For minority and women supplier diversity business entrepreneurs

Featured In This Issue

Real Talk
Global Connections
Cover Story
Diversity & Inclusion
Workforce Diversity

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.

Yet, it is our belief that the ad industry has almost all of the essential components to build a formidable advocacy position. The one notable exception is its lack of inclusiveness of people of color, of foreign-born descent, disabilities, veterans, women, and same-sex partnerships. This chronic lack of representation of underrepresented groups in the ad industry means they don’t get to shape the narrative or partake of its economic benefits, proceeds, or cultural impact. Industry-wide initiatives such as the 3 Percent Conference have brought this conversation to the forefront, but the fact remains: if the ad industry is to become a magnet for the creative class of up-and-coming innovators, all stakeholders have to make inclusion a priority, driven by people who can build a pipeline of diverse talent into the industry.

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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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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.Preview Issue

The much-heralded movie “Selma” is an introspective insight into the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It reminded American audiences of a time in our not-so-distant past when exclusion was the underlying context for education and economic opportunity. Fast-forward to 2015 and we’re witnessing an unprecedented call for inclusion across the landscape of national and global economic competitiveness (

However, a significant part of the multi-faceted challenge in maintaining America’s global competitive advantage is bridging the gap between exclusionary policies and practices of the past (which crippled generations of underrepresented populations), with the explosive growth of tech-driven opportunities today (which require inclusion of talent inherent in underrepresented populations) to sustain the nation’s economic growth trajectory.

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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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From Florida to Ferguson to New York City to Cleveland and other points throughout the country, we are being forced to confront the prevailing issue of race in our country. The images and voices of those involved in nonviolent protests and die-ins have filled our television screens and flooded our social media networks for the past few months...






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

Brandiacs Change the World
When I made the connection between marketing, branding, and sustainability, I knew I had found my career path. It was incredibly rewarding to get it. I had been scratching at the surface for years, because I knew there was more to communication than just a successful company and greater bottom line. Perhaps you have heard that the first step to building a brand is to have passion. When there is no passion for the marketing of a brand, it’s just transactional. Place this ad. Research this market. Create this flyer. Book floor space at this tradeshow. Create X number of impressions. Generate leads, etc. As important as it is, knowing the numbers and how they are connected does not represent passion either. Buying online ads, using analytics, refreshing or overhauling a website is still not about passion. Those things represent transactions and help companies grow.... 

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Chicago United recently honored Robert L. Parkinson, Jr., chairman and CEO of Baxter International Inc. and Jonas Prising, CEO of ManpowerGroup as its 2014 Bridge Awards recipients. The award is given to companies that demonstrate and model a holistic approach to advancing corporate diversity and inclusion.

Baxter was recognized as the Chicago Bridge Award recipient for its exemplary promotion of diversity and inclusion among its employees and within the healthcare industry. ManpowerGroup was recognized as the National Bridge Award recipient for advancing diversity among its Board of Directors and its business leaders.

To learn more about the Chicago United, visit

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In Brief

Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), announced that it has expanded the Impact Investment Fund, a feature of the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program. The SBA is implementing a series of policy changes that promise to broaden access to the fund and strengthen the impact of SBICs...


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