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Jessica Riddle Attends Conference Focused on Diversity

Jessica Riddle Attends Conference Focused on Diversity

Submitted by Jessica Riddle, manager, procurement and supplier diversity, ACRT Services

The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) held its annual conference, March 20-23 in Nashville, Tenn. WBENC is a procurement-focused event helping connect women-owned businesses corporations, their peers, and supplier diversity professionals that can leverage resources to help them grow and sustain their businesses. WBENC also help’s those Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) get certified as a diverse supplier. By doing so, WBENC is providing access to business opportunities that eventually lead to contracts and help achieve parity for WBEs.

Supplier diversity is a force for good. Increasing representation of diverse businesses and their supply chains makes a direct impact on the local communities we work and do business in. It is a gateway for companies to expand their work in the community and expand on their work by creating inclusive growth.

This year’s theme for the conference was momentum, and let me tell you, the momentum was felt all the way from day one of the conference through day four. Over the conference, I had the opportunity to network with not only WBEs but other corporations that have not only been doing this for over 20 years but also with those just starting their journey as well, like us. I was provided to hold two Meet & Greet sessions. This is where WBEs were able to come to the ACRT Services table and we could have open discussions of our purchasing needs and why we should do business with them. I participated in an expo meeting where we could ask questions of CEOs about their companies, services, and or products. There were opportunities to attend industry labs and learn what other companies were doing with supplier diversity.

I was able to network with thousands of potential vendors and start what will be some great vendor relationships going forward as well as some opportunities for cost savings on items and services we purchase daily. These contacts are the start of adding more diverse suppliers to our vendor base so that we can do business while checking off our diversity goals with customer contracts.

This will be the beginning of a journey for us to go as deep as we can, as we start an internal and external program for ACRT Services. While many of our current contracts require us to report supplier diversity, this journey also includes being strategic about where we decide to do business.

To observe 5,000 supplier diversity professionals and WBEs who were willing to share their pains and successes, as well as help each other reach their business goals was eye-opening. It was wonderful to meet so many talented and driven people. I left feeling inspired, energized, and full of MOMENTUM. It is a privilege to build our supplier diversity program to help drive revenue in the future.

If you have any questions regarding supplier diversity and want to know more, or just have questions, please contact and I will be happy to answer them!

ACRT Services Staff

ACRT Services offers expert independent consulting solutions to utilities and associated organizations throughout the United States, including vegetation management consulting, ecological consulting, arborist training, customized safety courses, technology solutions, utility metering services, and more to empower the best people in the industry.

March 2024