WBENC has experienced significant growth over the last several years, in part because of increasing support from our Corporate and Government Members and engagement from Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs). In that time, some of our most dedicated constituents have also become WBENC Ambassadors, a special role reserved for those who are most passionate about supplier diversity and women’s business development.
Who are WBENC Ambassadors?
WBENC Ambassadors consist of board members and members of their business teams. Our ambassadors are experts and thought leaders in their field. They are respected peers with extensive networks. Most importantly, they are champions of WBENC, dedicated to communicating our mission and promoting the value of certification and membership.
What do WBENC Ambassadors do?
Ambassadors are jacks-of-all trades. Specifically, they…
- ·Educate others about the benefits of having a robust supplier diversity program, the value of certification, and the advantages of doing business with WBENC-Certified WBEs.
- Facilitate outreach and opportunities with potential corporate members and WBEs and work to improve coordination between WBENC constituents.
- Motivate and drive WBEs to be innovative and nimble in delivering goods and services that enhance and serve Corporate Member organizations.
- Champion growth and innovation in corporate supplier diversity programs and model a deep commitment to supplier diversity.
- Achieve success by maximizing their network and connections and helping supplier diversity programs achieve goals through communication of best practices and successes.
What is it like being a WBENC Ambassador?
To provide a firsthand account, we asked two WBENC Ambassadors to share their experiences.
Patricia Rodriguez Christian
CEO of CRC Group
Global Procurement, Senior Director of Supplier Diversity at PepsiCo, Inc.
Patricia Rodriguez Christian, a WBE Ambassador and President and CEO of CRC Group, says it’s all about her personal passion:
I feel that it is an honor to be in a position to work in one of my passion areas. It’s a personal passion of mine to ensure there is inclusion of women and minorities in business opportunities. The Ambassador role allows me to fulfill that personal passion. When you’re in this role, you have to have a passion for it. It’s almost a requirement for the job.
Ricardo Barrientos, a Corporate Member Ambassador and Global Procurement Senior Director of Supplier Diversity at PepsiCo, Inc. certainly shares that passion:
Small businesses are engines of this economy and the true engine for growth. I love helping diverse suppliers grow their businesses. Diversifying our supply chain helps us as a company as we believe diversity and inclusion provides a competitive advantage that drives business results.
Perhaps because of that passion, Ricardo adds that demonstrating the value of WBENC to potential Corporate Members is “easy.”
It’s easy to share with other corporations how great WBENC is as an organization. By working with corporations, supporting the development of WBEs, connecting and engaging both at conferences and events, WBENC is really delivering value, which makes it easy to talk about it with other corporations.
As part of her Ambassador role, Patricia often talks with prospective WBEs and walks through what she calls a “mental decision process” to determine what aspects of WBENC would be most attractive to them. In addition to asking specifics about their business, she also asks some leading questions:
I ask them, “How would you go about getting one-on-one appointments with a potential customer? When was the last time you had appointments back to back with two or three vetted customers?” Their answers will naturally lead you to talk about the selling points of WBENC.
When talking to potential Corporate Members, Ricardo likes to bring up specific examples and success stories:
We have women-owned businesses that are sole sources in certain categories and we’ve met these suppliers through the WBENC network and events. It’s easy to sell when you have examples like that. I tell them, WBENC is going to help you find suppliers that can add value to your supply chain. They will connect you with the right supplier and help expand the network of suppliers you will have available for your next RFP or RFI.
Through building relationships and staying engaged within the WBENC network, both Ricardo and Patricia can share multiple examples of how they have facilitated connections between WBEs and Corporate Members, which have led to business opportunities. From the WBE who doubled her business after meeting a supplier at a WBENC conference, to two small women-owned businesses partnering to scale up to meet the needs of a large corporation, these stories help showcase the benefits of certification and being a part of the WBENC network.
But business opportunities don’t just happen. Ricardo says staying engaged is a huge part of that success:
I tell woman-owned businesses, “Do not expect that by only getting certification you will get new business. But by getting certified and getting engaged, you will expand your network, and you will have access to a lot of new opportunities. And if you have a good value proposition, you will sell your product/service. And that’s another thing I love about WBENC: When you go to a WBENC conference, women are there to do business. They will find a way, with corporations or with other WBEs.
I think WBEs quickly find out the way to unlock the value of certification is through active participation.