Changing the Face of Entrepreneurship for Over 30 Years

Featured In This Issue

Cover Story
Trans-Pacific Partnership
Diversity & Inclusion
Valuing Relationshps

As a teenager growing up in the Bronx, Pegine Echevarria considered herself real tough—she joined a gang, ran with the wrong crowd, and got kicked out of high school. But that tough girl eventually grad­uated, took a chance, and moved to Spain to turn her life around. It was there that she began her entrepreneurial journey, launching two businesses that she sold for a profit by the time she was 23.

Like Echevarria, Ranjini Poddar, CEO of Artech Information Systems, Inc., and Georgia Richardson, president and CEO of Broadline Medical Systems, demonstrate that launching new chapters in a career can be a risk that’s worth taking. Poddar left a successful career with a Wall Street law firm to rejoin the company she co-founded with her husband. And Richardson gave up a lucrative career in real estate to run her late husband’s business.

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Q: Could you give our readers a brief overview of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement?

A:The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a comprehensive, high-standard 21st century trade agreement that includes 11 Pacific Rim countries plus the United States. TPP will open new avenues to trade for U.S. businesses, contributing to their bottom line while building their competitiveness and enhancing U.S. economic and job growth. TPP will open new markets and set new trade rules for five new TPP trading partners: Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Vietnam, as well as integrate and expand the scope of trade rules for countries with whom the United States has existing trade agreements (Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Singapore). It levels the playing field for our workers by eliminating more than 18,000 taxes, or foreign import tariffs, that various countries put on Made-in-America goods, and puts in place historic labor and environmental standards that will ensure our trading partners play by our rules and values.

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Minority-owned businesses reeling from the seemingly endless reports of hacker attacks and security breaches last year should brace for even more sophisticated capers in 2016, even as IT security departments roll out new tactics for thwarting criminals.

“It amazes me that they can and are able to break into the most sophisticated computers in the world,” says Ruben Gonzalez, president and CEO of OLE Advertising, a minority-owned business based in Annapolis, Maryland.

Security experts say that the image of yesteryear’s hacker—the pimply-faced teen on a lark for grins and giggles—has given way to teams of organized criminals hell-bent on stealing and monetizing companies’ data.

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With laser like eye contact, Katrina Adams exuded confidence from the moment she greeted me with a tennis-firm handshake. She has entered the history books alongside the likes of Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe, and Art Carrington—all pioneers in changing the face and culture of tennis.

Not only is Adams the youngest person ever appointed to the top post as ambassador for the sport of tennis in the United States, she is only the fourth woman, the first former professional player, and the first person of color to be appointed chair, president, and CEO of the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

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When it comes to creating strong, viable, and long-lasting supplier diversity relationships, Agile•1 has built a vibrant program that is unique to the staffing industry. Their vision statement is simple and direct—to “Connect, Build and Foster” relationships with suppliers in a way that brings value to every member of the supply chain. This vision is brought to life each day as the company manages its supplier base of approximately 2,500 companies.

Agile•1’s Global Strategic Sourcing (GSS) group, which oversees the company’s supplier management program, is headed by Associate Vice President Jaideep Majumdar. Majumdar is responsible for all supplier-related activity throughout the enterprise, including sourcing, supplier implementations, and supplier relationship management.

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image Cover Story
image Trans-Pacific Partnership
image CyberSecurity
image Diversity & Inclusion
image Valuing Relationshps

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Recently, a fellow Tuck School of Business Minority Business Executives Program graduate, Gary Robinson, proposed an interesting discussion on his Facebook page. I invited him to elaborate for our readers. ~ Cheers!

Since the beginning of the Obama Administration nearly eight years ago, racial tensions have been steadily on the rise. From the confederate flag debate to the shootings of unarmed black men, our society has been steadily reverting back to its traditional divisions. This presidential election season has done nothing but make the situation worse.




Master Your Brand

Building your brand image is essential to the growth and sustainability of your company. Creating a prominent brand is more than marketing on social media, attending conferences, or being quoted in publications. Developing a comprehensive strategy that is intentional and carefully planned is the key to brand building.

One of the ways small business owners can leverage their brand is through recognition. Let’s face it, being recognized is a great feeling. Recognition is empowerment and gives us the fuel to continue to pursue excellence. However, many CEOs of leading small businesses find it very hard to leverage recognition into opportunities to build relationships and compete for corporate contracts. In our annual Princeton Proper Small Business survey only 25 percent of small businesses utilized recognition to boost their brand. We found that many small businesses are unaware of the lasting impact of marketing recognition while others are bashful about boasting about their awards.

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Monsanto Company’s Supplier Diversity Mentoring Program (MSDMP), an extensive mentoring program for certified diverse business owners, creating opportunity for businesses owned by minorities, women, persons with disabilities, veterans or disabled veterans, as well as persons who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender, graduated its first class in Novem­ber 2015. During the ceremony, each of the mentees shared the value of their participation in the MSDMP, now considered a best-in-class program based on feedback from diversity supplier organizations.

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MGT Signs MOU with Billion Dollar Roundtable

Redwood City-based Mosaic Global Transportation (MGT), a certified minority business enterprise, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Billion Dollar Roundtable Inc. (BDR). Created in 2001 to recognize and celebrate corporations that achieved spending of at least $1 billion with minority and woman-owned suppliers, the BDR will receive ground transportation services from MGT for its leadership and membership on an as-needed basis.

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In Brief

On January 12, 2016, the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce issued a detailed statistical report( highlighting the disparity between the number of women business owners in America and their business revenues. This report, derived from the recently released2012 U.S. Census Survey of Business Ownerspoints out that women business owners are failing to achieve revenues on par with male-owned firms.


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