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Nationwide VP Terrance Williams Talks Friendship with ‘BE’ Conference, Major Black Events

Nationwide Insurance Company’s iconic slogan, “Nationwide is on Your Side,” really comes alive for you when you attend such august events as the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference (BEEC) and quickly discern their DNA imprint throughout the convention site.

The Columbus, Ohio-based conglomerate, the title sponsor of the BEEC, has been inextricably intertwined into the very fabric of the community or entity in which they serve and have done business for decades, as Terrance Williams, the regional vice president, elucidates.

Nationwide’s partnership with the crème de la crème of African American conferences and events – such as the National Black MBA Association Conference, the National Urban League convention, the CIAA basketball tournament in Charlotte, N.C., and the Black Expos in South Carolina and Texas, for example – is an extremely fruitful and mutually beneficial enterprise.

“The reason why we are linked to this event [BE conference] and why we think this is a value for us is, number one, the show is about helping entrepreneurs better themselves. It’s about giving advice, counsel, information and data that allows small entrepreneurs and emerging business to better their operations,” Williams explains. “And we are all about doing things to help better the partnerships that we have throughout the country.”

Nationwide doesn’t just hand out a sponsor check and say “good luck.” The company hosts and-or facilitates seminars and workshops at major minority conventions that are educational and relevant to the conventioneers. And, with the CIAA, “We have partnerships in place with many of those schools. We have visited many of their campuses and given seminars and taught the students on what to look for when making the transition into the work force. We’ve even hired interns from some of those schools who are now Nationwide employees.”

With such events as the BE conference or the NBMBAA, Nationwide is, in return, able to mine through a pool of highly-skilled, highly-pedigreed prospects to help fill positions at the company, such as entrepreneurial insurance agent. And then, Nationwide turns back around and sponsors invaluable programming for urbanites, such as the Tavis Smiley Fail Up national book tour and “On Your Side” financial literacy campaign. In kind, the community is able to provide services for Nationwide, as a Columbus-based marketing company did when it helped choreograph and market the Entrepreneur Conference at the luxurious Marriott Marquis hotel in Atlanta.

It’s reciprocity in perpetuity.

“We recognize the value of the African American market. When you think of the buying power with the African American community, we look for Tavis Smiley’s “On Your Side” tour to help with financial literacy to make sure they are leaving a legacy for their families.”

Nationwide’s many efforts leaves one to wonder why more companies don’t imbue this philosophy within their operational framework. –terry shropshire