Supporting diverse businesses at every step

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U.S. Bank and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce work to ensure our supply chain stays diverse.

U.S. Bank is a longtime supporter of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). We sat down with Fesha Buie, a supplier diversity specialist in our Cincinnati office, to talk about what the NGLCC does and what they can do for you.

Q: Fesha, before we talk about the NGLCC, can you please help our readers understand what the Supplier Diversity team at U.S. Bank does?

A: Supplier Diversity creates a seat at the table for diverse firms to compete against their larger, non-diverse counterparts. U.S. Bank is committed to building relationships with certified diverse businesses. Our corporate goal is to identify and increase the business we do with minority-, women-, veteran-, service disabled- and LGBT-owned companies. The types of requests that come my way are anything from photographers to construction and marketing services. It runs the gamut.

Q: So, a “supplier” is any company U.S. Bank hires to provide goods and services?

A: Right. Supplier Diversity ensures that our supplier base reflects our work environment, community and customer base. Our goal is to further diversify the bank’s supply chain.

Q: How has the makeup of the program changed and grown at U.S. Bank?

A: It has grown a lot, thanks to the support and enthusiasm of our senior leadership. In 2013, we spent $280 million with diverse suppliers, and by 2015, we were up to $368 million. That’s a huge leap in two years.

Q: How does a company qualify as “diverse?”

A: U.S. Bank requires suppliers to be 51 percent owned, controlled and managed by one or more minority group members, women, veterans or LGBT person(s). Certified companies must submit a certification received from an authorized third party or regulatory agency. The NGLCC is one of those organizations that U.S. Bank directly partners with, among others.

Q: Can you tell us more about the NGLCC?

A: Absolutely. The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, which was founded in 2002, is the largest not-for-profit advocacy organization in the U.S. dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancement for LGBT people. The organization supports, showcases and certifies LGBT-owned businesses, and provides networking opportunities with major corporations, like ours, that are seeking to procure goods and services.

Q: How long has U.S. Bank been working with the NGLCC?

A: U.S. Bank has been a proud corporate partner of the NGLCC since roughly 2010.

Q: What does that entail?

A: Since 2010, we’ve supported the NGLCC in a number of ways — for example, event sponsorships. This summer, we supported the NGLCC at their International Business & Leadership conference in California. We also recently attended their National Dinner Awards in Washington, D.C.

Q: Why is the NGLCC important to U.S. Bank?

A: The NGLCC provides us with a way to connect with certified LGBT suppliers and support the LGBT community while addressing our bottom line. Simply put, the organization provides a direct link to individuals who reflect our diverse customer and employee base.

Q: How does your work impact customers?

A: It helps the organization to attract and broaden our customer base. Companies with a diverse customer base send out a strong message about their brand when they also choose to have diversity in their pool of suppliers. Additionally, oftentimes our customers are business owners and in the instance where the business owner becomes our supplier, it creates a mutually beneficial win for all parties.

Q: Thanks, Fesha. Any final thoughts for LGBT community members who are interested in learning more?

A: They should definitely learn more, especially if they are a small business owner. The NGLCC exists to support them, and that’s why we support the NGLCC.

Join our team and see if your business qualifies for our Supplier Diversity program.

LGBT community members interested in working with or becoming certified by the NGLCC, please visit the NGLCC website.