For minority and women supplier diversity business entrepreneurs

As a boy, Clifford A. Bailey stood before his church congregation confidently reciting the Easter or Christmas speeches that he’d diligently learned. Each year and each special occasion, he was there, poised and self-assured. Even then, he instinctively knew how to use information, oratory, and energy to move his listeners.

If CEOs are made at church podiums, then Bailey may be the truest example. From those beginnings in Forrest City, Arkansas, a charismatic leader and entrepreneur emerged who would establish his own information technology consulting firm, TechSoft Systems, Inc., become an author and highly sought-after motivational speaker, and most recently, be elected Chair of the National Minor­ity Supplier Diversity Council’s (NMSDC) Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee (MBEIC).Preview Issue

2014 was quite a year. So many things happened that I thought were destined to happen; such as the controversial immigration executive order by President Barack Obama. To the contrary, some things happened which I thought would never happen, such as the opening of a Cuba-America dialog. That one, to me, was mind-blowing. But dare I say that race relations in the U.S. were and still are a gigantic problem.

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In the U.S., examples include Éleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours, founder of DuPont Chemical, a French immigrant and steel magnate, and Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish immigrant. The phenomenon has impacted Asia as well. In Japan, it was Western-trained Japanese coupled with the management and total quality concepts of W. Edwards Deming that enabled Japan’s transition to a global industrial export colossus. In Taiwan, the influence of Taiwanese Americans was a major part of its ascension. The contribution of South Koreans abroad helped to unleash the “Miracle on the Han River.”

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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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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 (http://www.weforum.org/reports/global-competitiveness-report-2014-2015).

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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MBE Resource Center

MBE's Business Opportunities resource covers business-related financing, consulting, and programs available for the Supplier Diversity community and M/WBEs. Updated monthly.

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MBE's M/WBE Resource Directory is a comprehensive list of resource organizations (including links) that support the Supplier Diversity community and M/WBEs.

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Refer to MBE's Acronyms & Terminology list for frequently used acronyms and terminology and an overview of the major organizations supporting the Supplier Diversity community.

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