small town in India and migrating to the US in 2017, Ajeta Sinha, or AJ, has moved her way through leadership roles at Net2Source. When she first joined the company, she was the first woman in their leadership team. Now, after 8 and a half years with the company, she has been promoted to the President of Net2Source. In this role, she is responsible for setting up and growing global businesses and managing a team of 2,000+ indirectly.

Through her work at Net2Source, AJ has received countless awards and recognition, both internally and externally, for her outstanding performance and success. It’s a true testament to the dedication, honesty, and sincerity that she puts into every aspect of her work.

Growing up, AJ was heavily influenced by the work ethic of her mother. She saw her as a superhero in their house who managed to be a homemaker and still take out time for her NGO. Her mother knew the importance of getting work done and AJ took inspiration from how much her mom could do with the limited resources that they had in India. In addition, she was also fascinated and inspired by the Google founders who took the world by storm with their inventions, and it led to her always looking for the answers in the problem itself. 

Since childhood, her parents always told her, “Whatever you do in life, always give it your best self, because if you do so, the results will speak for themselves.” AJ was not born into luxury and didn’t excel in academics either, but she used the skills she saw from her mother and was consistent, hardworking, and resilient. Once she started working, she faced massive resistance at her workplace from her male colleagues and had to prove herself every day to make her presence felt. She kept pushing and working hard and proved to herself and her colleagues just how much she was capable of. 

About Net2Source

Net2source (N2S) was formed in 2007 and they specialize in global workforce solutions in 32 countries. Net2Source is a certified-MBE company and is recognized as one of the largest and fastest IT staffing companies in North America for the last 3 years. They specialize in contingent hiring, full-time, RPO, EOR, SOW, and Nearshore/co-shoring services.

What does being a minority business, or supporting minority businesses, mean to you?

Being a minority business means facing unique challenges and barriers that can limit access to resources, opportunities, and capital. It often involves overcoming systemic inequalities and biases that exist in the business world. Supporting minority businesses involves intentionally and actively promoting their growth, sustainability, and success. This support can take various forms, such as purchasing goods and services from minority-owned businesses, investing in their ventures, mentoring and providing guidance, advocating for equitable policies and legislation, or creating inclusive business environments.

Supporting minority businesses is crucial for fostering diversity, inclusion, and economic empowerment. It helps address historical and ongoing disparities by providing opportunities for marginalized communities to participate fully in the economy, build wealth, and create jobs. By supporting and promoting diversity in entrepreneurship, we can encourage innovation, stimulate economic growth, and contribute to a more equitable society.

How has being certified with the NMSDC helped your business?

We are proud to be certified by NMSDC as it has opened floodgates of opportunities for us as an organization and given us a platform to shine.

What is one thing you wish you had known when you were starting out in your career?

One thing that many women of color like me face when starting out in their careers is the potential for encountering biases and stereotypes that can affect their opportunities for advancement and recognition. It is important to be aware that these biases exist and to develop strategies for overcoming them. I wish I had known the importance of having sponsors and mentors, building networks, finding your voice in a room full of opportunities, and cultivating resilience. As a woman of color, nothing is impossible, and your appearance doesn’t define you – your grit does.

For more information on Net2Source, please visit: net2source.com or follow them on their social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

MBE Spotlight: Walker SCM

Emmett Walker, CEO of Walker SCM, joined the Council in 1989. Since joining, he has built long-standing relationships that have been an integral part of his success. In fact, after more than three decades at the Council—two of which he served as the Chair of the MBE Input Committee (MBEIC) (2013 to 2015)—Emmett Walker is still an avid supporter and made the generous choice to become our VIP Sponsor for our 50th Anniversary year. 

As a long-standing member and supporter of the Council, Walker SCM embodies the mission of growing and developing minority businesses. Through his years of experience in business Emmett has learned many life lessons. One of them is the belief that the measure of one’s success is not just based solely on professional accomplishments, but is a compilation of how you live your life, being a good role model, mentoring and sharing the challenges and obstacles you have faced. 

About your company

Walker SCM was started at the kitchen table by Emmett and Betty Walker in 1989. Throughout the growth of the company, they have continued to embody and cultivate a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion. Walker feels it is paramount to encourage and motivate all of their employees for the betterment of their self-development, the company, and their customers. The family-oriented culture at Walker SCM is who they are and why employees have built a career with them. This has led to strong customer service and relationships that have allowed Walker’s growth to continue to gain momentum. Because of Walker’s vision and values surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion, the company strengthens its access to top talent, increases the quality of decision making by adding diverse perspectives, and enhances employee engagement and satisfaction.

The company thrives on the powerful combination of its people, technology, customer focus, and continuous improvement mindset. Walker feels its people are the heart and soul of their organization, bringing their diverse skills, expertise, and passion together to drive success. They are the driving force behind innovative solutions, ensuring that Walker stays at the forefront of technological supply chain advancements. The company’s cutting-edge technology empowers them to deliver exceptional solutions to their customers, therefore, exceeding customer expectations. With a strong customer focus, Walker listens attentively, anticipates their needs, and tailors solutions accordingly. Moreover, their commitment to a continuous improvement mindset fosters a culture of learning, adaptation, and innovation. By embracing change and striving for excellence, Walker SCM constantly refines its processes, enhances efficiency, and maintains a competitive edge. 

Walker SCM offers a wealth of knowledge in all facets of global transportation, logistics optimization and supply chain integration. They have a global reach, operating directly and through partnerships in over 25 countries worldwide. Today, their customers include a diverse mix of multinational and Fortune 500 companies. 

Together, their people, technology, customer focus, and continuous improvement mindset has allowed them to form the foundation of their company’s exceptional performance and long-term growth.

Walker specializes in the following services:
  • Air & Ocean Freight Forwarding
  • Customs Brokerage 
  • Warehousing & Distribution
  • Procurement
  • Order Fulfillment
  • Assembly & Contract Packaging
  • Kitting & Sequencing

What does being a minority business, or supporting minority businesses, mean to you?

Being a minority business and supporting minority businesses holds significant meaning to me. It signifies a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a minority business, it means overcoming obstacles, breaking down barriers, and thriving in an environment that may not always be inclusive. It represents resilience, innovation, and the ability to succeed against all odds. 

Supporting minority businesses means actively leveling the playing field, fostering economic growth, and empowering underrepresented communities. It involves recognizing and valuing the unique perspectives, talents, and contributions of minority entrepreneurs. Ultimately, being a minority business or supporting one means championing equity, fairness, and creating a society where everyone has a fair chance to succeed and prosper.

How has being certified with the NMSDC helped your business?

The NYNJMSDC and NMSDC were where I met and built supplier and corporate relationships. The local and national levels of the organization forge a pathway for minority suppliers and corporations to not only work together but to hear each other thus laying the foundation for partnerships to grow over the years. Many of Walker’s top customers, which are Fortune 500 companies, are part of NMSDC and those relationships were grown through the organization.

What is one thing you wish you had known when you were starting out in your career?

One thing I wish I knew before starting my career is the importance of building a strong professional network. While academic achievements and technical skills are crucial, establishing meaningful connections with colleagues, mentors, and industry professionals can significantly impact one’s career trajectory and business opportunities. Networking opens doors to new opportunities, provides valuable insights, and allows for personal growth through shared experiences and knowledge exchange. By investing time and effort into fostering relationships within my field, I could have gained valuable guidance, access to opportunities, and a supportive community that could have helped propel my business forward.

For more information on Walker SCM, please visit: walkerscm.com or follow them on LinkedIn.

MBE Spotlight: Bruce Browning

“Where’s Bruce?”

A common phrase Bruce Browning’s former manager used to ask his colleagues at the Japanese bank he worked at after undergraduate school. He was working as a municipal bond analyst that helped to calculate the likelihood of a municipality defaulting on their municipal bonds. While he valued this position, it wasn’t the right fit for him. After the first few weeks of working there, he found himself wandering around to chat with folks at the bank, taking advantage of “10-minute breaks” just about every hour while looking for escapes from his work. Browning and his coworkers became very used to hearing the phrase, “Where’s Bruce?” 

At the time, his parents had a commercial printing business in White Plains, NY called “Magjak”, a blend of his mother’s name Maggie and his stepdad’s name Jack. Working here during the summers helped Browning find his passion for helping companies market their message and led to him making the jump to switch his career path. 

Bruce found that creativity was something that ran in his blood. His mother was a fashion designer who sold her brand to top retailers like Saks & Bloomingdale’s with features in vogue. His father was a commercial artist for top agencies like BBDO and Ogilvy, and even his sister found her creativity in jewelry, drawing, painting, or anything artistic. 

As the years went on, Magjak expanded, saw a rebrand, and in 2018 became an affiliate with Proforma and is now known as Proforma Edge. With the help of Proforma’s 200+ support staff, there is nothing that Proforma Edge can’t accomplish. With their parent companies’ support, Proforma Edge is able to provide helpful, reliable, friendly marketing and production services for their clients’ offline and online needs. Their clients all share the same opinion, that Proforma Edge is reliable, creative, and deadline driven.  

Since finding his calling, the days of hearing, “Where’s Bruce?” are long behind him now. He dedicates his time to helping other businesses and is motivated by seeing continued success with his clients. 

Today, their mission at Proforma Edge is quite simple: Help companies grow their brands using print, branded merchandise, branded apparel, and online technologies.

About Proforma Edge

Browning’s organization, Proforma Edge, is an affiliate of Proforma and a certified Minority Business Enterprise, and a certified woman-owned business. 

Since they are distributors, working with them and utilizing their extensive supply chain helps organizations achieve their ESG, Tier 1, and Tier 2 objectives. 

Proforma Edge is a friendly bunch and passionate about client service, execution, creativity, and follow-up, follow-up, follow-up! Basically, they’re the “roll up your sleeves and git ‘er done” type for all things commercial printing, direct mail, packaging, branded merchandise, and branded apparel/uniforms.

What does being a minority business, or supporting minority businesses, mean to you?

Over the years I have loved nothing more than helping companies achieve their commercial printing and promotional objectives. And now, as a registered minority-owned business, I’m excited to expand my assistance by helping organizations achieve their ESG and diversity objectives. It’s a great feeling to be able to achieve both and create winning results that ripple through our entire supply chain of providers.

What is one thing you wish you had known when you were starting out in your career?

My mom once told me this, and I wish I took it to heart earlier on: “What one can conceive and believe, one can achieve.”

For more information on Proforma Edge, please visit: theproformaedge.com or follow them on social media: LinkedIn & Instagram.