Candace Barnhardt, VP for diversity for Nationwide Insurance, reminds us that the insurance company was founded by an entrepreneur.

So it makes perfect sense to partner with the type of black conventions where innovators, overachievers, inventors and entrepreneurs can be found in abundance, such as the Black Enterprise and National Black MBA Association conferences.

“This is a multifaceted operation for us. There is the supplier diversity angle, the opportunity to access suppliers in multitudes of businesses. But … the reason we exist and what’s so special about us is that Nationwide was founded by an entrepreneur over 80 years ago, and it was about protecting people who were underserved. So, I think it’s an interesting connection and it’s an opportunity to support entrepreneurs and it’s really about supporting the success of our country. It really is entrepreneurs who will get our country back on track and makes some things happen,” says Barnhardt.

Barnhardt was named one of the top diversity officers in the country by Black Enterprise magazine because of the success model for attracting, retaining and promoting minorities and making a lasting imprint in the community, which is ubiquitous in Columbus, Ohio.

“… Nationwide also supports the National Black MBA, the NUL, etc. because it is more than about giving money to something or buying advertising. It is about forming partnerships that make a difference. We’re in a relationship business and that takes trust. We form partnerships that help us sell our products and just as importantly serve the community,” she says.

Your partnership with a select number of African American-based conferences is the epitome of mutuality:

Nationwide has been involved with the sponsorship with the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference, there are entrepreneurs that we can serve and protect. Because they are experienced entrepreneurs, they are potentially interested in an entrepreneurial endeavor like insurance.

By recruiting the top talent in the country, you achieve a business and community objective all in one:

We’re looking for agents all over the country. Our promise is that nationwide is on your side. Protect the things that mean the most to you and prepare you for retirement. If we are going to serve the communities that we serve then our agent [base] must be diverse.

Nationwide insurance is synonymous with advocacy.

All of the tornados that have come through have devastated entire communities and, in some instances, entire cities. That’s when we’re called in to do what we do, which is help people put their businesses back together, get their lives back together. This is a time for us to show what we’re made of. Sometimes, we’re tested.

Terry Shropshire

I'm a lover of words, pictures, people and The Ohio State Buckeyes. A true journalist from the soul.