“Start with Passion”: An interview with Pacific Southwest MSDC President and CEO Patricia Crenshaw
The Pacific Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council is proud to be a leading organization that has been connecting certified Minority Business Enterprise to corporate members’ procurement opportunities since 1993. In 2020, the council welcomed its newest president and CEO, who was gracious to share with us a brief introduction to her first year of leadership and more about the region's 2021 conference. Watch the full three-part series by visiting their YouTube channel.
Q: Can you introduce yourself?
Patricia: My name is Patricia Crenshaw and I am the President and CEO of the Pacific Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council (PSWMSDC). I have over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. My previous position was Vice President of Education and Public Affairs and I have worked for trade associations in the past which are similar to PSWMSDC.
Q: What inspired you to take this position?
Patricia: I took on this role because I used to do this type of work for fun. I’ve helped nonprofits raise funds, prepare to become sustainable, and build their foundation. It’s something I am very passionate about and I would do it on the weekends with my full-time job.
In this position, what I’ve learned is that the MBEs also start their positions from passion. It is their passion that exudes and makes you want to be a part of their business. So, my passion is watching them grow their businesses and being able to provide them with bid opportunities so that I can be an instrumental part of that growth.
Q: How has your first year in leadership been?
Patricia: I can say it’s been a blessing and a challenge. Let’s first talk about the challenge. As every CEO would probably tell you, this past year has largely been making decisions that not only affect you. We’ve had to make sure that we are also making decisions for our employees, the people from our partner corporations while also ensuring that we are doing the best thing for the MBEs that we serve.
So, while it has been a challenge, it’s also been a blessing because it gave me an opportunity to sit still, find the reasonings and help build our foundation so that we can grow and look to where the MBEs will be in three to five years. So now I have a plan, you just never know what that plan is going to look like after we’ve gone through the last year. I think that we're going to continue to grow as the number of MBEs is growing substantially. I'm having fun doing this because watching them grow is my passion!
Q: Can you tell us about the upcoming conference?
Patricia: We are excited to present our 2021 Virtual Procurement Conference and Business Opportunity Fair [June 9-11]. It is the flagship event of the entire network.
There are four pillars that we address in our organization. While certification is important, it does not end there. This event is to develop, advocate, and connect our MBEs with corporations and opportunities for the future.
This year’s theme is Breaking Barriers: Building for the Future. Throughout 2020, I always said to MBE’s that I would like to see them exactly where they were at the beginning of 2020 at the end of 2020. This may not have been the case for everyone; however, this conference is an opportunity to prepare and encourage them for the future.
*This interview was edited from the original video interview.
For more on the Pacific Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council, please visit pswmsdc.org.