thirtieth awards luncheon
Honors go to entrepreneurs, corporate supporters and community organizations
NMBC educates and advocates for M/WBEs
The National Minority Business Council (NMBC) held its thirtieth annual awards luncheon in New York City in February, honoring entrepreneurs, corporate sponsors and community organizations that support minority-owned businesses.
Jordan Weiss, Diversity/Careers director of advertising sales, attended the luncheon as the guest of National Grid, and brought back these photos.
The thirty-seven-year-old NMBC was founded and is still led by president and CEO John F. Robinson. Its approximately 450 M/WBE members are “manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, construction contractors, professional firms like IT, lawyers, accounting and some retail businesses,” Robinson notes. “We focus on education, procurement training and advocacy of business development.” An active women’s business committee was started in 2002.
Technology-based firms are a visible part of the NMBC membership, Robinson notes. “Over a hundred M/WBE member firms are operating within the IT space, and that figure is growing,” he says. “There are even a couple of engineering firms.”
A dozen active corporate members support NMBC’s work, Robinson says. Sponsors for the luncheon were BNY Mellon, Consolidated Edison and National Grid.
Kurt Woetzel is head of BNY Mellon bank ops and technology, including responsibility for the bank’s worldwide IT organization. He chaired the luncheon and gave the keynote talk, emphasizing the importance of entrepreneurs to companies like BNY Mellon.
Awards for outstanding corporate supplier diversity efforts went to IBM and Tishman Construction; awards for outstanding technology corporations went to MBEs Diversant Inc (www.diversant.com), an IT and staffing solutions firm, and SanVista Inc (sanvistainc.com), an IT service provider.
Also recognized was the Harlem Commonwealth Council (harlemcommonwealth.org) for its five-year-old New Ventures program for entrepreneurs. New Ventures is a sixteen-week course that prepares current and aspiring business owners to lead successful companies.
Additional awards recognized M/WBEs, a minority-owned media company, the Hampton University School of Business and Donald R Monks, retired vice chair of BNY Mellon.
Networking and relationship-building was an important part of the event, and is an important element of all the work of NMBC, Robinson says. “No relationship works unless there is value to both sides,” he declares. The luncheon gala helped cement many of those valuable connections.