Theresa Harrison

As Ernst & Young’s director of supplier diversity, Harrison advocates for entrepreneurs

QuoteOur supplier-diversity mission is to identify, develop, and utilize diverse-owned businesses that can enhance our competitive advantage and provide innovative and cost-effective products and services for Ernst & Young and our clients. Diverse-owned businesses are growing at twice the rate of majority-owned businesses. To make sure we are properly engaging with our communities, Ernst & Young  launched a Supplier Diversity Initiative in 2004.

It’s my job to oversee the program. Companies that launch supplier-diversity initiatives not only reinforce an organization’s overall diversity and inclusiveness strategy but enhance the supply chain to increase competition, innovation, and cost savings. From the organizations that launch programs to businesses that enroll as participants to the communities where programs exist, diversity improves the quality of the marketplace by promoting inclusion. It is more than the right thing to do, it’s a business imperative.

At Ernst & Young we attended many advocacy-organization events with procurement professionals to identify potential suppliers for upcoming opportunities. Ernst & Young develops suppliers by participating in the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc.’s Centers of Excellence program, offering scholarship and specialized training, as well as mentoring. The program allows us to develop and maintain relationships within our communities.

We receive a number of inquiries from clients asking how we utilize a diverse group of suppliers in our day-to-day operation. For suppliers, supplier-diversity programs provide access to the bidding process. The bottom line is that diversity programs create great partnerships and impact everyone’s success. Business is still about people and relationships. I find it inspiring to connect individuals to opportunities to grow. Everyone deserves an opportunity to compete and reach their full potential. Quote