Named one of the 2016 Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity by Diversity Plus Magazine, Lynn Reddrick has more than 15 years of experience managing public and private sector supplier diversity initiatives and developing small, local, women, and minority business policies and programs.
As the Manager of the Supplier Diversity Program for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, she advocates for fair inclusion of minority- and women-owned businesses in the procurement process, seeking opportunities for these MWBEs to best collaborate with her network. Lynn uses her resources and experiences to advocate for both the Bank and the diverse business community, including planning and directing successful women and minority business technical assistance initiatives. Since joining the Federal Reserve Bank in March 2012, spend with MWBEs has increased from 6% to 27%.
Recently, Lynn discussed some of her experiences as a corporate manager in the world of supplier diversity and shared some of her insights with us.
Participate in Astra, WBENC, and industry-related activities! From the corporate standpoint, opportunities for WBEs come from developing relationships with supplier diversity and procurement representatives. It really isn’t about the illusive awarding of contracts based on an initial meeting. It’s more about establishing relationships by being involved and visible in the WBE community. Don’t underestimate the impact of corporate members talking to one another, not only when we meet during conferences and vendor events but also through some of the organizations we belong to outside of Astra. For example, I am part of the Financial Services Roundtable for Supplier Diversity, and there are numerous opportunities for me to refer or introduce WBEs to other supplier diversity professionals, even if there aren’t any current opportunities at the Bank. It’s great when I get the chance to say, “Oh yes, I do know a WBE you should consider working with!”
When you meet a supplier diversity professional, you follow up after the meeting. But don’t become an irritant to that person. It’s good to reach out, and reach out again when you have a new development or service worth sharing, but don’t overdo it. Get a sense from that connection on how often they would like to be contacted and try to honor that. I also recommend the WBE identify where and when they met the connection when they communicate as supplier diversity professionals meet and correspond with so many vendors each week.
One trend I see is the use of video with a WBE’s capability statement as the means to introduce your firm to supplier diversity and procurement professionals. As supplier diversity managers, we are seeing that videos are becoming impactful tools to forward to procurement and department managers in addition to other supplier diversity managers. A video can provide a visual look as to who that WBE is, their firm, and the goods and services they can provide. We don’t have to rely solely on capability statements when there is a short video depicting the key services that are provided by the WBE and what value-add this WBE can provide. Not all videos have to be elaborate, but do give some thought as to what would best sell your company to a prospective corporation. Elements to consider are: Is it important to show the physical location you are in or examples of the goods or services you offer? Is it best to show the leadership and the employees of the company? What are the key facts you would like a prospective buyer to know about your company?
I joined the Astra board of directors during a time when the organization was developing its strategic plan to enhance Astra’s leadership role in its advocacy for WBEs and its corporate members. The plan includes embracing more programming for both new and established WBEs, an approach that I am passionate about. I love working with Astra WBEs both in California and throughout the rest of the Astra territory, and I look forward to enhancing this relationship. One of the projects we’ve worked on recently, the Astra Galaxy Prime Supplier Program, was inaugurated in Washington earlier this year, and I look forward to seeing it expand to reach all of Astra’s regions. I enjoy working with Astra especially in developing new technical assistance programs and sharing supplier diversity best practices.
My passion is assisting and encouraging diverse businesses and lending a helping hand whenever I can. I love meeting WBEs, hearing their story, and listening to what their needs are. I’ve developed great relationships with Astra WBEs and I’m looking forward to establishing many more.
Lynn became involved with Astra Women’s Business Alliance first as a corporate member of the organization, and now serves on the Board of Directors for Astra as well as the Financial Services Roundtable for Supplier Diversity Board. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA in Finance and Marketing from Columbia University.
By Barbara Wichmann
Founder and CEO, ARTÉMIA Communications Inc.
Barbara is the Chair of Astra’s Northern California Leadership Forum and a recipient of the 2014 WBENC Star Award.