Minority-Owned Businesses Front and Center at Supplier Diversity Fair

By Steve Blanchard - May 16, 2019

Wells Fargo’s Vice President of Senior Community Development Machelle Maner pulled double duty at Moffitt Cancer Center’s Supplier Diversity Vendor Fair this year. She was representing both Wells Fargo and the Florida Minority Enterprise Development Corp.

“This is an opportunity to interact with the community and to let Moffitt and business owners know about what we do and how we can help them,” Maner said. “It’s a great event and it’s the second time I’ve been. It’s bigger and better than last year’s.”

Maner was one of more than 60 vendors to take part in annual event, held within the Stabile Research Building on Moffitt’s Magnolia Campus. The Supplier Diversity Fair invites small businesses from throughout the community to learn how to do business with the cancer center. One-on-one network opportunities with individual Moffitt departments were also part of the attraction for many involved this year.

“It’s about education and learning how we can help each other,” Maner said. “If someone wants to learn how to increase their minority representation, I’m ready to share that information. If they want to learn how Wells Fargo can fit into their business plan, I’ll hand them my card. Everything is right here.”

Desiree Hanson, manager of Moffitt Supplier Diversity and organizer of the vendor fair said that there were so many vendors interested this year  she had to close registration.

“That’s not something we love to do, but we have to be aware of our space,” Hanson said. “I was extremely proud of the representation we received from our own Moffitt departments. They came out to meet with our suppliers and that was the core purpose of this event. I was excited to hear from our departments that they met a large number of qualified suppliers to meet their needs.”

Moffitt works with registered diverse businesses identified as minority, women, veteran or service disabled veteran-owned businesses throughout the year. Each business undergoes a certification process to be identified as minority-owned before Moffitt can utilize their services.

“Each year we add to our supply chain, and we added 16 additional suppliers last year,” Hanson said. “I think that number will jump even more now, especially after this successful vendor fair.”

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