Editor’s note: The following story was sponsored by KC Rising, a regional initiative to help Kansas City grow faster and more intentionally, as part of a campaign to promote its CEO-to-CEO Challenge on supplier diversity.
A dozen high-profile Kansas City companies are at the vanguard of a new regional effort to boost supplier diversity programs that promote equity in buying decisions and support local businesses.
The CEO-to-CEO Challenge encourages and empowers business-to-business inclusive purchasing via company leaders making a public commitment to equity — and urging others to do the same — while also helping those leaders develop supplier diversity initiatives for the long haul.
So far, 12 Kansas City companies have already heeded the call, including:
- Black & Veatch
- Children’s Mercy Kansas City
- Henderson Engineers
- Husch Blackwell
- H&R Block
- JE Dunn Construction
- Lead Bank
- Lathrop GPM
- Metropolitan Community College
- Shook Hardy & Bacon
Click here to read how some of these companies have begun creating change within their organizations as part of the challenge.
It’s a process meant to showcase action, not just words, said Neal Sharma, co-chair of KC Rising, the regional initiative leading the CEO-to-CEO Challenge. Such action is shown through commitments to eight national best practices, he noted.
CEOs (or other executive leaders) must pledge to:
- Buy from small and diverse‐owned businesses when possible.
- Be an advocate for the cause internally and with peers.
- Establish an internal accountability framework around intentional, inclusive procurement to include data tracking and reporting of new and existing vendors.
- Tie inclusive procurement goals to the firm’s strategic priorities.
- Evaluate sourcing and procurement spend and explore opportunities to grow and expand relationships and innovate processes to include diverse suppliers.
- Build the diversity of the firm’s supplier pipeline.
- Spotlight success stories of diverse suppliers.
- Add resources for development and measurement of these activities.
Click here to be among the first 100 Kansas City leaders to take the pledge.
“These practices truly create a culture of intentional diversity within their supply chain, and it’s not just a passing trend or fad,” Sharma said. “I really appreciate and respect the commitment these companies and CEOs have expressed. They are putting their time, resources and money into this effort, rather than just talking about it.”
Click here to learn more about the origins of the CEO-to-CEO challenge and how Sharma thinks it can add value to the local business ecosystem.
The CEO-to-CEO Challenge is powered by Connectus Worldwide, KC Rising and KCSourceLink in collaboration with the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.