Joset B. Wright took over the reins of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) armed with a wealth of experience in procurement and minority supplier development. Though her tenure is not even 2 years old, Wright has helped to significantly increase the reach, influence and visibility of an organization devoted solely to expanding the ability of minority business owners to enter into mutually beneficial relationships with large corporations nationwide.
The Georgetown University law graduate was the vice president and managing director at The Hollins Group, a minority-owned executive retained search firm in Chicago. She also spent 13 years at Ameritech where, at one point, she was she was president of Ameritech Illinois, the largest communications company in Illinois, with $4.5 billion in annual operating revenues. She was responsible for all regulatory, legislative and external relations activities following the merger of Ameritech Corporation and SBC Corp.
“Her executive experience, knowledge of procurement and strong understanding of the value of minority supplier development are instrumental in NMSDC’s expansion,” said Richard A. Hughes, chairman of the NMSDC executive committee.
Wright, who has been with NMSDC for just over 18 months, spoke to rolling out about what the NMSDC is and does and also about increasing and strengthening the bonds between minority-owned businesses and corporations seeking their expertise and resources.
“We are a national organization with a network of 37 affiliates. My responsibility is leading and guiding the delivery of services for minority business development and companies throughout the network. The national convention went very well and exceeded our expectations. We had over 7,000 people participate over the five days and 787 booths.”
What is your philosophy of leadership and how do you lead such a massive national organization in a way that increases its visibility and effectiveness?
Lots of prayer. I think you have to focus on the all of the different resources that are available around the nation and figuring out where do you put different people to address our regional affiliates, our counsel affiliates. We’re making sure they are serving the MBEs. My job is to make sure through my team that they have the resources that they need to deliver programs that are effective to our corporations as well as our MBEs
In addition to your leadership, why do you believe that the NMSDC has enhanced its influence over the years?
I think that what has happened over the years is that the members have realized it is important to go to network. The opportunities that are available are just incredible. Either it is at a workshop or it is at a social event where all the corporate members are present. Over the years, corporations have been more aggressive in marketing their companies and they are sending more focused purchasing managers and not just diversity members and actually reaching that purchasing department and reaching that decision maker, and they come knowing what the opportunities are. So when they meet the MBEs they can do business right there.
Corporations have become attuned to the wealth of talent within diverse demographics and have mined that fruitful landscape more in recent years:
The light went off when they realized that minority business owners can bring value to their supply chains. They realized that there was no risk involved in bringing in a MBE as opposed to a non-MBE. It became a question of who can deliver on what I need delivered when I need it in the way that I need to have it done. And once they got over that psychological barrier that had been in place for a long, long time, they realized that this is their supply-chain partner. So if the best MBEs are certified with the NMSDC then I need to be there where they are so that I can get them interested in my company. They used to stand around and wait for the MBEs to come up to them. But now they are bringing more people in and they are getting extra space so that they can register MBEs at the trade fair. They are doing things to actively engage with the minority businesses that come to the conference. –terry shrosphire