Valuing Diverse Business Culture in Maryland

At Verizon, diversity is as much about good business practice as it is the right thing to do.

This was demonstrated July 9 at a Maryland Public Service Commission hearing where Verizon and several other companies discussed the status of their supplier diversity initiatives statewide and established future goals.  This year marks the 20th anniversary of the state’s memorandum of understanding on supplier diversity.

“Verizon is proud to be recognized as a company that sets the standard in American business when it comes to supplier diversity,” said Kathy Buckley, Verizon’s vice president of government affairs for the mid-Atlantic region.  “We serve some of the country’s most diverse markets, and diversity is a part of our culture and an integral part of our business strategy.  We depend on the unique talents and experiences of all our employees and suppliers to maintain our premier network and best meet our many customers’ needs.”

Buckley said Verizon has long operated a successful and robust supplier diversity program in Maryland and around the country.  And, the company first formally stated its commitment in Maryland in a voluntary memorandum of understanding with the state Public Service Commission 20 years ago.  No other Maryland telecommunications company has such a longstanding commitment to diversity.

In addition, Verizon actively and voluntarily participated in the Commission’s working group five years ago to cooperatively develop the current memorandum to replace the company’s earlier one – despite the notable absence of most of its competitors from that process.

“We strive to provide maximum opportunities for diverse suppliers to compete on an equal basis with all other suppliers who meet our product, service, procurement and contractual requirements,” Buckley added.  “And our goal is to increase our percentage of spend with certified diverse suppliers each year.”

Diverse suppliers interested in doing business with Verizon must be certified by either the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council; the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; the Association for Service Disabled Veterans; the Native American Business Alliance; the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce; the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council; or the federal or state government.

Verizon is a charter member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, a coalition of 18 companies that spend more than $1 billion annually with certified diverse business enterprises.  In 2012, Verizon purchased $5.26 billion in goods and services with these businesses – an increase of more than $1.4 billion compared to 2011 – bringing its total spending to more than $20 billion over the past five years.  Verizon has been recognized nationally and regionally for its commitment to supplier diversity.  Most recently:

  • Verizon was once again placed on DiversityInc’s “Top 50 Companies for Diversity” list.
  • Verizon was selected by Latino Magazine's first annual listing of the 100 companies providing the most opportunities for Latinos. 
  • For the 10th consecutive year, Verizon was named to LATINA Style Magazine's annual list of the best companies for Latinas to work for in the U.S. – the LATINA Style 50. 
  • DiversityBusiness.com ranked Verizon No. 8 on the site’s “2012 List of Top 50 Companies for Multicultural Business Opportunities.”  The companies on this list were selected in an annual poll of over 1.2 million businesses.
  • The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce named Verizon to its prestigious Million Dollar Club, which recognizes corporations and procurement executives who have demonstrated unwavering support for Hispanic Business Enterprises through diversity spending.  Verizon placed in the $250 million to $500 million spending category.
  • The National Minority Supplier Development Council honored Verizon with a Minority Leadership Award for its successful long-term collaboration with health care provider, BrightStar Care.
  • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) recognized Verizon as one of America's top corporations for women's business enterprises (WBEs).  This award recognizes those companies doing business in the U.S. that proactively are breaking down barriers that impede WBEs from gaining fair access to procurement opportunities and demonstrating their commitment through actual contracts.  The award was received during the WBENC Summit & Salute in Baltimore, Md., in March 2013.  This is Verizon’s eighth year receiving the award.
  • The Dallas/Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council, an affiliate of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, recognized Verizon’s commitment to supplier diversity and best practices with the “Buy Those That Buy UsTM” Recognition Award.  Of the 135 entries submitted and reviewed by council judges, 18 were selected.
  •  The Women Presidents’ Educational Organization DC presented Verizon with the Celebrating Our Partners award for the company’s commitment to the success of women's business enterprises.