Reflecting & Celebrating Black Excellence
At The Council, we are excited to welcome the month of February as it marks a month-long celebration of Black History.
This annual observance is a time to reflect on the rich history, achievements, and contributions that African Americans have made to our nation throughout the years. This year, we want to take this opportunity to not only honor the past, but to also highlight the present and future leaders who continue to shape our diverse and dynamic society.
Black excellence has long been rooted in American history, but it often does not receive the recognition it deserves. Every year important historical figures like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. are recognized for their contributions, but many other heroes go without their well-deserved recognition.
Bayard Rustin helped to organize and strategize the March on Washington in August of 1963 where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his well-known, “I Have a Dream” speech. As a leader of the Civil Rights Movement, Rustin dedicated much of his life to fighting humanitarian causes against injustice of all kinds.
Claudette Colvin was arrested 9 months before Rosa Parks at the age of 15. When she remained seated near the middle of the bus and refused to give up her seat to a white woman, she became the first woman to be detained for this type of resistance.
Robert Sengstacke Abbott founded the Chicago Defender which played an integral part in encouraging African Americans to migrate from the South for better economic opportunities, known as the Great Migration. His paper also provided a platform for black voices, championed civil rights causes, and influenced many other Black publications to start up.
Black History Month is not only about looking back; it’s also about recognizing the present achievements of the Black community. The Council is committed to highlighting the excellence, innovation, and success stories of African-American entrepreneurs, business leaders, and professionals who contribute significantly to the economic growth of our region.
Through our Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) programs and initiatives, we aim to empower black-owned businesses, providing them with opportunities, resources, and support to thrive in today’s competitive market. By fostering diversity and inclusion, we can positively contribute to a more resilient business ecosystem.
If you are looking to make new connections with certified African-American owned businesses, we’ve collated a full list of businesses certified with the Council below.
Black History Month is a time for reflection, celebration, and inspiration. It is an opportunity for individuals and organizations to come together in unity, recognizing the invaluable contributions of the black community. Together, we can build a future where every individual, regardless of the color of their skin, has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.
Honoring & Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
As we continue to push for progress and equality, the 95th Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. serves as a time of reflection and remembrance of his contributions to advancing minority communities everywhere. Today, we reflect on his teachings and the principles he championed.
Dr. King’s dream of a just and equal society is as relevant today as it was during the Civil Rights Movement. His messages of love, compassion, and understanding stand the test of time, reminding us of the power we hold to create lasting positive change.
At The Council, we continue to push for the American Dream that Dr. King spent his whole life fighting for. The sacrifices that he made during his fight in the Civil Rights Movement allowed us to have the rights and successes that we have made for ourselves—and those sacrifices do not go unrecognized.
As we continue in 2024, let us embrace diversity as a strength. Our organization stands as a testament to the richness that comes from bringing together individuals of different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. By celebrating and respecting these differences, we not only honor Dr. King’s dream but also strengthen the fabric of our society.
One of the cornerstones of Dr. King’s philosophy was the belief in economic justice. He understood that true equality could only be achieved when economic opportunities were accessible to all. As we move forward, The Council will continue to create a business landscape where everyone has an equal chance to succeed. Through mentorship, education, and support, we can pave the way for a more inclusive and prosperous future.
As you continue to reflect on your ability to work toward the American Dream, we leave you with a few words from Dr. King: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Farewell to The Council’s 50th Anniversary Year
As this year comes to a close, everyone at The New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council would like to take a moment to reflect back on the moments that made our 50th Anniversary year one of the best yet, because there was a lot to celebrate!
But, before we dig into what made 2023 so memorable, we’d like to thank our 50th Anniversary VIP Sponsors: Alpha Business Solutions and Walker SCM. Your support and guidance this year have allowed us to truly live up to our 2023 theme: Amplifying Capabilities and Fostering Growth.
In fact, we found many ways to engage with our members and supporters, including finally being able to host all of our signature events in person again. This was the first time since the COVID 19 pandemic began that we were able to do this.
We kicked off our signature events in May by hosting our 2023 Business Opportunity Exchange in the offices of one of our esteemed corporate members, BNY Mellon. The event was a sold-out success that brought together Council board members, corporate members and local MBE’s for a day of panels and workshops focused on ways to expand existing business relationships. .
In August, we welcomed members and colleagues aboard the Horizon’s Edge yacht, where we Networked & Navigated our way through Biz Connect. This was our first time hosting an event on a yacht and we enjoyed sailing along the New York harbor and taking in the stunning views of the city. And we’re so grateful it finally stopped raining so we could see Lady Liberty!
In September we swung into success at our 26th annual Networking for Scholarships. Not only was the weather beautiful for those who enjoyed time on two of the best golf courses in the Northeast, but we had more people than ever partake in networking activities off the golf course. We hope that we can bring even more activities to golfers and non-golfers alike in 2024–when we return to the prestigious Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, NJ.
Finally, in October we closed out our signature events with our 50th Anniversary Partnership Awards Gala. We rolled out the red carpet and dressed to impress as we celebrated our 2023 awards winners. View a full list of those who were recognized at this year’s Partnership Awards Gala: 2023 Awards Gala Recipients
Check out all the photos from our signature events on our website.
Save the Date for our 2024 Signature Events:
April 17, 2024 — Business Opportunity Exchange
July 25, 2024 — Biz Connect
September 19, 2024 — Partnership Awards Gala
September 26, 2024 — Networking for Scholarships
AMPLIFYING CAPABILITIES AND FOSTERING GROWTH
Perhaps the most important thing about our 50th anniversary year, is that we were able to continue to promote the growth of our MBEs and corporate members. Which is the true mission and spirit of The Council. This year, we hosted many educational programming events to help amplify opportunities and foster growth for our MBE’s.
For example, our “How to Do Business With…” series—a program designed to help our certified-MBEs get more information on the supplier acquisition process—had the honor of partnering with corporate members like Estee Lauder, Pfizer, Tough Leaf, Vizient and Northwell Health.
We also hosted workshops like Taking on Debt with Purpose (and Confidence) with the Business Consortium Fund and Public Sector Contracting: Best Practices and Opportunities with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
These were great opportunities to connect with big, influential businesses in our area, make connections with them, and learn how to better your business.
In our continued effort to do more with our members outside of New York City, we traveled upstate for MWBE summits in Rochester, NY in January—and in June. We’ll be returning this year with an event hosted in collaboration with the University of Rochester. Stay tuned for more information on that event because registration will be open soon!
We also traveled to Long Island for the 2023 Healthcare Symposium, which was hosted by Northwell Health this year at their offices in New Hyde Park, NY. And of course our 2023 Sustainability Symposium was held just a few days ago at Citi headquarters in NYC.
Luckily, we were able to host a majority of these workshops and symposiums in-person and online so that any member who wanted to join could do so—and we will continue this practice into 2024 as we begin to incorporate more programming events throughout the state of New York and northern New Jersey.
For us, 2023 was a busy year! And our efforts paid off, because by the end of this year, we will have welcomed 360 new MBE’s and 27 new Corporate Members to The Council. We are excited to continue our partnership with all new and existing members into 2024.
Looking forward to 2024, we have already begun planning our calendar of events and hope to bring more unique opportunities for you and your business in the next year that will enhance your membership experience.
Print our 2024 event roadmap to stay in the loop on Council events:
We look forward to meeting more of our constituents and creating lasting connections that will create a better future for you, and for the Council.
We wish you all a happy Holiday season and a prosperous New Year!
2023 Veterans Day Message
When November 11th was officially named Veterans Day in 1952, United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower called upon all citizens to join together in “solemnly remember[ing] the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom.” As our troops continue to serve with dedication and honor, so too do we take this time to recognize the commitment and sacrifices of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and all other military service members.
And, more importantly, we use this day as a chance to say a heartfelt thank you to the brave men and women who have served our country. The United States was built on hard-won freedoms, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without heroes like our World War 2, Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and Afghanistan Veterans. Their sacrifice ushered in an era of unprecedented growth and prosperity in our country, and one day alone each year will never be enough to express the deep gratitude of our thanks.
As a supporter of minority-owned businesses and a stark advocate for supply chain diversity, we owe the crux of our work to the military servicemen and women who’ve defended our freedoms, allowing for everyone’s freedoms of speech and expression and the freedom to secure a future free from want. It’s these fundamental rights, among others, that have created an economy of acceptance and abundance, offering those from all walks of life a seat at the entrepreneurial table. The Council sees this as the embodiment of civil liberties for all, and for that, we will always owe our gratitude to our enlisted military.
We hope to never forget to not only give thanks, but live thanks. Barack Obama said it best, “It’s about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year. It’s about making sure they have the care they need and the benefits that they’ve earned when they come home. It’s about serving all of you as well as you’ve served the United States of America.”
This Veterans Day, be sure to appreciate your freedoms and thank all of those who have won them for you.
Native American Heritage Month: Honoring Indigenous Businesses & Contributions
Native American businesses play a crucial role in the economic landscape of the United States. Collectively their business encompasses a wide array of industries, from agriculture and manufacturing to technology and healthcare. As such, they contribute not only to our local and regional economies but also to the overall prosperity of our nation. We want to take a moment during Native American Heritage Month to highlight the importance of these businesses and their contributions to our country.
The history of Native American entrepreneurship is deeply intertwined with the story of America itself. Indigenous people were trading goods and services long before the arrival of the European settlers. The resilience, innovation, and cultural diversity of Native American-owned businesses are a testament to the enduring spirit of entrepreneurship within these communities. A spirit that continues to this day.
We are proud to have many successful Native American businesses certified with the Council including Brett Bucktooth from Ongweoweh, who wrote an inspiring MBE Spotlight last year on the impact of his upbringing and how he transformed the lessons learned in his youth to help him find success in business.
During this month, we encourage all of our members to explore partnerships, collaborations, and opportunities to engage with Native American-owned businesses. Let’s also take this moment to educate ourselves and our teams about the unique challenges and triumphs of these businesses. By amplifying their voices and celebrating their accomplishments, we can build stronger, more inclusive economies that honor the contributions of all Americans.
In the next month, the Council will be hosting a wide range of events created to help businesses come together and build connections while also sharing important business practices. We invite you to join us at the following events in November to take the first step toward creating deeper connections.
- Pre-Certification Webinars (Virtual) (November 7 & 21, 2023)
- Straight Talk with Terrence Clark (Virtual) (November 17, 2023)
- Healthcare Symposium (November 30, 2023)
Thank you for your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Together, we can foster a business environment where everyone has the opportunity and ability to thrive.
Hispanic Heritage Month: Honoring Diversity & Achievements
It is with great joy that I extend my warmest greetings to each and every one of you as we begin Hispanic Heritage Month!
This annual observance serves as a reflection and reminder of the immense contributions that Hispanic and Latinx communities have made to our nation’s fabric. Their rich cultures, histories, and accomplishments have indelibly shaped our society, enriching our collective identity and inspiring future generations.
During this month, let us come together to honor the trailblazers, visionaries, artists, activists, and countless individuals who have tirelessly worked to pave the way for progress and prosperity. Their determination, resilience, and innovation are a testament to the power of diversity in fostering creativity and positive change. To name a few:
- Maria Contreras-Sweet: The founder of ProAmérica Bank which was the first Latino-formed commercial bank in more than 35 years. She also founded Contreras-Sweet Enterprises, which is a marketing and research firm with noteworthy clients like the Coca-Cola Company, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and the Walt Disney Company.
- Anthony “Tony” Jimenez Jr.: He is the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of MicroTech which is known as one of the largest Hispanic-owned IT Integrators in the Country. This company started as a kitchen table startup and has grown to a half-billion-dollar company under his leadership.
- Betro Perez: He was the founder of the well-known Zumba Fitness. He started as an aerobics instructor in Columbia, who improvised by adding dance moves to his exercise program after forgetting his usual tapes. There are now 15 million people who take Zumba classes.
I encourage all of our members and partners to engage in meaningful conversations, educational initiatives, and cultural events throughout this month. By deepening our understanding of Hispanic heritage, we strengthen the bonds that unite us and foster an environment where every individual feels valued and empowered.
Let us take this opportunity to not only celebrate the achievements of the past but also to envision a future where diversity is embraced, equality is upheld, and opportunities are accessible to all. Together, we can continue building bridges of understanding and collaboration that transcend borders and propel us toward a brighter tomorrow.
Thank you for your unwavering support and dedication to our mission. I look forward to the inspiring stories and meaningful connections that Hispanic Heritage Month will undoubtedly bring.
A Juneteenth Message from Our President
On June 19, 1865, news of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached Texas, marking the liberation of those who had been held in bondage for far too long. This event serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing fight for equality and justice. It’s a day that represents freedom, resilience, and the unwavering spirit of hope.
At the Council, we recognize the significance of Juneteenth and the impact it has on members of our community. Celebrating Juneteenth is an opportunity for us to honor and acknowledge the history, culture, and contributions of African Americans to our society. It also serves as a reminder of the systemic inequalities that continue to exist in our country. We recognize that systemic racism and discrimination continue to create barriers for minority-owned businesses and limit their opportunities for success. Celebrating Juneteenth on a national scale is an important step towards acknowledging and addressing these issues while providing a reminder that more work needs to be done.
We believe that it is crucial for all of us to use Juneteenth as an opportunity to reflect on our role in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. We remain committed to providing resources, support, and opportunities for minority-owned businesses to thrive. Take this time to explore our programs, events, and certification opportunities to get involved and be part of our dynamic network. Together, we can drive positive change and shape a business landscape that celebrates diversity and promotes economic growth.
As we approach Juneteenth, let’s amplify the voices of those who have fought tirelessly for freedom and equality. It’s a time for reflection, education, and taking meaningful action. Join us in celebrating this Juneteenth and let’s keep moving forward, hand in hand, toward a brighter and more inclusive future.
2023 Caribbean American Heritage Month: Commemorating Diversity and Celebrating Culture
June is a month filled with vibrant celebrations, commemorations, and observances. From Pride Month to Juneteenth, and many others, there is no shortage of significant events for us to recognize! Amidst this bustling array of festivities, it is important to acknowledge and honor the rich culture, contributions, and history of the Caribbean American community.
Caribbean American Heritage Month, observed annually throughout June, offers a unique opportunity to appreciate and learn from the achievements and experiences of this community. This observance recognizes the immense impact that Caribbean Americans have had on various aspects of American society, including politics, sports, arts, music, literature, and business. The Caribbean region comprises a blend of diverse cultures, languages, and traditions, each contributing its own unique aspect to other cultures in America. The richness of the Caribbean American experience stems from the heritage and ancestral connections to countries like Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and more.
The contributions of Caribbean Americans extend to every facet of American life with many making strides and accomplishments in the business field. Robert L. Johnson is an entrepreneur and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET). He became the first African American billionaire and is known as a pioneer in the media industry.
Rohan Marley is the son of Jamaican singer, Bob Markley and is known for his success as an entrepreneur and businessman. He is the co-founder of the popular Marley Coffee brand which specializes in sustainably sourced coffee products.
Dr. Claire Nelson is the founder and president of the Institute of Caribbean Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based organization focused on promoting Caribbean economic and cultural development. She has been a strong advocate for Caribbean American businesses and has worked extensively to promote economic opportunities and partnerships in the Caribbean region. Their achievements, and the achievements of so many others, have inspired generations and continue to do so today.
From the early waves of Caribbean immigration during the post-slavery era to the recent influx of professionals, entrepreneurs, and artists, Caribbean Americans have played an integral role in shaping America’s social, economic, and cultural landscape. Caribbean American Heritage Month serves as a reminder to appreciate the achievements, history, and ongoing impact of this vibrant culture within American society. By spotlighting Caribbean American culture, we acknowledge the richness and diversity that continues to shape our nation. Let us take this opportunity to learn, appreciate, and celebrate the traditions, achievements, and experiences of Caribbean Americans as we strive for a more inclusive and interconnected society.
Pride Month 2023: Promoting Diversity, Inclusion, and Progress
As the month of June begins, the Council joins the country in celebrating Pride Month—an important time to honor and recognize the LGBTQ+ community and their invaluable contributions. This month, we want to take a moment to reflect on the significance of Pride Month and highlight our commitment to fostering a culture of acceptance and equality.
At The Council, we champion diversity in all its forms. We recognize that embracing diversity strengthens the fabric of our society and creates a more inclusive business landscape. By celebrating the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month, we reaffirm our commitment to supporting and uplifting voices from all walks of life.
With so many prominent members of the LGBTQ+ community becoming notable business leaders it’s hard to highlight just a few individuals who have made an impact. There’s Beth Ford, the first openly gay woman to lead a Fortune 500 company while working at Land O’ Lakes. While leading the company, she is one of two Fortune 500 companies in the Twin Cities to celebrate Transgender Awareness and supports other LGBTQ+ businesses through their very own Supplier Diversity Program.
Moriaki Kida, the Regional Chief Operations Officers for Ernst & Young Japan, is a passionate advocate for inclusivity in the workplace. As he works to expand the company’s footprint in Japan and Taiwan, he is also moving to improve EY policies for LGBTQ+ employees.
Then there’s Allyn L. Shaw, President and CTO of Recycle Track Systems, who dedicates his time to increasing the representation of gender and people of color in his workplace. He also sits on the Board of OUT & Equal where he spearheaded one of the first transgender recruiting efforts of its kind in the banking space.
As you can see, representation in the workplace is a vital factor in moving LGBTQ+ rights forward. We are proud to support those who have come out publicly to show others that being a part of the LGBTQ+ community is something to take pride in. We will continue to support those who champion for diversity and inclusion and take steps to provide representation in their companies.
Pride Month serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of diversity, inclusion, and equality in all aspects of life. At the Council, we stand proudly with the LGBTQ+ community, supporting their rights, voices, and contributions. We invite you to join us in celebrating Pride Month and continuing the journey towards a more inclusive and equitable future. Together, we can create positive change and build a world where diversity is celebrated, and all individuals are empowered to be their true, authentic selves in all aspects of their life.
2023 AAPI Heritage Month
“Advancing Leaders Through Opportunities”
As May approaches, we reflect on the significance of the upcoming month, which marks the 45th anniversary of Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Over the years, this month-long celebration has provided people across the country with valuable opportunities to learn about the rich history and diverse cultures of AAPI communities. It is also a time to honor and recognize the significant contributions that AAPI individuals have made to our country.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, AAPI businesses have continued to thrive and expand in the United States. In fact, they are currently the fastest-growing segment of small businesses in the country. As we see promising increases in their growth, we are proud to have a large number of AAPI businesses certified with us at The Council. With New York boasting the second-largest number of AAPI-owned businesses, we are committed to providing opportunities that foster even more growth and success for these businesses in the future.
This year’s theme for AAPI Heritage Month is “Advancing Leaders Through Opportunities“, highlighting the importance of providing equal access and opportunities for AAPI leaders to succeed and make a positive impact in their communities. At The Council, we strive everyday to bring new opportunities to minority businesses and to invent new and different ways for our MBEs and corporate members to find success. Coming up this month, we have our first signature event of 2023, the Business Opportunity Exchange, which is an excellent opportunity to network and advance yourself—or your business—professionally. If you want to see what else we have coming up, visit our calendar to see what we have to offer!
Each year we at The Council become more committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace and beyond. Moreover, we recognize the important role that AAPI individuals and communities play in our society and are proud to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with our partners and stakeholders.
We encourage everyone to take part in the celebrations and learn more about the rich history and culture of the AAPI community. And remember to stay connected with us on social media to learn more about their culture and accomplishments.
Happy AAPI Heritage Month 2023! Let us all work together to build a more inclusive and equitable society for all.