Authored by Marianne Strobel, AT&T Executive Director of Supplier Diversity

At AT&T, we are proud to have achieved some of the highest supplier diversity spending results in the country.  In 2009 alone, we spent $6.9 billion dollars, or 14.2 percent of our total procurement, with diversity suppliers.  This spending supported 37,722 external diverse small business jobs, and 14,271 external women-owned small business jobs in the economy.

That’s why we have partnered with leading business organizations and our large suppliers to launch a series of Business Matchmakers to bring opportunities to small, minority, women-owned and service-disabled veteran owned businesses.  Earlier this month, in keeping with our long-standing commitment to supplier diversity, we held an event in Washington, help connect local minority-owned businesses with purchasing representatives from AT&T and several of our company’s prime contractors.

Marianne Strobel at the D.C. Business Matchmaker EventThis event is just one of the many ways in which AT&T works to expand economic opportunities for minority-owned businesses. Our commitment to supplier diversity also includes scholarships and grants for diversity supplier education and programming, and our Prime Supplier Program, which requires our major suppliers to mirror AT&T’s commitment by setting and meeting supplier diversity spending goals.

Marianne Strobel at D.C. Business Matchmaker Event

The Business Matchmaker event we held in DC is the third in a series.  It was hosted in partnership with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the Maryland/District of Columbia Minority Supplier Development Council. More than 50 minority-owned firms attended and participated in scheduled interview sessions in areas such as marketing, financial services, software development and logistics management.

This year, we are setting the bar even higher by aiming to increase our diversity supplier spending to more than 20 percent.  Business Matchmaker events will help us fully realize these ambitious goals.  They will also demonstrate that, in today’s economy, collaboration is the key to economic growth and prosperity, which is beneficial for our businesses and even better for our communities.

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