Calling the series of events “as close to as perfect as we expected,” the Council celebrated an outstanding 2015 Business Conference & Opportunity Fair and Awards Dinner & Silent Auction on March 12 and 13.
“There were some real engagements taking place,” said Fernando Martinez, Council president and CEO. All the attendees were comfortable talking to each other and the agenda allowed plenty of time for attendees to have deep discussions. “The event itself was well done—it was well planned and everybody worked hard.”
According to Council Board Chair Diane Lin, the events were more intimate than the ones in years past. The events of March 12, for example, allowed time for everybody to go to each of the booths at the Opportunity Fair. The roundtables held during the Business Conference “were just a great opportunity for corporations to address suppliers all at once in a casual way. Corporations might have some presumptions around what suppliers are going through and vice versa, and the roundtables helped clarify that,” she said.
And the Awards Dinner “is always one of my favorite events—just the recognition of all the hard work of each of the Council’s stakeholder groups. I love hearing the stories about the suppliers that moved up in class. At Starbucks, we do business with many of the suppliers that are nominated. We are so proud of being associated with those suppliers,” Lin said.
MBEs El Mundo Communications, Inc., ELYON International, Inc., Dynamic Language, and Zones, Inc. as well as Council Members University of Washington, AT&T, and Microsoft won awards at the March 13 dinner (for a complete list of the awards they received, click here). Frank Lemos, Alexis Oliver, and Lin herself won advocacy awards on March 12.
“There are a lot of people who are very deserving of that [Robert L. Ryan] Award,” Lin said. “It was great to be recognized. Advocating for and working with diverse suppliers is a labor of love and I don’t feel like this is work. It’s something that I enjoy and that I get great personal satisfaction from.”
Along with the Awards Dinner, a Silent Auction was held on the evening of March 13. The auction raised $7,700, which benefits the Council’s Scholarship Fund, supporting educational opportunities for MBEs.
Martinez said it was clear to him throughout the two days that the Council is “in a position where we can create change.”
“The corporations find value in what we do and we are in a position to really make change for the better,” he said.