OfficeMax goes above and beyond to create a memorable educational event for its diverse suppliers rife with opportunities and new partnerships. OfficeMax held its first ever Opportunity Exchange on August 25, 2011 at the Hotel Arista near its corporate headquarters in Naperville, IL. The day-long event was designed to help the OfficeMax corporate supplier diversity team and diverse suppliers converge and connect in an open and educational setting. This event allowed OfficeMax to engage their diverse vendors, and also allowed these unique businesses a chance to meet and interact with one another.
Morning sessions included several discussions and presentations from the OfficeMax team. CEO Ravi Saligram addressed attendees and discussed the important role supplier diversity plays at the company. Other members of the OfficeMax Executive, Sales, Strategic Sourcing and Supply Chain teams spoke about their roles within the larger program, as well as discussing with attendees the supply chain process and more.
Following the breakfast sessions, the Vendor Exhibitor Fair opened its doors to dozens of participants. This exhibition allowed select women- and minority-owned vendors to highlight their products and services and interact with other vendors attending the event.
Each vendor used a table or booth to show off their products and demonstrate their contribution to the products and services offered by OfficeMax. The Vendor Exhibitor Fair provided a great opportunity to network, exchange best practices, discuss industry trends and form new partnerships. It also served as a living, breathing portrait of the many diverse suppliers currently involved with OfficeMax.
Lunch included a keynote speech by Margarita Anderson, co-founder of the Empowerment Experiment. This landmark project began when Anderson and her family purchased items only from black-owned companies and stores for a full year and led to a study conducted by Nothwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business.
Anderson has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and the CBS Morning News, and will release a book about the experiment entitled “Our Black Year” in early 2012. She discussed her experiences during the experiment and addressed how companies like OfficeMax can continue to help minority businesses grow through robust and active
supplier diversity programs.
Attendees not only left with new insights on how to best maximize their business opportunities with OfficeMax, but also new connections and a fresh perspective on what it means to be a supplier for OfficeMax.
The OfficeMax Diversity and Inclusion Mission Statement affirms that:
“Office Max promotes an inclusive culture that embraces the diversity of our associates, business partners and customers. This environment fosters innovation and creates a competitive advantage that drives the growth of our business.”
The Opportunity Exchange was truly an example of the OfficeMax Diversity and Inclusion Mission Statement in action. View more images from the OfficeMax Opportunity Exchange
at the MBEConnect photo stream on Flickr.