Tag: President's Message

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Celebrating Juneteenth: Commemorating the Journey Towards Equality

Today marks a day of celebration and remembering the freedom that was long sought after by enslaved people in America. On June 19, 1866 the last slaves in Galveston, Texas were informed that they were free — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Since that day, Juneteenth has evolved into a national symbol of African American freedom and the celebration of our culture, resilience, and progress.

While African Americans have celebrated this day with family gatherings, music, food, and community events for the last 150 years, it was just three years ago that it was officially recognized as a federal holiday — finally honoring the strength and contributions of our ancestors on a national scale. This declaration has allowed for more education on the significance of this holiday and has opened up conversations about race, equity, and the work that still needs to be done.

As we celebrate Juneteenth, it is essential to reflect on the progress we have made and acknowledge the work that still lies ahead. Juneteenth is not just a celebration of freedom, but a call-to-action for the future. It’s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible.

We do not celebrate the day the Emancipation Proclamation was signed because, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “no one is free until we are all free.” He may not have been talking about slavery, but the message is the same no matter what type of oppression we’re facing. Let today be a reminder that freedom and equality must be actively pursued and defended. And that while Juneteenth is a time of celebration, it is also a recommitment to the values of justice and equality.

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Terrence Clark

Proudly Celebrating Caribbean American Heritage

June also marks the beginning of a month-long celebration of the Caribbean American culture. At The Council, we are proud to honor the rich heritage, profound contributions, and enduring spirit of the Caribbean American community. 

We can see the influence that Caribbean American culture has had on our country—from the rhythmic beats of reggae, soca, and calypso; the delicious food; government; and sports.  

Cicely Tyson was born to Nevisian parents and was a pioneering actress who broke barriers and garnered acclaim for her powerful performances and advocacy for racial and gender equality in the arts. She was selective about the roles that she took, often turning down parts that she felt were demeaning to black people. She sought to highlight the dignity and humanity of her character. 

Marcus Garvey was a Jamaican political leader, publisher, and orator who became an advocate for Black nationalism and Pan-Africanism. One of his most known achievements was founding the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) in 1914. This organization aimed to unite all people of African descent and advocate for their economic and social upliftment. 

At The Council, we are committed to fostering an inclusive business environment where minority businesses can thrive. We invite everyone to join us in celebrating Caribbean American Heritage Month by supporting Caribbean-owned businesses, learning more about their rich cultural heritage, and attending events to meet and network with more businesses. 

Happy Caribbean American Heritage Month!

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Terrence Clark

June’s Warm Welcome: Honoring LGBTQ+ Pride and Progress

June brings in warm weather and with it Pride Month! This month holds a lot of significance as we come together and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, honor its rich history, and recognize the strides made toward quality and acceptance. Pride Month is not only a time of celebration but also a reminder of the ongoing journey toward inclusion and respect for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Pride Month started as a way to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, which took place in June of 1969. The riots were a pivotal moment in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and are widely considered the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. The first Pride March was held on June 28, 1970, in New York City to commemorate the riots from the previous year. Over the years, the tradition grew and June became recognized as Pride Month. 

Throughout the years, many people have played pivotal roles in securing the rights that members of this diverse community have today. 

Jim Fitterling is the CEO of Dow Inc. In his position, he has championed LGBTQ inclusion within the company and beyond. He was named #1 LGBTQ+ Executive on the “OUTstanding in Business” list in 2018. In 2021 he received the Women Business Collaborative CEO Leadership Award for Gender and Diversity Excellence and in 2022 he was awarded the CME STEM Leadership Award for Diversity & Inclusion. 

Sara Kate Ellis is the President and CEO of GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and has had a profound impact on the business world through her work. In her position, she was able to accelerate the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community through a variety of compelling and effective initiatives, campaigns, and programs. Her work earned her various awards most recently, the 2023 Time100 and its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. She has also been recognized by Adweek and ADCOLOR’s 2020 Champions of Diversity and Inclusion, Crain New York Business’ 2020 Notable LGBTQ Leaders & Executives, Logo30, Stevie Awards for Women in Business, Webby Awards, Variety’s Power of New York, OUT100, and Guardian’s World Power Pride List.

Martine Rothblatt is the CEO of United Therapeutics and has been a trailblazer in both the biotech industry and the LGBTQ+ movement. She founded Sirius XM and has been a vocal advocate for transgender rights and healthcare access. 

As we reflect on the progress made and the influential figures who have championed the rights and recognition of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s clear that Pride Month is more than just a celebration—it’s a reaffirmation of the values of diversity, inclusion, and equality. Leaders like Jim Fitterling, Sarah Kate Ellis, and Martine Rothblatt exemplify the positive impact that committed advocacy and representation can have in creating more inclusive workplaces and societies.

As we enjoy the festivities of Pride Month, let’s also recommit ourselves to supporting and uplifting the LGBTQ+ community, ensuring that the strides we celebrate today pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive tomorrow. 

Happy Pride Month!

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Terrence Clark

Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month: Honoring Diversity, Empowering Communities

Spring is officially here, bringing with it a vibrant celebration of culture, history, and contributions from the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. At The Council, we embrace the richness of diversity in all its forms, recognizing the role AAPI individuals and businesses play in shaping our society and economy.

Celebrating Achievements

This month is a great time to celebrate and recognize the remarkable achievements of AAPI individuals. From groundbreaking advancements in science and technology to unparalleled success in business entrepreneurship and leadership, AAPI professionals continue to inspire and drive progress and prosperity in our communities.

Bill Imada is the chairman and chief connectivity officer for IW Group. He has worked with many well-known brands including American Airlines, Coca-Cola, General Motors, and McDonalds. His work supporting the AAPI community has been recognized by the White House earning him an appointment to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islanders by President Barack Obama. 

Ajay Bhatt was a computer architect who defined and developed many widely used technologies like the Universal Serial Bus (USB Devices), Platform Power Management architecture, and various chipset improvements and has pioneered the way a lot of our technology runs today. 

Larry Itliong emigrated from the Philippines to California when he was 15 and had dreams of becoming a lawyer. He later found his passion as a labor leader who co-founded the United Farm Workers. He convinced thousands of workers to go on strike against local vineyards to demand better pay and the right to form a union. 

Patsy Mink was the first Asian American woman elected to Congress and represented the state of Hawaii for 24 years. Through each of her many political campaigns, she stayed true to her morals on behalf of Asian Americans, women, and children—even when it put her career at risk. 

Empowering Communities

At The Council, we are committed to fostering an inclusive environment where all businesses can thrive. We recognize the unique challenges faced by AAPI entrepreneurs and suppliers and remain dedicated to providing them with the support, resources, and opportunities they need to succeed.

Through our certification program, networking events, and educational initiatives, we aim to empower AAPI-owned businesses, helping them access new markets, forge valuable partnerships, and achieve sustainable growth.

If you are looking to get more involved with The Council this month, check out our news and events page and see what we have coming up. 

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Terrence Clark

Embracing Sustainability: A Call to Businesses on Earth Day

As we celebrate Earth Day in 2024, the urgency to address environmental challenges has never been more apparent. With climate change continuing to be an ongoing issue and the need for sustainable practices becoming increasingly evident, businesses need to step up and take responsibility for their impact on the planet. At The Council, we believe that sustainability isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a mindset that can drive positive change for our planet and our communities.

Sustainability in business isn’t just about reducing waste or implementing energy-efficient technologies (though these are important components). It’s about rethinking the way we do business and considering the environmental and social impacts of every decision we make. It’s about fostering a culture of responsibility and innovation that can lead to long-term success, both for businesses and the planet. 

Sustainability is particularly crucial for minority businesses and communities, which often bear the brunt of environmental degradation and inequitable resource distribution. Minority-owned businesses, especially those in marginalized communities, are disproportionately affected by the adverse effects of poor sustainability practices, such as pollution, climate change impacts, and limited access to resources. By prioritizing sustainability, businesses can not only mitigate these disparities but also foster economic empowerment and resilience within minority communities. 

As we celebrate Earth Day, let us recommit ourselves to building a more sustainable future. By working together and embracing innovation, businesses have the power to make a positive difference for the planet and future generations. Let’s lead by example and create a world where equality and sustainability go hand in hand.

Happy Earth Day!

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Terrence Clark

Breaking Barriers: The Diverse Women Who Shaped History and Inspired Change

Each year during Women’s History Month, The Council takes time to recognize the many contributions of women and highlights some lesser-known figures who made a big impact on history. This year resonates even more with The Council, as the official theme for this month is “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.” 

Our daily work at The Council is to ensure that regardless of ethnicity or sex, you are offered the same opportunities as others to succeed. We urge you to take time this month to reflect on influential women that have been in your life–and to learn a little bit more about the women we’ve highlighted here. 

Nanye-hi, known in American as Nancy Ward, was born into a powerful Cherokee Wolf clan in the territory that is now Tennessee. While her childhood was filled with violence from battles with Europeans and other tribes, she believed all people should live together in peace. After picking up her husband’s rifle after he was killed in battle she was given the name Ghighau, or Beloved Woman, by the Cherokee. Nanye-hi went on to become a powerful member of her tribe and in 1781 had an influential role in the peace talks with an American delegation, where she expressed dismay that the Americans had no female negotiators, stating: “you know that women are always looked upon as nothing; but we are your mothers; you are our sons. Our cry is all for peace; let it continue. This peace must last forever. Let your women’s sons be ours; our sons be yours. Let your women hear our words.”

Shirley Chisholm broke through political barriers during the tumultuous times around the Civil Rights movement to become the first black woman elected to Congress. Then, in 1972, Chisholm became the first woman to run for president of the United States, ultimately garnering nearly 10% of the delegate votes despite a lack of support from the predominantly male Congressional Black Caucus.  Her motto “Unbought and Unbossed” perfectly summarizes her outspoken advocacy for women and minorities during her seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. She said she wanted to be remembered as “a woman who dared to be the catalyst of change.”

Dorothy Height, nicknamed the “godmother of the women’s rights movement” by President Barack Obama, used her background in education and social work to relentlessly advance the rights of women and minorities. For more than 40 years Height served as the President of the National Council of Negro Women and was a prominent leader at the Young Women’s Christain Association (YWCA). In 1994, she was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her many contributions to the advancement of women and minorities. 

Bessie Coleman, a woman of African American and Indigenous heritage, etched her name in history as the first woman to obtain a pilot’s license in the United States. Reverently dubbed “Brave Bessie” for her daring aerial maneuvers, she not only soared through the skies but also fearlessly confronted the prevailing societal norms of segregation. Her unwavering commitment to justice was evident as she steadfastly declined engagements at venues that endorsed discrimination or segregation against African Americans. Coleman’s legacy extends beyond her remarkable aviation achievements, embodying resilience and advocacy for equality in the face of adversity.

These are only a few of the inspiring women who have worked to break through barriers of oppression for minorities. We recognize and applaud their bravery and dedication to improving the world for those who come after them. 

At The Council, our goal is to help foster more opportunities for minority women-owned businesses to find success, regardless of the time of year. We invite you to check out our list of Council-certified women-owned businesses and reach out to those listed to create new business relationships. 

If you are looking for more information on upcoming events to help network your business, visit our News & Events page for more. 

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Terrence Clark

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.


Terrence Clark

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.”


Terrence Clark

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


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

For more ways to stay up-to-date with The Council and receive notifications about upcoming events, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on our social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, X, Instagram).

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!


Terrence Clark

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. 


Terrence Clark