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The loneliest person in the building

Harry C. Alford | 6/20/2013, midnight

There is a big stigma placed on certified minorities within the majority of major corporations. I remember talking with the minority business guy for Enron (before their demise). He broke into tears as he said his career is at a “dead end sitting in this damn office.” He said he was an outcast and when he walks down a hall everyone frowns at him. “If I come up to them to discuss minority firms, they say they don’t have time and then I catch all this hell from people like you.”

There are a few corporations that are exceptions to the above. They don’t move by one office and one person with little staff. They move by a committee of some of their best up-and-coming executives. Mana-gement expertise is applied and sincerity is evident. Johnson & Johnson, Verizon, Comcast and Penn Gaming quickly come to my mind as great examples of commitment in diversifying their procurement choices. There are a few others, but that’s about it. Finally, let me say that a corporation having a Black CEO has so far made no difference in the attitude of minority procurement. We have tested it, and they have flunked.

Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Email: halford@nationalbcc.org.

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