By M.V. Greene
As the National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc. wraps up its golden jubilee year, the question looms: What’s next?
When an organization has been around for five decades, resting on laurels going into the future isn’t part of the plan.
NMSDC leaders and stakeholders are intent on keeping the supplier diversity advocacy organization thriving for another 50. NMSDC was chartered in 1972 in Chicago, Illinois, as the National Minority Purchasing Council.
NMSDC’s roadmap for its future begins with a newly minted strategic plan that charts the immediate direction for the organization, covering the years 2022-2026. The plan redefines the organization’s mission and vision, while targeting a series of goals and establishing operational priorities, said Ying McGuire, NMSDC CEO and president, in an exclusive interview with MBN USA.
She assumed NMSDC’s leadership in July 2021 and has since cast a wide net in seeking stakeholder input for the plan, eliciting discussion and comment from corporate partners, minority business enterprises or MBEs, NMSDC regional councils and national staff, fellow advocacy organizations and consultants.
For instance, McGuire said that upon her appointment, she held a series of meetings — called “Huddle with Ying” — to receive ideas, suggestions and concerns from corporate leaders, as well as MBEs, as part of an initial listening tour. In addition, she met with leaders of each of NMSDC’s 23 regional affiliate councils for feedback.
“The strategic plan didn’t come out of a vacuum,” she said. “We got a lot of help. All the stakeholders were involved directly.”
‘Learning from the best’
McGuire also called on legendary NMSDC leader Harriet R. Michel, who served the organization for 22 years before retiring in 2010. Credited with establishing NMSDC as the world’s premier supplier-diversity advocacy and certification organization, Michel serves as an official adviser to McGuire, who said she is “learning from the best.”
Creating stronger bonds
A key underpinning of the strategic plan was a redefinition of NMSDC’s mission to create stronger bonds with its “clients” and “customers,” she said. “Two things are most important. One is our clients. We define MBEs as our clients. We want to help them grow. If they are not growing, then there is no reason for us to be here,” McGuire said. “The second is to serve the customers, which are our corporate partners. We need to help them do more business with MBEs to advance economic equity.”
Executing the plan
In addition to addressing mission and vision, other goals of the plan are to drive operational excellence, promote economic equity for communities of color and achieve financial sustainability to ensure organizational longevity.
A SWOT — strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats — analysis was undertaken to give stakeholders a big picture of the state of the organization. McGuire said a performance scorecard with defined metrics will help the organization and board track how execution of the plan is evolving.
She added that some targets have realized great progress. Those include:
• Fortifying talent and responsibility in the national office with several new hires.
• Launching a technology road map to develop new high-tech solutions to support the mission.
• Branding innovative programs — such as the inaugural Minority Business Economic Forum that convened in May 2022 to bring together policymakers, corporate and community leaders, consultants, academics, MBEs and investors to help define what minority business development should look like going forward.
March to $1 trillion
Early in her tenure, McGuire announced a goal to achieve $1 trillion in revenue annually by NMSDC-certified MBEs — a near tripling of total economic activity through NMSDC. Other priorities continue as works in progress, she said, such as the future organizational design of NMSDC, including possible changes in its regional affiliate structure.
McGuire said the NMSDC board approved a consultant-assisted task force to receive recommendations on the possible restructuring of the national and regional affiliate offices to achieve the most effective support for the organizational mission.
“We’re still looking at how NMSDC needs to be structured to be sustainable and successful for the next 50 years,” she said. “We’re very methodical and thoughtful about it. We’re doing studies and leveraging experts and top-notch people in certain fields.”
One of the most important considerations going forward for NMSDC will be whether and how to alter the way it certifies MBEs, McGuire said. The organization has been criticized in the past on how it certifies, with many terming the proprietary process rigid, costly and burdensome.
She knows that certification talk will be front and center at the NMSDC 50th Anniversary Conference & Exchange, a hybrid event taking place Oct. 30-Nov. 2 in New Orleans. McGuire is open to considering changes in certification as a means of keeping up with times, particularly by infusing greater technology into the process.
“We have created this gold standard for certifications that we are very proud of, but times have changed,” she said. “Technology has accelerated, and we need to utilize technology to drive automation and organization.
“Some changes likely will be geared to achieving greater flexibility to reach and serve more minority entrepreneurs,” McGuire added.
“We understand that one size does not always fit all,” she said. “We have so many in the younger generation who want to be entrepreneurs, and they may just have one person in their companies. So, their process should be quite simple. The goal is to maintain the gold standard and integrity at the same time.”
To learn more about NMSDC’s 50th anniversary, visit nmsdc.org. Also view this video at mbnusa.biz/detail/nmsdc-marks-50th-anniversary.
Ying McGuire, CEO and president, National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc.
Harriet Michel, NMSDC president and CEO, 1988-2010; Adviser to NMSDC CEO and President Ying McGuire