For minority and women supplier diversity business entrepreneurs

Featured In This Issue

Cover Story
Global Connections
Different Drummers
Real Talk
Workforce Diversity

There’s little doubt that Gary Stiffler personifies the concept of a self-made man.That the road to success wasn’t paved, and actually began in rural Ohio makes his story all the more compelling.

Stiffler is president and CEO of The MATLET Group, a packaging, commercial and digital print solutions provider headquartered in Pawtucket, Rhode Island with revenues in excess of $100 million. After a 30-year career in the printing industry at R.R. Donnelly, Quebecor World and others, his journey to the world of entrepreneurship seems to be borne from a pleasant set of circumstances. 

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WEConnect Inter­national envisions a world in which women have the same opportunity as their male counterparts to design and implement business solutions that create wealth and ensure the sustainable prosperity of their communities. Five years ago, our global team started working with local representatives in India to identify, educate, register, and certify women’s business enterprises that are at least 51 percent owned, managed, and controlled by one or more women. To date, we have offered business training and networking opportunities to thousands of women business owners throughout the country.

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Mary Shulenberger’s drive to differentiate her business from the competition led to more than just a strategic repositioning. It led to creating a new technology product category altogether.

She formed her firm, Parle Innovation (Pi), in April 2010, at the same time Apple introduced its first iPad. Shulenberger realized the iPad’s potential as a business tool immediately, and envisioned accessories that would help professionals and consumers take full advantage of the technology.

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This post is not to complain about what is but instead offer hope and action items that can harness positive energy for future change. Based on recent industry under­standings, interactions, and experiences, we envision the revolutionary start of a new chapter around workforce inclusion and vendor partnerships, hereinafter “advocacy.” Many of us are already aware that when it comes to advocacy in the advertising industry, there are some valiant causes to be defended, many hopeless cases to be conceded and others bureaucratically wrapped up without any concrete follow-up or follow-through steps toward resolution or advancement.

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From the top down, my workforce is made up of a rich, colorful, cross-cultural group of people. To begin with, I am an Irish immigrant who made Silicon Valley my home after I left university. The first person I hired when I launched my company was a Latino who would later bring on his sister, and, shortly after that, their nephew. Today, the majority of my employees hail from, among other places, Asia, Latin America, and the Near East. As you can imagine, establishing and maintaining a harmonious work environment in which cultural norms are anything but, can be a challenge.

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image Cover Story
image Global Connections
image Different Drummers
image Real Talk
image Workforce Diversity

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This past February, I was privileged to be part of a small group of thought leaders, strategic partners, and minority businesses which were convened by the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) for its 2015 MBDA Stakeholder Summit in Washington, D.C. The Summit, entitled “Elevating the Narrative and Direction of Minority Businesses as a National Economic Priority,” was designed to raise the level of awareness, foster discussion, and develop a blueprint to help drive growth and global competitiveness for the nation’s minority business community....






The MBDA Business Center of Pennsylvania (MBC-PA) and The Entrepreneurs Forum of Greater Philadelphia have signed a memorandum of understanding to create a partnership that provides valuable resources to minority-owned firms including increased access to procurement opportunities, increased access to capital, exporting assistance and advisory board services.

“Rather than recreating the wheel we are trying to find programs and initiatives where we can take our core strengths from each group, bring them together and serve that community every better,” said Dan Ross, executive director of EFGP.

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Master Your Brand

Branding Your Life
Branding is ever popular today, and naturally, as a branding expert, I’m thrilled! Survey the stories of today’s branding sensations and it’s commonplace to hear of people who found themselves at the bottom of poverty, some living in cars,some on the streets, some going days and weeks without the basic necessities of life, penniless, standing in soup lines,but holding onto faith or a positive and encouraging word which somehow helps them bounce to higher heights than before their own fall.

Branding after Life’s Challenges
We all have a story of triumph within us. Some of us have found ways to share our story, and even profit from such trying journeys. Tyler Perry, playwright, filmmaker, actor, and media giant is a great example. Perry shares his personal story and the world can see how one play turned into many, followed by movies, and the launch of many amazing projects and collaborations.

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Toyota named Chuck Hendrix as supplier diversity manager for Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA). Since beginning his career with Toyota in 1996, Hendrix has held several managerial positions within TEMA’s Purchasing division including Project Management, Education & Development, Systems and Strategy, as well as the procurement of component parts within the Chassis department. He also served as corporate diversity manager where he was responsible for advancing TEMA’s overall diversity initiatives.

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In Brief

Sage recently surveyed nearly 550 U.S. small business owners to determine their outlook and hiring plans for 2015, including their plans of attack for business growth and their potential challenges. Overall, U.S. small business owners reported their company performance was good or very good in 2014, and they expect 2015 to be a better year for them than 2014...


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