The MOMENTUM continues to build within the WBENC network as we approach the largest event of its kind – the 2023 National Conference!
In this featured article we are honored to share the advice of our 2023 Host Committee and Conference Co-Chairs on how to optimize your efforts at the 2023 National Conference!
Ann Ramakumaran | Co-Chair | Ampcus Inc.
Ann Ramakumaran is the Founder and CEO of Ampcus Inc. Ann is a technology-savvy entrepreneur with more than 20 years of design, development and delivery of innovative and leading-edge Technology Solutions and Human Capital Management across the globe. Under her leadership, she has cultivated Ampcus and Ampcus group of companies into a fast-growing Consulting and Professional Services organization.
“WBENC offers a lot to certified WBE’s. They make the journey from awareness to affluence , connections to contracts a beautiful journey , take advantage of all that WBENC and WBENC RPO’s have to offer. Attend the lunch and learn sessions, continue to network ,build relationships with members of Corporate America, Agencies and WBE’s and continue to share your story. WBENC network offers a lot of training and mentorship programs so that WBE’s can continue to grow thrive and succeed in the marketplace.”
Marianne Ellis | CEO Success Community
Marianne Ellis knows what it takes to close a deal. With 25 years as a recognized leader in advertising, marketing, business coaching, and business development, she has worked on both the buy-side and sell-side of corporate contracting.
As CEO & Co-Founder of CEO Success Community, a division of VEO Group, Marianne is a passionate advocate for the success of her clients that are seeking to close Fortune 500 contracts.
“Last year I offered a “Girlfriends Guide to Nationals.” The top tips were:
1) Come prepared with a game plan—map out your days so you don’t get lost.
2) Have a posse–a group of WBEs you can count on, even if it is just one person.
3) Do your homework on your top 5-8 prospects and create multiple relevant offers or insights to create an excellent first impression. Reach out ahead of time and introduce yourself. If possible, set a conference meeting in advance. Attend their industry or company workshops at the conference and their booth.
4) Practice your pitch, so it is conversational. Also, practice questions you can ask your prospects and others.
5) Have your capability statement, postcard hard copy, or iPad. Something to share.
6) Listen, engage, and be open—you never know who you might meet. If your head is down only following your game plan, you may miss a meaningful connection. “
Margaret (peggy) Del Fabbro | Co-Chair | M. Davis & Sons, Inc.
After over 20 years of leadership positions with M. Davis & Sons, Inc., Peggy Del Fabbro assumed the role of CEO in 2008. She is the 5th generation of the Davis family to lead M. Davis, which is now in its 153rd year in business. Peggy works to distinguish the construction company in the marketplace through an unwavering commitment to safety and quality, and through a forward-thinking approach to sustainability and the future of construction.
“The best way to get the most out of certification is getting engaged with our WBENC network starting at the RPO level. Attending events, volunteering on committees, and participating in educational programs provide the best benefit.”
Melinda “Mindy” Holman | Holman
Melinda “Mindy” Holman represents the third generation of Holman leadership at this family-owned and operated global automotive services company. As Board Chair, Mindy ensures the company continues to uphold the values established by her grandfather, who founded the company in 1924, as well as her father before her. She also steers the Board in setting growth and development strategies that will strengthen the company for generations to come. Mindy joined the Holman organization in 1986 as a management trainee and then served in various capacities in our dealerships, up to and including General Manager, before becoming Vice President of Holman in 1994. She later served as President and then Chief Executive Officer of Holman before becoming the Board Chair in 2015.
“The best advice I can offer a newly certified WBE is to be sure to connect with your regional partner organization and be an active participant at the local level. Take full advantage of the tremendous breadth of resources they’re able to provide. Also, be sure to help support others across your local community. Foster an environment of collaboration and camaraderie amongst other WBE organizations in your region; learn from each other and succeed together. “
Janice Bryant Howroyd | Co-Chair | The ActOne Group
Janice Bryant Howroyd, fondly known as JBH, is the first African American woman to found and build a multi-billion dollar company. ActOne Group, a $3.4 billion (USD) workforce solutions organization, operates in over 32 countries, engaging some of the world’s best technologies and systems to support organizations of all sizes and provide jobs and careers for millions of workers across the globe. She leads from a culture of humanity, discipline, and excellence instilled by her parents and uses her presence as a connector of humanity, saying, “Never compromise who you are personally to become who you wish to be professionally!”
“Mentors and communities like WBENC can be valuable allies and provide excellent resources for women just starting out in business and for established WBEs. The best way to make the most out of being a newly certified WBE is to pay it forward and be a champion for other women entrepreneurs. That creates the foundations for how we’ll all grow stronger.”
Sharon W. Reynolds | DevMar Products, LLC.
DevMar was launched as a startup in 2007 with an emphasis placed on environmental sustainability. Named after their sons, Devin and DeMarco, the entrepreneurial legacy in our family continues. Sharon was faced with challenges during the economic downturn of 2008 and decided to focus on a recession-proof business. Shortly thereafter, local contracts grew to national exposure. She was not satisfied with a typical “me too” products distribution model and decided to create a specialty products line designed to mitigate pathogens without causing harm to the environment.
“Be fearless! Do not hesitate to make connections, speaking loudly and boldly about your business with passion. There is an incredible amount of magic that happens when women help other women. The support in the WBENC is palpable.”
Marcella McCullough | Co-Chair | Nissan Group of America
Marcella McCullough is Senior Manager of Supplier Diversity, Purchasing Strategy, for Nissan Group of the Americas. In this role, she is responsible for developing supplier diversity strategies and processes of performance key indicators internally and externally. Additionally, Marcella assures appropriate company presence at national and regional diverse business association meetings and conferences. Marcella is committed to developing an increasing robust supplier diversity program that will create economic opportunities for diverse supplier enterprises within Nissan.
“WBEs should review the participating exhibitors list and create a plan on which company they would like to meet. Do your homework on the company to ensure you know what they purchase. Please do not ask, what do you need? You should be ready to sell your company. Therefore, provide a brief company introduction and register on their company’s supplier portal. Also, follow up with the company’s representative within two to four weeks. Remain positive, patient and confident, in the automotive industry it takes time to vet and bring in new suppliers.”
Cassandra Sanford | KellyMitchell
Cassandra Sanford, CEO and co-founder of KellyMitchell, is responsible for talent experts who enable Fortune 100 Clients to achieve their IT, Business and Financial goals by providing a flexible and skilled workforce. Started in 1998, by previous Boeing employees, KellyMitchell has partnered with many Fortune 100 and 500 companies servicing their technology and professional staffing needs on a national level, in all major geographical markets, across all industries. Cassandra has grown KellyMitchell from 3 employees to over 2000; from a local St. Louis company to a national organization with 18 offices throughout the U.S.
“Being certified as women owned and controlled business and having the certificate to share with our client portfolio itself was great to have, however we realized its impact when we became active and engaged with WBENC and our regional partner organization. Each of them will provide a priceless opportunity to introduce your company and capabilities to Fortune 500 corporations face-to-face to grow your business and even more impactful, although often overlooked, is the opportunity to develop relationships with other women business owners to share best practices to scale each other’s enterprises.
There are always a number of impactful workshops for women business owners at every conference. Myself and my colleagues make a point to attend as many as we can because the information we’ve been able to collect from WBENC’s corporate partners as well as fellow women business owners has been instrumental in growing our business and scaling our service offerings.”
Theresa Harrison| Co-Chair | EY
As EY Director – Environmental Social Governance Services (ESGS) in Procurement, Theresa drives an inclusive and sustainable mindset to procure in a sustainable way looking beyond short-term needs and considering the longer-term impacts. She oversees EY’s approach to create a distinctive experience for small, diverse and sustainable suppliers by teaming together to develop innovative solutions and strategies for EY, our clients and the communities we serve.
“Define the outcome you want to achieve at national. Build strategy/action plan – is it to learn about possible prospects? Target specific leads? Identify teaming relationship you need to increase momentum of your business? Identify WBEs to support your business? Before you arrive in March have your game plan ready to execute. Overall, remember to have fun and Network Network Network!”
Kathleen Hunt | Personalized Payroll Services
Personalized Payroll specializes in easy and affordable payroll solutions to include payroll, payroll tax and HR services primarily serving the WBE/MBE companies. PPS allows business owners to focus on their business and their team while PPS ensures their employees and taxes are paid accurately and on schedule. PPS keeps up with regulatory changes as well as changes to wage and tax laws that affect their business.
“Certification has many advantages, and just like you do with your company and your team, you need to set goals for how you will use your certification. Evaluate what path your company will choose. For example, is it best for your business to grow in the government sector? Is it best for your company to partner with another WBE to become a provider to corporate sponsors. Will your company focus on selling WBE to WBE. Whatever your path, you should attend local events to learn more about the network and how it can help you grow your business, and how you can also help others within the network.”