Penn Supplier Diversity Forum & Expo returns for in-person event


The 2022 Penn Supplier Diversity Forum & Expo was hosted on Thursday, June 16 by the Office of the Executive Vice President, Office of Government and Community Affairs, Business Services and Real Estate and Property Services Division.

The event was virtual and in-person at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts for the first time since the pandemic. It brought together local and diverse suppliers, Penn buyers, and local agencies and organizations to celebrate supplier diversity, showcase the resources available to these businesses, and provide a unique networking opportunity.

The forum began with a video featuring welcoming remarks from Acting President Wendell Pritchett.

“Urban communities depend on local businesses, small businesses and miscellaneous businesses,” he said. “Local business people anchor our neighborhoods, uplift people and provide opportunity across the city. Today’s event celebrates the talents, experiences and services that are available here close to home, with a particular focus on diversity.

Pritchett was attended by Senior Vice President of Institutional Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer Joann Mitchell, as well as Senior Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli.

“Social science research shows that diversity and inclusion works well and helps teams perform better,” Mitchell said. “And each of us must challenge ourselves and conventional orthodoxies, in ways that help us make breakthroughs and break down barriers.”

Carnaroli said the University’s longstanding supplier diversity and inclusion program achieves its economic inclusion goals by purposefully identifying and prioritizing local and minority-owned businesses and leveraging the power of Penn’s purchase accordingly.

“Adding new suppliers is a way to grow the economy,” he said. “And proudly, we’re growing our portfolio of women- and black-owned businesses. Business growth is fueled by spending. Not just any kind of spending, but Penn’s intentional spending with women-owned businesses. various people.

Since the University’s inception of its “Buy West Philadelphia Program” in 1986, more than $1 billion in total has been spent among local and diverse businesses.

The forum, moderated by Penn Chief Procurement Officer Mark Mills, featured three dynamic speakers who gave their perspective on the impact of this time on the Philadelphia business community and how they plan to propel their respective companies and organizations based on information acquired over the past two years. years.

“It’s important that we have these public opportunities to share and discuss experiences,” says Mills. “Our hope is that everyone can take one or more valuable new pieces of information, ideas, or inspirations, and bring them to the work they do.”

Panelists Donna Allie, Joy De Jesús and Ken Anderson discuss the Penn Supplier Diversity Forum and Expo hosted by Mark Mills. (Photo: Greg Benson)

Panelists included Ken Anderson, vice president, civic affairs, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce; Joy De Jesús, Senior Associate Athletic Director, Internal Finance and Operations/Chief Financial Officer, Penn Varsity Athletics and Recreation Division; and Donna Allie, Founder, President and CEO, Team Clean, Inc.

The forum culminated with the announcement of this year’s recipients of the Penn Supplier Diversity Impact Award, which went to Nathaniel “Nat” Graham, the associate head coach of the University’s men’s basketball team. This award recognizes major actions by individuals or academic teams that make an intentional impact in the area of ​​supplier diversity and economic inclusion at Penn.

“Nat intentionally makes choices when directing business to local and minority-owned businesses and establishments,” Mills said. “The relationships he has developed result in a variety of expenses in the community surrounding the university and throughout Philadelphia, and exemplify the work this award was designed to recognize.”

Nat and Mark holding the prize.

Nathaniel Graham and Mark Mills (Photo: Greg Benson)

The forum was followed by the popular exhibition and featured local and diverse vendors showcasing their services within Penn’s buyer community. In the hall of the Annenberg Center, more than 30 suppliers are seated around tables and booths. They handed out brochures and office supplies, as well as food and beverages from many of the University’s various caterers for the Penn buying community and corporate representatives to sample while networking.

Local agencies and organizations were also on hand to celebrate supplier diversity and showcase their resources available to local and diverse small businesses.

Penn spends over $100 million a year with over 1,000 diverse vendors. In categories ranging from facilities maintenance, office supplies, technology, life science supplies and equipment, and professional services, Penn has strategically directed various spends to continually expand its impact.

To do business with Penn, suppliers must be approved by the University and be listed as an approved supplier through a process facilitated by Penn Procurement Services.


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