This session includes two, 30 minute presentations with Q&A and are listed in order of presentation.
Intentional Procurement: Linking Procurement to Racial Equity and Economic Development
Presented by Shea O’Neill, U3 Advisors; Antonina Simeti, Buffalo Purchasing Initiative; Linda Deni, University of Buffalo; Sue McCartney/Mauricio Canton Diaz, Buffalo State College
Our presentation will discuss the formation and ongoing implementation of the Buffalo Purchasing Initiative, a collaborative effort between 14 major organizations in the Buffalo area to drive more spending opportunities to local businesses owned by people of color. In operation a little over two years, BPI has more than doubled the dollars spent with local businesses of color by the founding members. We will discuss the history of BPI, the tactical steps taken to launch and operate, as well as the day to day challenges and opportunities that underpin the work. The presentation would also leverage our relationship with the University at Buffalo and Buffalo State College, two of the core partners, to drill down the relevancy of this work at a university level and to share the value universities can achieve in linking their supplier diversity operations with other major employers, regardless of industry.
Chief diversity officers in higher education: More relevant now than ever
Presented by Tanisha Stevens, University of Missouri–St. Louis
Over the last few years, appointments of chief diversity officers (CDO) at institutions of higher education have increased significantly and it is not uncommon that a quick search will yield a number of job opportunities, not only in higher education, but in K-12 education, healthcare and corporate/business entities as well. Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence that an individual hired into this position will be the first in the newly created role and oftentimes viewed as “crisis managers” in response to an event, an occurrence-such as a series of racial incidents on a college campus.
Despite this, there needs to be an institutional commitment and acknowledgment for the importance of the work that CDO’s undertake for a university — work that should not be diminished nor devalued. As institutions of higher education and the nation as a whole continue to address issues regarding equity, race, diversity, inclusion, and social justice, quite simply, CDOs are essential in maintaining a welcoming and inclusive campus environment.
The purpose of the session is to: 1) Examine the ever-changing roles of Chief Diversity Officers in Higher Education, through the experiences of a newly-appointed CDO, 2) Provide examples of opportunities and initiatives that have proven successful at the institution and 3) provide opportunities for others to engage in conversations on their respective campuses to move the needle forward on diversity, equity and inclusion.