It’s been a while since I had time to sit and write a blog post, so I thought I would write and tell you, I am still reeling from my award win on Thursday night (4 May 2017) at Supply Nation’s Supplier Diversity Awards Gala dinner held at Star City Casino, Sydney. Can you believe I am the ‘Supplier Diversity Advocate of the Year’? OMG!! I’m so excited, honoured and proud of this award, and it means so much to me. It is recognition of the hard work over the last 12 months, and my ongoing passion and commitment to the Indigenous business sector.
But what does being a Supplier Diversity Advocate mean? you might ask. Let me first break down Supplier Diversity for you, ‘Supplier Diversity promotes the purchase of goods and services supplied by economically excluded and marginalized groups by the world’s largest buyers including corporations and governments (Supply Nation).’ In the Australian context supplier diversity is about growing the Indigenous business economy through promoting, connecting and purchasing from certified and registered Indigenous businesses. So being an advocate means I’m out there promoting the why and how to do business with Indigenous business.
So why did I win the award? Well if you aren’t familiar with my work, I’ve worked in the supplier diversity space since 2012, from when I was first employed at Supply Nation as a program manager. But a lot has happened between then and now. And what I would like to focus on, is the work I’ve lead in the last 12 months that is relevant.
In the last 12 months, I have worked closely with Supply Nation on Supplier Diversity. My business was engaged on two very important projects, the first one being to review and update Supply Nation’s Supplier Diversity training program First Step. Not only did I review the program, I updated the content, structure and format to an Australian context and where Supply Nation is positioned now. I then delivered a pilot of this new program we called First Step 2.0 to a group of Corporate and Government members. I later provided a train the trainer to Supply Nation staff so that they could build the capability internally to deliver the program ongoing to their members.
The second project I was engaged for, was to write the Supply Nation Connect 2017 Knowledge Forum (conference) program with Supply Nation. This was the fourth time I had worked with Supply Nation on their conference content, and it was a real honour for me to not only draw on my knowledge of the current trends in supplier diversity, but my network of Corporate, Government and Indigenous businesses of who is leading and doing great things in this space now. Writing conference programs is never an easy task, especially when you have such diversity across the market and need to meet everyone’s needs.
Outside of Supply Nation, my business has also been engaged in a number of Indigenous business capability projects. We have been working closely with Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) on a number of great initiatives, these include developing and delivering Procurement workshops and a Business Readiness Program. Both initiatives support the capability development of Indigenous businesses to understand procurement and the Indigenous Procurement Policy, and how best to leverage it. I have delivered workshops all across Australia and met so many inspiring Indigenous businesses through this process. Through the Business Readiness Program, we’re helping Indigenous businesses with their websites, capability statements and directory profile listings, so that they are ready to be found to win new business.
In addition to IBA, I have also been working throughout the Mid-West of Western Australia delivering an Aboriginal Leadership Program we have called WAALP (Western Australian Aboriginal Leadership Program). This is under a contract through Western Australian Government Department of Regional Development. This program is focused on providing business leadership and business acumen skills to local Aboriginal leaders of the region. It has been one of the most amazing experiences to work on this program, I have learnt just as much as I have facilitated by our group of inspirational leaders. They will be the next Aboriginal business leaders, and I am so excited to say I have worked with them.
As an Aboriginal woman, I am proud of the work I am doing to make a difference. This award is my second award in a couple of months, I won the NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year in March. Both awards are indication I am on the right path. I will keep doing what I am passionate about.
Thank you to my business partners Katina Law and Damien who without, I would not be here. They provide leadership, support and guidance to me every single day. I love them both to bits and thank them from the bottom of my heart. I also want to give a massive shout out to the Indigenous Professional Services team that supports me, big thanks to Jo Saunders, Mikayla Berry, Justin O’Heir, Simone McKeown, Doug Green, Michelle Pierre and Orlando Fazzolari. And thanks, and welcome to our new recruits, Peter Hutchings, Scott Anderson, Susan Lee, and Paul Shinn. And thank you to all of you out there for believing in me.