Tag: President's Message

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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.


Terrence Clark

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.


Terrence Clark

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. 


Terrence Clark

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.


Terrence Clark

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. 


Terrence Clark

A Message of Sustainability from Terrence Clark

As we approach Earth Day on April 22nd, I want to take a moment to emphasize the importance of recognizing this day for businesses. For over half a century, Earth Day has served as a reminder of the impact that we, as individuals and as business leaders, have on the environment. It is our responsibility to ensure that we are doing everything we can to reduce our environmental footprint. 

It is also crucial to acknowledge the disproportionate effects that climate change continues to have on minority communities. The impacts of environmental degradation are felt most by those who are already marginalized and vulnerable. We cannot address the issues of climate change without also addressing the issues of equality—they go hand-in-hand. The term climate justice was created to address the need to solve both issues. 

For decades, minority communities have been pushed into lower income housing and have had to face the effects of severe storms, weather related disasters, and pollution as a result of climate change. As advocates for diversity and inclusion, and business leaders, it is our duty to ensure that our business practices are not exacerbating these disparities and to work to create an equitable future for all. 

We want to give special recognition to the certified-MBE’s and corporate partners in our network who have already made sustainability a part of their business practice. By prioritizing sustainability, you are not only contributing to a healthier planet, but you are also demonstrating your commitment to being a responsible part of our community and recognizing the needs of all stakeholders. Sustainability in the diversity supply chain is a topic that The Council will continue to promote and include in our programming. Those who attended last year’s Sustainability Symposium know first hand that this is a subject near and dear to our hearts and we will continue to make every effort necessary to keep change moving forward. 

Let us all take time this week and every week to reflect on our business practices and find more ways we can sustainably reduce our carbon footprint. 


Terrence Clark

2023 Women’s History Month

The Council recognizes the significance of the start of March, as it marks the beginning of Women’s History Month. During this month, we take the time to reflect and celebrate the vital role women play in both American history and modern culture, and recognize the lasting impact that many historic women have left through their dedication, work, and passion. 

Countless women have pioneered their way into the world of business, opening doors for generations of females to come after them. In recognition of Women’s History Month, we wanted to highlight a few lesser known—but no less noteworthy—women and explore how they shifted the business paradigm to be more equitable and inclusive for all. 

  • Anna Sutherland Bissel was the first female CEO in the United States. After her husband passed away in 1990, she took over the Bissell Sweeper Company. By 1999 she grew the company to become the largest organization of its kind in the world. Anna Bissell was also the first business owner to provide her employees with pensions and other benefits, and lead the movement to change the way workers are treated. 

  • Thasunda Brown Duckett is the President and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA. While holding a high ranking position, she also serves several boards of well known companies like Nike. Despite her busy work life, she has also founded the Otis and Rosie Brown Foundation to recognize and reward people who empower and uplift their community. She is passionate about helping to close the gaps in wealth creation, educational outcomes, and career success for communities of color.

  • Annie Malone was a daughter of formerly enslaved people. She developed a chemical straightener for coarse hair. She herself was worth millions, but used her wealth to donate land and cover a portion of the building costs for the St. Louis Colored Orphans’ Home, now known as the Annie Malone Children and Family Service Center. 

  • Estée Lauder created the well-known cosmetics company that is still highly prosperous today. In 1998, she was included on the annual list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century, notably the only woman listed among this prestigious group. 

  • Christine Poon was the vice chairman of Johnson & Johnson and their former worldwide chairman. During her time there, she built Johnson & Johnson’s medicines to the leader that it is today. In 2004 she was named the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association “Woman of the Year” and in 2008 she was listed in Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women. 

While this is only a small portion of women who made a positive impact in the business field, the leadership of this group—and many others—have encouraged women of all ages to find their place and their voice in today’s working market. The Council recognizes these and all womens’ achievements, honoring the hard work and dedication that it takes to live by your morals and stand out against your peers. 

We encourage you all to get to know our list of Council-certified women-owned businesses and reach out to those listed to create new business relationships. Our goal is to help create more opportunities for minority women-owned businesses to find success, no matter what time of year it is. 


Terrence Clark

Celebrating 50 Years of Advancing Minority Business Enterprises 

The New York and New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council is proud to announce the celebration of our 50-Year “Golden” Anniversary in 2023. As we reflect on the amazing milestone that is 50 years of serving our local business community, we think about all the progress we have made in empowering minority suppliers and connecting them to corporate members in need of their services. Not only is The Council able to help suppliers get recognized and certified as minority-owned, but we also help build and grow these suppliers through development programs and by offering ample opportunities to network and connect with other suppliers or corporate members. 

We have no plans of slowing our efforts this year —or any of the years to come— and are excited to embrace The Council’s 2023 theme: Amplifying Capabilities, Fostering Growth

This year’s theme is both a reflection of the core message The Council has strived to embrace since our inception in 1973 and a poignant reminder of the work still to be done in creating truly diverse, accessible supply chains for all. As we move into the 50th Anniversary year of the NYNJMSDC, we look forward to new ways we can amplify the message of our organization and build a greater connection between MBEs and new business opportunities. We hope that everyone can take time this year to explore new business opportunities, build connections that will enhance your goals, succeed beyond your expectations, and celebrate your successes. 

No matter where life takes your business this year, remember that you always have the support of the NYNJMSDC. We offer a range of networking opportunities and special events, providing the perfect opportunity for all of The Council’s constituents to create long-lasting connections to propel their businesses forward. This year’s Signature Events will take place on the following dates:

There will be plenty of other development and networking events in the coming months, and we invite you to stay tuned to our regular email newsletters and social media updates to make sure you don’t miss out on some great opportunities for your business. 

As always, we’re looking forward to continuing the advocacy, partnership, and mentorship relationships with our MBE suppliers and corporate members as we work to foster lasting, meaningful connections all year long. We strive to enable everyone involved with the NYNJMSDC to reap the benefits of connection and recognition offered through our past, present, and future efforts. And we look forward to amplifying the capabilities and fostering the growth of our members and community for another 50 years… and many more!


Terrence Clark

2023 Black History Month

The beginning of February marks the start of Black History Month. What started out as a week-long event has expanded into a full month of celebrating the achievements of African Americans whose accomplishments have gone unnoticed for too long in history.

In recognition of African Americans’ fight toward ending historic and ongoing oppression, this year’s theme for Black History Month is “Black Resistance.” For hundreds of years, minorities in this country have had to fight for the same rights as other Americans, breaking through barriers to have their work recognized in the same light as their colleagues. Despite the progress we’ve made as a country, African Americans and other minorities are still met with barriers and setbacks that make it harder to achieve the American dream. 

As we reflect on what the Council can do to help, we continue to promote the importance of creating a diverse supply chain. We recently named the winners of the 2022 Corporate Awards, an initiative that highlights standout members in their field for their commitment to creating a diverse supply chain. Employing people from all walks of life creates new ideas and different perspectives that can serve a business well; it also shows prospective employees and consumers that your organization values and celebrates differences among its people. 

We continue to see businesses grow and prosper as a result of the many events and programs we hold in our ongoing effort to increase the number of minority-owned businesses. We also proudly offer MBE and Corporate Spotlight recognition on our website to showcase different minority businesses and promote them to our members on both sides of the supply chain. And of course, we offer a variety of networking events to help businesses build connections, including Networking for Scholarships, the Partnership Awards Reception, Biz Connect, our Matchmaker events, and many others. We look forward to continuing these events and promoting businesses to find success in their fields. 

While we are continually motivated by the progress that we have seen in ending inequality, there is always room to grow and work to be done. This work can not be done by one person or organization alone — we must all continue to chip away at these inequalities to finally have equal opportunities for all in this country, no matter the color of their skin. 

We want to say thank you to all of our MBEs and Corporate Sponsors for your continued support of The Council and our initiatives. We are excited for what the future will bring and will continue to reflect on progress, assess our challenges, and make strides toward a powerful minority business community that benefits every member of our diverse nation.


Terrence Clark

2023 MLK Day Message from Our President

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

What would have been a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 93rd birthday is now a day of remembrance of his contributions to the advancement of minority communities everywhere. With every year that passes, we become closer to achieving the American dream that Dr. King so passionately and bravely fought for. Despite the progress that still needs to be made, we want to take today to look back on all that has been accomplished so far as a result of Dr. King’s leadership. 

From his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” to his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King was, and still remains, a household name when it comes to the Civil Rights Movement. His advocacy for the use of peaceful tactics to bring attention to and spur change regarding inequalities occurring through the United States resonated around the country and world. He became a leader who inspired people of all demographics to stand up against injustice and strive for a better life. 

Today The Council recognizes the sacrifices that Dr. King and many others like him have made for us to have the lives and opportunities that we see today. We aim to show our appreciation for this sacrifice by building and uplifting minority businesses to create more opportunities for otherwise marginalized peoples and communities to prosper and grow. 

It has been a long road to gain the rights and freedoms that we enjoy today, but the fight to end racial injustice is far from over. Take today to reflect on all that you have been able to achieve because of Dr.King’s work and the success of the Civil Rights Movement. Think about the future – how can you help others to see the success that you have achieved? Whenever possible, we should be reaching out and helping those around us so one day everyone will have equal opportunity to achieve the American Dream. Keep in mind that progress will not always be linear, but don’t get discouraged. 

As Dr. King said, we must, at all costs, “Keep moving forward.”


Terrence Clark