Happy New Year!  For those in the U.S. I hope you celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. day in a way that is meaningful to you.  My area of expertise, supplier diversity and inclusion, originated with the civil rights movement so in this post I’ll touch on the state of supplier inclusion (as I have before) and more personally, how I plan to contribute to those initiatives in 2024.

Being intentional in 2024

For everyone who made a New Year’s resolution this year, there seem to be an equal number of people committed to not making a resolution, or rather, celebrating where they are right now.

I’ve taken the middle road this year and selected one word that will be my north star, an intention for the year to come. Stretch.

Why One Word

I’m a big fan of setting goals and checking in but January is a busy month for me to truly stop and reflect. Not only are we just coming back from the holidays but both of my kids celebrate their birthdays in the first two weeks of the year. And, I planned and registered their whole summer of camps last week (and despite registering the first day camp opened, am still on a waitlist for one of the camps). I need a Spring Break already.

Why Stretch

I am doing a 30-day yoga challenge so stretching made sense right away. I thought more about it though and I also plan to stretch professionally this year.

ESG Service offerings

The B Corp network for several years has had a women’s leadership group that has just branched off into its own free standing network. I’m looking forward to going to their retreat for the first time this year and getting more involved.

My business has taken me to some new places that I want to invest time and resources into this year. After getting B Corp certified last year, I started working with other businesses to help understand the benefits of the certification and how they can leverage a commitment to ESG.

I’m also working with some B Corp clients which is bringing me into new countries, industries, and challenges where my business can make an impact.

Play at Work

Finally, I’m taking Barometer XP’s  certification course in facilitating play in teams. Outside of ice breakers and breakouts, I haven’t used much in the way of cutting edge team development tools. As I develop my consultancy to focus more on training for individual business owners and their teams, I’m looking forward to incorporating new and innovative ways to help people learn from one another.

I’ve been part of Barometer XP’s game play in the past and know that play can form bonds, build trust, and yield great insights for teams so I’m looking forward to learning more and bringing this to my facilitation and training clients.

How is it different than a goal

My intention to Stretch is different than a goal because it doesn’t have the S.M.A.R.T characteristics.  It’s not specific, measurable, or time-bound necessarily. It does feel achievable and relevant so in this case, I’m going to paraphrase Meatloaf and say 2 out 5 ain’t bad .


I’m doing it so – it’s achievable.  We’ll see how I feel at the end of the month about waking up at zero dark thirty for a daily yoga practice or at the end of the year to see how it goes for me and what it brings to the business.


Stretching is always relevant in business. We need to be continuously adapting to changes in demography and technology.

In my industry in particular- supplier diversity and inclusion – there have been very real challenges to the concept of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and its implementation in workforces and procurement.

That brings us back to one of my very first posts – defining the business case for DEI.

Where is Supplier Inclusion Right Now

Below are several articles that shed light on the current state of diversity initiatives and the challenges faced by diverse-owned businesses with an emphasis on the business case behind these initiatives.

Unlike my goal for the year, the objectives of supplier diversity programs do adhere to the principles of SMART. They are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

With that in mind, here are a few articles that came out in the past several weeks that help make that case for me.

  1. Spur Economic Growth by Protecting Supplier Diversity Programs

Geri Stengel discusses how these programs which promote inclusivity by providing opportunities to minority-owned businesses, play a crucial role in fostering innovation and resilience in supply chains. Stengel talks to leaders of supplier diversity organizations about how  safeguarding and expanding these initiatives can lead to a more robust and equitable economy, benefiting both businesses and society at large

  1. Hootology: Diversity Policies Under Attack

The article above also references Hootology’s work that shows “increasing a brand’s supplier diversity program awareness by just 1%, an additional 800,000 U.S. consumers will choose to use the brand’s products and services, according to their The Corporate Diversity Index.

In this post, Hootology emphasizes the challenges faced by diversity policies, pointing to a full-out attack on these initiatives despite evidence showing that they are good for business.

3. Backlash Against Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Initiatives in U.S. Companies

This Guardian article discusses the backlash faced by U.S. companies regarding their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. It explores the tensions and criticisms surrounding these efforts, indicating a complex landscape where companies navigate the delicate balance of promoting diversity while managing potential backlash.

  1. Reimagine Main Street Survey: Boosting Diversity in Contracting

Last year Reimagine Main Street, in collaboration with 14 national business organizations, conducted a survey focused on diverse-owned small and mid-sized businesses. The survey, released in November of last year,  indicates significant opportunities to increase contracting with diverse businesses in both the public and private sectors.

Key Findings:

– One in three respondents generates at least $1M in annual revenue, with nearly half already earning at least 50% of their revenue from contracting.

– Approximately 29% of surveyed businesses operate in “Investing in America” industries, showing a capacity for contracts in areas such as engineering, construction, energy, manufacturing, and telecommunications.

– Businesses express eagerness to explore opportunities arising from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Chips and Science Act.

– Corporate and government contracting are crucial to the growth strategies of diverse businesses, with 46% of those earning $1M+ revenue citing corporate contracting as critical.

– Intentional engagement and unbundling of contracts are highlighted as imperative to level the playing field, allowing diverse-owned businesses to contribute to building robust and resilient supply chains for the future.

I also wanted to add this one which recognizes those firms that are doing a great job:

SupplierIO Recognizes Firms for Diverse Supplier Initiatives

SupplierIO, an organization focused on supplier diversity, has honored firms for their outstanding efforts in promoting diverse supplier initiatives. The article highlights the importance of recognizing and celebrating companies that actively contribute to fostering diversity in their supply chains.

Stretching is Relevant

The stretching I am doing professionally will help tell these stories about just how good inclusion and sustainability are for business.  These articles and survey findings underscore the ongoing efforts, challenges, and opportunities in promoting diversity and inclusion across various sectors of the business world.

In navigating this landscape more is more.  We’ll need more intentional engagement, more recognition of diverse contributions, and more strategic contracting so that businesses continue to play a pivotal role in fostering a more inclusive and equitable future.

There’s a lot of work to do. I’ll need to stretch.