Exclusive video: P&SC LIVE - The Supplier Diversity Forum

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Speaking at Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE 2023, Jim Townsend and Jean Chawapiwa discuss supplier diversity strategies and challenges

As the world’s fastest-growing procurement and supply chain event, Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE 2023 was a disruptive learning and networking event that showcased some of the industry’s top speakers across innovation, thought leadership and strategy. 

Jim Townsend, Procurement Specialist

The Supplier Diversity Forum

Introducing themselves to the audience, Jim Townsend, Procurement Specialist, and Jean Chawapiwa, Head of Member Services at MSDUK outlined their background in procurement, their experience in leading supplier diversity programs, and their involvement in community engagement. 

The two emphasised the significance of leadership engagement, especially from CEOs and CPOs, for driving supplier diversity in an organisation, as well as the benefits of strategies to improve access to innovative suppliers and diverse ideas. 

"If a CEO doesn't believe it, don't bother doing it,” said Townsend. “Part of the CPO’s role, meanwhile, is to act as an ambassador on the subject and drive the agenda at the board level and the executive level."

Jean Chawapiwa, Head of Member Services at MSDUK

Supplier diversity disparities across global markets 

On how multinational organisations can approach supplier diversity disparities, Chawapiwa pointed to the importance of in-house champions and collaborations with diverse suppliers in order to understand "market nuances".

She also highlighted the need to invest in targets and mentorship programs to support diverse suppliers, emphasising the need for collaboration and understanding market opportunities.

Townsend concluded the discussion by stressing the need for a clear policy, leadership support, and the elimination of conscious biases if organisations are to overcome the challenges when implementing supplier diversity programs. 

He also highlighted the need for internal champions in driving diversity initiatives within organisations, as well as the need for engaging executives. 

"The onboarding can be very complex in an organisation, so all of the mentoring and coaching is important and we do some of that,” said Chawapiwa. "So having those internal champions who want to do supplier diversity and want the organisation to do supplier diversity can be a big a huge way forward as well."

To watch any of our other speakers from Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE 2023, click here.

Don’t forget to register for our future events including Manufacturing LIVE 2023Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE Dubai 2024 & Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE London 2024.

Celebrating exemplary achievements in the fields of procurement and supply chain management, the Supply Chain AWARDS - debuting in 2024 - acknowledges companies, professionals, and projects that demonstrate exceptional performance, innovation, and strategic thinking. Click here, to find out how you can enter.


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Other magazines that may be of interest: Procurement MagazineManufacturing Digital


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