Minority Business Executive Program

Bank of America Executive Education Center, Michael G. Foster School of Business, University of Washington

 

“The knowledge that I gained was beyond my expectations.
This week was one of the most valuable weeks of my life.”

Ms. Gaelyn Martin
Human Resources Manager
Northwest Industrial Staffing
University of WA Minority Business Executive Program, Sept. 2018

CONNXUS Announce Partner of the Year

Fernando Martinez, President & CEO of Northwest Mountain MSDC

Time and time again, our team has been inspired by hard working clients and stakeholders. We want to recognize them and celebrate their unique accomplishments. Together, we can achieve innovation and make a lasting impact. Starting this year, we’re thrilled to announce ConnXus has created a new award: Partner of the Year

This year’s award goes to Fernando Martinez, President and CEO of Northwest Mountain MSDC.

“Fernando and his team are exemplary role models,” Daryl, COO & General Manager, stated. “They raise the bar in procurement and continue to make a sustainable impact.”

The Northwest Mountain MSDC is a Washington-based nonprofit that began in 1978 to promote the growth of minority-owned businesses in the Northwest Mountain region. Fernando Martinez, a seasoned business executive with over three decades of experience, has been President and CEO since 2008, leading local business growth and economic impact. He engages Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), working to identify opportunities and integrate minority suppliers strategically into members’ supply chains.

We caught up with him to learn more about the impact his team and his work has on the region.

How do you create value for buyers and suppliers?

“Our initial step is to focus on delivery of excellence in Customer Service.  When we win the confidence of our Customers (Members, MBEs, Community Partners, NMSDC) we communicate with our focus on “Listening.” Through this listening process we truly identify what is relevant to each of our customers. Focused on their relevance we work at delivery of a customized solution that truly supports their efforts in Supplier Development and Growth – Namely, Supplier Diversity.”

How do you create opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses?

“Beyond normal networking and connecting businesses, we consider our Council to be a ‘Business Development Extension’ of our MBEs. We are consistently hunting for MBE and Member opportunities. An opportunity to include our MBEs in the contracting process is an opportunity to support our Members grow their spend and drive bigger internal and external impacts. Simultaneously, we consider ourselves to be an ‘Efficiency Extension – Collaborator’ for our Members. Through this process we support our Members to identify qualified, capable, and scalable MBES which bring efficiencies and cost savings, i.e., efficient resource use, cost savings, improved Supplier Diversity Spend. Additionally, we foster Meaningful Dialogue between our MBEs and Members. We provide our MBEs as much insight as possible into how our Members operate, what they are looking for, their assessment process, i.e., market intelligence. At the same time we provide our Members as much information as possible of how the MBE has been successful and why we recommend them. This results in a warm introduction to the start of a new relationship. Lastly, we build development seminars where MBEs receive advice from Members & they actually get to meet each other improving the likelihood of building a relationship.

What is the value add/differentiating factor Northwest Mountain MSDC provides?

In essence, value is benefit minus cost. Value is the perception of Product/Service Customer receives compared to the competitive landscape. The value-add qualities the Northwest Mountain MSDC brings to our customers is customization of services in accordance with their needs. We bring as many customized solutions as we have Members and MBEs. Our customized solutions range from as simple to introducing an MBE and Member to each other, to market penetration strategy. This customized solution may go as far as College Level Educational Programs for our MBE Executives to Council led workshops. Each one of our Customers has a specific need to which we anticipate or respond accordingly.

What does our partnership mean to you? 

Our partnership with ConnXus means that we have a technology company behind our Council that enables us to where we can offer advanced Supplier Diversity Services, e.g., Supplier Registration Portal, Supplier Scrub and Reporting. This is an outsourced body of work designed to help our Customers better capture, measure, and understand the impact their investment in MBEs make. This value would not be possible without the ConnXus – Northwest Mountain MSDC partnership.

What innovations are you looking to do in the future as you work with ConnXus?

The Northwest Mountain MSDC is consistently looking for significant, inventive ideas to launch. We look forward to our continued partnership with ConnXus as we continue to explore new value added solutions.

 

Reposted with Permission:
Ying Liang, “ConnXus Announce Partner of the Year: Fernando Martinez, Northwest Mountain MSDC,” ConnXus Company News, December 5, 2018, https://connxus.com/connxus-announce-partner-of-the-year-fernando-martinez-northwest-mountain-msdc/

Excellent Culture Workshop

“I was excited for the opportunity to attend the Excellent Culture Workshop. The material covered in the workshop was enlightening. I look forward to implementing some of the newly learned skills in my daily life at Bite Me. I believe it is critical to the success of making real change utilizing the skills learned in the workshop. I would attend again if given the opportunity and would definitely recommend this workshop to other companies. Again, I appreciate the opportunity NMSDC provided by offering the workshop, it was worth the back log of work I returned to.”

-Kirsten Suter, Bite Me! Cookies

Creating and Sustaining an Excellent Culture

“Steve Gandara at Excellent Cultures did an amazing job facilitating this culture driven workshop with engaging content. This course covered a lot of information in 2 days, which was delivered in concise chunks that was easy to absorb. The structure was clear, logical and effective. I enjoyed reading and understanding the workbook chapters, engaging in fun group exercises, interacting with Steve and other participants. My favorite part was discovering the self-assessment Circumplex graph and receiving custom-tailored feedback from Steve for creating and sustaining an excellent culture. By the way, great concept behind the Culture Monster mascot Steve!”

-Rani Bal, Signs Now Washington

Washington State Paid Family & Medical Leave

Are you aware of the Washington State Paid Family & Medical Leave, authorized by the legislature in 2017? Premium collections by employers begin to process January 1, 2019. Employee wages and hours need to be tracked by employers to begin reporting April 1, 2019. Actual employee benefits will be available January 1, 2020. This applies to nearly all employers statewide regardless of size, including out-of-state employers with Washington employees.

Exceptions include:

  • Self-employed individuals (may opt in)
  • Federal Employees
  • Federally Recognized Tribes (may opt in)
  • Individuals who temporarily work in WA

Visit www.paidleave.wa.gov/employers and find out how WA State Paid Family & Medical Leave will impact your business and your employees.

Best Practices – Effective Networking

This is a continuation of “How to Prepare for Effective Networking.”

We polled some of our corporate members and MBEs on effective networking. They sent us some of the best practices, tips, and Dos and Don’ts of networking.

When you get there:

  1. Be patient.  (Networking and establishing business relationships takes time).
  2. Come in with a targeted list of who you want to make an impact with and what you will offer.
  3. (Remember to always) be professional, have a professional presence.  First impressions are important.
  4. When I’m networking, I like to start out with the mindset of, “How can I help the people I meet?”
  5. Relax, networking events can be overwhelming at times.
  6. Believe that you can and will make great progress.  After making all the necessary preparations, having the right mindset can lead to many great things.

How to introduce yourself:

  1. Keep your introduction succinct.
  2. Offer a handshake and introduce yourself and what organization you are with. (Remember the name. Use it three times and it’s yours.)
  3. Smile… be welcoming.
  4. Don’t assume that the person that you met previously will remember your name!  Unless a person is addressing you by your name when you see them again, then assume they don’t know and state it again.

During the conversation:

  1. Show passion for what you do.
  2. LISTEN closely to what’s being said.
  3. Listen twice as much as talk. Ask questions.
  4. Show excitement for what they do.
  5. Write down information in stenography notebook.
  6. Consider this first meeting as an opportunity for relationship building and for future opportunities to connect… you’re not going to get it all done with the first meeting, so don’t try.  We don’t want to (and you shouldn’t want to) spend 30 minutes with any one individual at a networking event.
  7. Don’t be disappointed if a target corporation is not interested or doesn’t have any current opportunities.  It’s better that you know now than be strung along.
  8. However, don’t assume that corporations do not talk to each other… we do!  And often times, we can be your resource to meet other potential targets.

How to make the most out of it:

  1. Ask about other companies attending the event that they should meet.  We can be very helpful this way and want to direct you to those that can benefit from knowing more about your company.
  2. Instead of trying to collect contact information, I’m actively listening to the people I meet at an event and trying to figure out how I can help them solve a problem.
  3. If I can’t help them directly, I connect them with someone in my network who can do that for them. I try to be a connector and give more value than I get.
  4. Team up with an existing customer to use as an immediate reference to your work when meeting future/potential customers.  An in-person testimonial can seal next steps quickly.
  5. Seek to develop a relationship with the event host leadership.  In the case of the Northwest Minority Supplier Development Council, a MBE should develop a solid rapport with the CEO, Staff, Board of Directors and Corporate sponsors.

How to close:

  1. Make the ASK and go for the appropriate close so you get a chance at the next steps.
  2. Exchange cards and ask if you may contact them.
  3. Ask for a business card and let them know you’ll be contacting them in the near term to provide an electronic capabilities statement, but also an email to better define your value proposition for that particular corporation.
  4. Don’t ask for a business card if you have no intention of following up.  If you have provided us with your business card… we’ll remember that you didn’t follow up.
  5. If you make a solid corporate connection during an event and you would like to follow-up with that person, politely ask if you can schedule a meeting with them right on the spot!  Recommendation – ask for a date at least 30 days out from the current date to minimize potential conflicts as many Supplier Diversity professionals typically have a busy travel schedule.  Also for an initial call, I recommend you ask for a 30 minute or less conference call – not an hour.

What not to do:

  1. Don’t let nerves take over so you keep talking, don’t dominate the conversation.
  2. DO NOT take all of their time or make them feel captive.  Networking is meant to mingle with many people.
  3. Don’t try and “sell” your company’s products and services at a networking event unless the conversation lends itself to that; on the other hand, be prepared to clearly articulate your business in a 15 second elevator pitch because invariably someone will ask you “what do you do”.
  4. Don’t try to land a job, your goal is to make the introduction
  5. Don’t distribute handouts… this is not the time or place.
  6. LEAVE any marketing materials at home – give and collect business cards.

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to this blog: Dennis Brooks, Lisa Castillo, Pedro Castro, Lana Gosnell, James Hing, Sharon S. Lucas, Fernando Martinez, and Swen Nater.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is general in nature and should not be considered to be legal, tax, accounting, consulting or any other professional advice or service. The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors, contributors, references and commenters on this site do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of Northwest Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council or its employees, stakeholders, members and sponsors. Any mention of other companies and organizations aside from the Northwest Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council does not necessarily reflect or represent the views, opinions or positions of those companies and organizations or their employees, stakeholders, members and sponsors. Read more: Legal Disclaimer

Northwest Mountain MSDC Hits Four Decades of MBE Supply-Chain Inclusion

Volume II 2018
By Genny Hom-Franzen

Fernando Martinez believes corporations that have not embraced supplier diversity are missing the mark. “They are not creating value for their stakeholders / shareholders by continuing to take the easy way out and remaining status quo,” he said. “They are alienating the consumer market. The market always reaches equilibrium. The prudent consumers align themselves to organizations that share their values. Failure to be inclusive in a meaningful way — as the market becomes more diverse — is a sure way to lose market share, customers and revenue.”

Martinez should know. For almost 10 years, he has served as president and CEO of the Northwest Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. “Being able to serve our region for 40 years is our biggest success. Our council’s longevity has established us as an institution within a region where MBEs [minority business enterprises] are truly the minority,” he said, referring to the Northwest Mountain region where ethnic minorities make up less than 25 percent of the population.

“The founding model of our organization — MBE inclusion within the supply chain, launched by The Boeing Co. — continues to exist today, but not without challenges,” Martinez said. “In the state of Washington, for example, legislations such as Initiative 200 are being misquoted to the detriment of minority-owned businesses. Given today’s economic environment, it is crucial that we innovate and build on the MBE inclusion model.

“While inclusion is our core focus, developing and growing MBEs remains as relevant as it was 40 years ago,” he continued. “At the end of the day, it’s about helping our members and MBE companies grow their businesses year over year, drive wealth into our communities, economically impact our region, create generational wealth and make our region a better place to live.”

While supplier diversity has helped minority-owned businesses grow and develop over the last 40 to 50 years, Martinez believes that currently, supplier diversity is being deprioritized. He said funding is dwindling, supplier diversity staffs are shrinking, supplier diversity practices are being absorbed into other departments as an adjunct role and — in some cases — supplier diversity is being completely shut down.

BRINGING PARITY TO SUPPLY CHAIN

“We must stave off this trend,” he said. “We must factually articulate the value a strong supplier diversity process delivers to the organization and its customers. Our advocacy/education must link supply-chain value to the customer-value chain.” To that end and to resolve these biases, Martinez is making education a top priority initiative at the council. He and his staff have provided MBE and member development training, including minority executive education, supplier diversity training for leadership and procurement teams, programs for innovators and industry experts and programs to connect business leaders who share the same values.

“Education and validation can silence some of the biases,” he said.
“Our goal is to support diversifying the workforce. By bringing parity to the supply chain and having an inclusive and diverse workforce, our council will have a much bigger impact on our communities,” Martinez said. “Parity will drive better community wages, better health care, better education, an increased tax base and, thus, empowered and vibrant communities. Once established, parity will gain momentum, self-perpetuate, build diverse companies and protect our communities of color from gentrification.”

Ultimately, via all its educational and development programs, initiatives and events, he said the council’s goal is to bring parity between the supply chains they support and the community demographic makeup.

In addition to the council’s ongoing educational programs, it will be celebrating with a 40th anniversary breakfast. Corporate and public agency members, MBEs, other partner organizations and friends will be gathering Oct. 10, 2018, at the Hilton Bellevue in Bellevue, Washington. The event will pay tribute and thanks to the council’s founding organization, Boeing. The council will present Legacy Awards to honor corporations, public agencies and MBEs that have been with the council for 10 years or more.

With 40 years of success to stand on, Martinez and his staff are poised for the future. “Thank you to all the corporate/public agency members and MBEs who have come before us,” he said. “We stand on your shoulders and dedicate ourselves to the continuous growth of our members, MBEs and community. We are committed to supporting the growth of our corporate/public agency members and MBEs — it is the path to keeping our diverse communities alive, growing and sustainable.”

For full article visit: Minority Business News USA

General Microsystems 35th Anniversary!

Bellevue, WA – General Microsystems Inc. (GMI) is proud to announce its thirty-fifth year as a leading information technology solutions provider in the Pacific Northwest. In the highly dynamic technology landscape, GMI has achieved over three decades of innovation and steady growth. The company will commemorate the occasion with a special event on the 18th of September. “This occasion gives us the opportunity to reflect on our journey and thank our customers, suppliers, partners, and community for their support,” said Earl Overstreet, founder and president of GMI.

GMI has played an active role in bringing a wide range of new technologies to local customers. Introducing clients to their first personal computer, word processor, local area network, multi-user computer, or laser printer was a routine for GMI. The company even developed a high capacity laser disk storage solution to support a University of Washington Applied Physics Lab Arctic expedition. GMI’s technology practice areas now include: Cybersecurity, Datacenter Infrastructure, IT Intelligence Software and the Cloud.

GMI helps large commercial enterprises and public sector government customers successfully build, operate, maintain, upgrade and evolve their IT and security resources. The company takes great pride in meeting the unique needs of their customers with flexibility, innovation and commitment to service. Taking a vendor-neutral approach, GMI’s solutions are drawn from their Bellevue team and a broad range of manufacturers, suppliers and partners. GMI has customer relationships that span decades with customers faced with the challenges of complex technology and business environments.

GMI has received various customer, industry and civic recognitions throughout its history. Earlier this year, Overstreet received the John A. Gilmore leadership award from the Northwest Mountain Minority Supplier Development Council in recognition of his advocacy on behalf of supplier diversity. GMI was also a proud nominee of the 29th Annual Eastside Business Awards acknowledging outstanding Eastside businesses that uphold a strong commitment to quality, community and innovation.

A 35th year anniversary celebration is planned where Mayor John Chelminiak of the City of Bellevue will present a Letter of Commendation, and the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce will recognize GMI’s long standing Eastside business history with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The celebration will be September 18th at GMI’s headquarters at 3220 118th Avenue S.E., Bellevue, Washington. Customers, partners, family and friends have been invited to enjoy an afternoon of food, drinks, music, and state of the art Virtual Reality and Video gaming entertainment!

About GMI

General Microsystems Inc. (GMI) is a full-service provider of IT infrastructure, security solutions, management tools and professional services. As a trusted advisor for enterprise, public sector and Fortune 500 companies, we have successfully managed customer growth for over 35 years. GMI offers a comprehensive set of datacenter infrastructure, security solutions, professional services and IT management software products to support complex computing environments. GMI partners with its clients to plan, procure, integrate and implement the right technology solution for each company’s unique environment.