Sharon Patterson - 2022 Global Supply Chain Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Hall of Fame

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

A: I have been president and CEO of Billion Dollar Roundtable Inc. since YEARXX. BDR is an organization of major U.S. corporations that promotes supply-chain diversity through top-level forums and sharing of best practices, thought leadership and policy engagement. BDR’s corporate members each purchase more than $1 billion annually in goods and services from diverse suppliers on a first-tier basis.

The BDR book “Supplier Diversity Best Practices: Building Excellence to Improve the Supply Chain Matrix” is widely read; it assists companies in developing supplier-diversity programs. Over the years, BDR has received several awards and recognition, including induction into the Minority Business Hall of Fame and Museum.

My career engagements include working for companies where I developed and implemented supplier-diversity directives and procurement initiatives within the supply chain. I continue to be involved in the development of supplier-diversity efforts globally.

I also enjoy painting, golf, reading and supporting local activities.

Q: When and why did you become a supplier diversity and minority business development champion? 

A: Entrepreneurship lies deep in my soul. It’s an area that I wanted to be a part of starting in my teen years. First, my inspiration came from my father who was an entrepreneur from his core. He owned a grocery store that I occasionally worked in at an early age. I saw him support a community in positive ways through his business. 

Second, in my college years I was exposed to formal business subjects and opportunities as my major was economics. I was an intern during graduate school (finance major) for a diverse company in Atlanta [Georgia]. During this time, I became intellectually attached to the business world. 

Third, I began my career in commercial lending and served clients that had family-owned enterprises. That intrigued me. I figured I could operate and advise small businesses. Fourth, during the ups and downs of career development and life, I found supplier diversity and felt home at last. 

Everything that I experienced in life prior to entering this industry of supplier diversity had prepared me for this leg of my journey as a champion for diverse suppliers. This is my purpose! My journey continues as the learning process and what to do in this area is incomplete. I am committed and purposed.

Q: What do you see as the greatest challenges and opportunities for MBEs?

A: I believe the greatest challenges for MBEs include but are not limited to:

• Identifying growth contract opportunities,

• Obtaining available capital resources to support opportunities when they come,

• Planning for future growth, and

• Identifying and hiring supportive management

Opportunities abound for diverse suppliers. My experience has taught me that:

• Character strengths of persistence, resilience, curiosity, teamwork and divinity will help supplier team players go a long way toward achieving their goals.

• Diverse suppliers should target business opportunities and pursue them diligently

  • Don’t let ‘no’ slow you down!!!!

Q: What would you like your legacy to be as a champion of supplier diversity? 

A: I would like to be remembered for working hard to lift diverse suppliers to new heights and creating a space where diverse suppliers will always and forever be a part of the natural order of the corporate supply chain. I want diverse suppliers to be organic to the supply chain where extra efforts are not needed. In other words, I want to be remembered for making supplier diversity supply chain inclusive and not a necessary extra globally. 

To learn more about BDR, visit


Sharon Patterson Billion Dollar Roundtable Inc. YEARXX Supplier Diversity Best Practices supplier diversity minority business development

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