Business Smart Week - Detroit
Business Smart Week is the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s signature supplier diversity initiative. Our Supplier Diversity Program serves as a value generating partner to the business community by convening experts to transfer knowledge and provide you with the tools to better manage your business. Supplier Diversity aligns directly with the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate to foster a strong economy and maximize employment as diverse businesses help to support the economic base in the communities in which they do business.
This year’s Business Smart Week in Detroit focuses on the value of Certification and the power of partnerships and collaboration in generating revenue for your business.
The Bank’s Leadership is fully committed to the inclusion of diverse businesses on contracting opportunities as well as facilitating access and engagement opportunities with decision makers.
We look forward to enhancing our partnerships with community organizations and diverse business enterprises, and sincerely hope that Business Smart Week proves to be a valuable resource to those we serve.
Sharon Crockett is a Senior Business Development Consultant with the Detroit MBDA Center and serves as a support to the MMSDC in providing assistance to the business communities that we serve. We are entrusted by the US Department of Commerce to provide business development, access to capital, sourcing opportunities and matchmaking to minority owned businesses. In supporting the Council’s work, we add value to the economic infrastructure of the community. When small businesses are thriving due to our assistance everyone benefits.
James B. Flynn, Executive Director/Supplier Diversity Manager at JPMorgan Chase & Company. Global Supplier Diversity is part of Global Supplier Services that supports the firm’s world class category management, sourcing, third party oversight, supply relationship management and spend diversity activities among others. Flynn is focused on the firm’s supplier diversity initiatives, transformation and leading edge category management practice to help grow internal capability/program growth leveraging his knowledge of the firm’s complex supply chain and deep experience with many spend categories at the bank.
Mark Hands is the Supplier Diversity Program Manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. In this role, Mark helps Business Units source quality minority and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBE) suppliers to meet the Bank’s operational needs and collaborate with key advocacy groups to provide technical assistance to M/WBE suppliers. Mark joined the Bank in November 2010 and brings established relationships in the business community and a wealth of experience in increasing opportunities for M/WBEs. Mark also serves as Chair of the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council’s (Chicago MSDC) Board of Directors.
Laketa Henderson serves as the Deputy District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration at its Michigan District Office. In this role, she manages the daily operations and various SBA activities throughout the state. Henderson has been with the SBA for seven years and joins the Michigan District from the SBA’s San Antonio District where she also served as a Deputy District Director. Prior to that, she worked at both the SBA’s Washington Metropolitan District and Alabama District offices as a business opportunity specialist and supervisory business opportunity specialist, respectively, helping small businesses apply for and secure government contracting work. Henderson is a native Detroiter and worked over 20 years in the automotive industry with General Motors, Toyota and Hyundai prior to joining the SBA. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public affairs from Wayne State University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. She is also an Army veteran who served for seven years abroad and stateside.
Keith King is Founder and President of the National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC). He is a 40 Year Veteran advocate with heavy legislative experience, strong record of success in writing, lobbying for, and getting passage of laws to benefit ALL veterans. Adjudicated 1,000's of veteran claims for benefits. Expert in Veteran laws and VA claims and the difference between them. Keith’s volunteer efforts on behalf of his fellow Veterans has been fueled by his success in his personal and business life. Through the years, Keith has taken on a variety of leadership roles on the National, State and Local levels. He is committed to helping today’s veterans as they transition out of the military and back into American society. Keith King enlisted in the U.S Army in 1969 and was based in the Central highlands of Vietnam in 1970. Keith was a 19-year-old M-60 machine gunner with the U.S. Army's military police protecting supply convoys running ammunition along the dangerous routes to American troops fighting in South Vietnam's war-torn Central Highlands. Keith was inducted into the Michigan Military Veterans Hall of Honor in a ceremony held May 17th 2019. He was among a select group of veterans that included Joe Lewis, Alexander Jefferson a surviving Tuskegee Airman and other distinguished veterans.
Brigadier General Richard S. Miller (Ret) served as the Deputy Commanding General for the 38th Infantry Division, Indiana National Guard. He received his commission in 1982 as an Infantry Officer and has had numerous command positions. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2004 and commanded all Embedded Tactical Trainers in Southern Afghanistan located in Kandahar. He also served as the Senior Military Advisor for the 205th Corps Commander of the Afghan National Army. BG Miller is actively involved in Non-profit organizations focusing on Veterans issues. He serves on the Board of Directors of the National Veterans Business Development Council. Also serves on the board of directors of the Michigan Military Veterans Hall of Honor and is the State President for the Association of the United States Army for Michigan. He participates as an advisor for the Computer Technology school of Ball State University. He also works with the Eisenhower Center of Ann Arbor to support a veteran treatment center located at Selfridge Air Force Base. The center treats veterans experiencing PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. In his civilian life he is an independent consultant.
Dannis Mitchell is a construction industry professional committed to developing and implementing programs that provide employment and contracting opportunities to diverse candidates and subcontractors. Results driven and dedicated, she has more than 16 years of industry experience that has focused on business and workforce development. Dannis uses her experience to drive growth within the industry while dissolving entrenched biases through targeted engagement initiatives. As Client & Community Engagement Manager for Barton Malow Company, Dannis leads the company’s efforts in leveraging resources to increase capacity and utilization of diverse businesses and workforce candidates on construction projects. She builds and manages relationships with key stakeholders including union representatives, community development organizations, educational institutions and corporate partners to connect contract bidding and talent engagement opportunities that support Barton Malow Company’s business and workforce development diversity program.
Pamela Smith has been the sole owner of PTS Compliance Consulting LLC since 2015. As the owner, she provides certification documentation review for women and minority business owners seeking contracts with corporations that have supplier diversity initiatives. Pamela worked as a Distributor/Dealer Development Administrator at Detroit Diesel Corporation for several years before retiring in 2006. In 2007 she began her second career as a Program Manager and Director of Certification at Great Lakes Women’s Business Council until she retired in 2015. Pamela is currently a member of Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, the National Minority Supplier Development Council, and NAWBO. She has received two recognitions from NAWBO; the first for the Up-and-Coming Award and the second for the Red Tape Buster Award. Since opening her “doors” in 2015, she has helped over 50 companies become certified as a WBE and/or MBE throughout the U.S. and Canada. She is passionate, enjoys connecting people, and helping business owners to reach that next level.
Leamon Sowell is the founder and Managing Partner of Sowell Law Partners, PLLC. He has been practicing corporate and business law since graduating in 1981 from the Northwestern University School of Law. In 1981, Mr. Sowell’s career began in the Office of the General Counsel at Marathon Oil Company in Findlay, Ohio where he gained experience in the merger and acquisition activity of the company including the merger between Marathon Oil Company and U.S. Steel, a $13 billion transaction. Since the early 1990’s, Mr. Sowell’s firm has focused on assisting certified diverse suppliers with developing growth strategies by working with large corporate customers who are committed to supplier diversity initiatives. Sowell Law Partners assists clients to deploy strategic growth tactics of the strategic alliance, joint venture, and acquisition processes: strategy development, partner selection, deal structure, and operational implementation. Strategic alliances, joint ventures, and acquisitions serve many purposes, including filling gaps in capabilities or facilitating new market entry.
Wendy Thomas is the Southeast Region Director for the Michigan Small Business Development Center which services Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties. Her extensive and rewarding career, spanning over 20 years, has led her to incredible professional growth opportunities. In addition to successfully helping small businesses launch and grow, she has spent the last 14 years, in leadership and management roles. Wendy serves on several small business advisory boards and committees. She is also a mentor in the Eastern Michigan University Executive Mentor Program and the Michigan ACE Women’s Mentorship Program. Wendy has received recognition for Outstanding Volunteer for the CEED Detroit Loan Program, Michigan Small Business Center of Excellence and Innovation Award, and SBA Small Business Consultant of the Year. Wendy is also certified as a Small Business Consultant and a Small Business Administration Export Trade Specialist.
Thomas Vargo is the Lead Business Opportunity Specialist for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Michigan District Office, where he has served since 1998. He is responsible for the administration of the 8(a) Business Development Program and the HUBZone Program in the Michigan District Office. He also assists small businesses in all areas of federal procurement and federal procurement activities in achieving their small business goals. Thomas serves as the HUBZone liaison for the state of Michigan. Thomas is Federal Acquisition Certification-Contracting (FAC-C) Level 1 certified.
Representatives from various organizations highlight the benefits of Certification and give you tips on how to leverage your Certification to grow your business. You will learn what steps are necessary for you to turn your certifications into a profitable tool to increase your business revenue.
This presentation is a hard hitting look at Supplier Diversity and who/what and why Supplier Diversity Managers value certification. It will offer you a guide to success once you have gotten your foot in the door and help you avoid getting it slammed in your face!
Detroit is experiencing a construction boom that hasn’t been seen in decades, with billions of dollars earmarked for projects. With these developments come jobs and limitless opportunities. This workshop will give and overview of the projects underway and provide information about opportunities in the skilled trades.
The Keynote Speaker will give an overview of the initiatives J.P. Morgan Chase has to support veteran owned businesses and discuss the power of collaboration in helping businesses succeed.
Representatives from various organizations highlight the benefits of Certification and give you tips on how to leverage your Certification to grow your business. But if you are not certified, the Michigan Small Business Center (SBDC) provides business services at little or no cost. This workshop will give you an overview of some of SBDC services you can access.
This workshop will show businesses how to use a capability statement to market their product or service and how it can be used to accompany tender submissions for contracts, upload onto online databases and used to support applications for finance to expand your business. 1-on-1 Review and Coaching will be available on a first come first serve basis after workshop.
Entering into a joint venture is a major decision. This workshop will provide an overview of the main ways in which you can set up a joint venture, understand the legal aspects of teaming and joint venture agreements, as well as discuss the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. You will also learn how to assess if you are ready to commit, what to look for in a joint venture partner and how to make it work.
The Quicken Loans Community Fund is the philanthropic arm of Quicken Loans, the nation's largest mortgage lender. Its strategy focuses on investments in housing stability, entrepreneurship, education and employment, public space activation, and community sponsorships in Detroit. The speaker will discuss how the Quicken Loans Community Fund Initiatives are supporting small, minority and women-owned businesses in the revitalization of Detroit and how you can participate.