Sue Bhatia accepts from Bill Alcorn

Trailblazer Award Honoree

A strong proponent of women’s and minorities’ success, Sue Bhatia is dedicated to creating opportunities and providing career development through supplier diversity. Through mentoring and public speaking, she explores a number of career-related topics including those that women specifically face throughout their careers.

Sue founded Rose International in the basement of her home in 1993 after realizing that, if she stayed on her professional path as a corporate systems analyst, it would take 30 years to achieve her goals. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, Rose International has grown to become one of the nation’s largest women-owned total talent solutions companies, and now serves clients in all 50 states with more than 20 offices and development centers across the country and New Delhi, India. 

Suzanne Cruz-Sewell accepts from Patricia Rodriguez-Christian and Cheryl Stevens

Leadership Award Honoree

Responsible for the strategic implementation of the Airport Concessions/Disadvantaged/ Minority/Women-Owned Business Enterprise programs and for managing the day-to-day operations of the department to ensure increased contracting opportunities for diverse suppliers, Suzanne Cruz-Sewell consistently demonstrates a personal commitment to foster and create an inclusive business environment.

Over the last 15 years, she has made significant contributions to the model Business Diversity programs at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. As the fourth largest airport in the world, DFW Airport continues to set the standard for business diversity initiatives across the nation and in the local DFW community.

Farryn Melton accepts from Cheryl Stevens

Executive Advocate Award Honoree

Managing Bristol-Myers Squibb’s annual external spend of some $8 billion, Farryn Melton has the formidable task of aligning that spend with the company’s business strategy to optimize value and drive efficiency. In addition to global procurement and supplier relationship management, she is responsible for strategy-to-pay processes, global travel and fleet operations. She leads a diverse team of more than 250 colleagues around the world and manages large external partnerships.

Within Bristol-Myers Squibb, she also leads the Diversity & Inclusion Council for the company’s Global Business Operations for the last several years, serves on its Global Diversity and Inclusion Council and is a mentor to several colleagues.

Michelle Sourie Robinson accepts from Theresa Harrison

Advocate Award Honoree

Michelle Sourie Robinson has a long history of innovative, progressive leadership in corporate and advocacy roles. Prior to taking the reins at the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council almost five years ago, she founded Give & Receive, a non-profit organization that acts as a matchmaker, connecting individuals and businesses to various charities. The impact has been far-reaching and helped launch an academy that has taught leadership skills to more than 600 African girls.

Michelle previously served as the director of supplier diversity at Home Depot, where she created the company’s first supplier diversity department and supporting initiatives and gained industry recognition for her employer and herself. She was named Advocate of the Year by the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council — three times — and a Trumpet Awards High Tea and Heels Distinguished Woman Honoree; listed among Crain’s Business Most Influential Women; and received the National Association of Minority Contractors Advocate Award.

Nancy Conner accepts on behalf of Loretta Rosenmayer from Betty Manetta

WBE Trailblazer Award Honoree

Thirty years ago, Loretta Rosenmayer started a small trenching company named Trench-It with four employees and $15,000 borrowed from a close female friend who believed in Loretta’s dream. In 2009, due to growth and expansion of services, she changed the company’s name to INTREN. Today, the Union, Illinois-based company has 11 regional offices and employs some 1,900 people across the country, has revenues of $400 million and is a leader in the development and execution of premier design, construction and management solutions for some of the nation’s largest utilities and private contractors.

INTREN was certified as a women-owned business enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council in 1993 and is a committed partner in supporting other companies seeking to become certified. She credits the utility industry for perceiving and acting on the potential for women’s businesses to perform and is an ardent advocate for women- and minority-owned businesses. 

Shannon Suber, Ph.D. accepts from Debbie Hurst

Catalyst Award Honoree

With a firm belief that women- and minority-owned businesses are the economic engines that drive competitive advantages, Dr. Shannon Suber is a leading proponent of supplier diversity at Dallas-based Texas Instruments. Prior to her current role as operations manager for TI’s business support entity rotation programs, Shannon served as director of minority and women business development, filling the shoes of her mentor and WBE Hall of Fame inductee, the late Richard Stouffer.

During her 14 years at the helm of supply chain diversity, TI increased inclusion and sustained utilization of MWBE firms through several new initiatives, including required third-party certification, a supplier development mentoring program and a sub-tier initiative requiring TI’s prime suppliers to utilize certified MWBEs.

Candace Waterman accepts from Benita Fortner

Advocate Award Honoree

Known as a fierce advocate for women business owners, Candace Waterman heads Washington, DC-based, non-partisan Women Impacting Public Policy. This organization’s mission is to work with leaders in Congress, global corporations and grass-roots groups to strengthen the impact of women entrepreneurs on public policy and create economic opportunities.

Candace’s professional experience includes business ownership, leadership roles in corporate America and, prior to taking the lead at WIPP, serving as chief of staff and vice president of certification and program operations for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. During her tenure with WBENC, she worked closely with WIPP and jumped at the chance to take on a role that combined her love of politics with a passion for leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs.

Amy Winfield accepts from Billie Bryant Schultz

Trailblazer Award Honoree

Amy Winfield joined Suburban Seating as president in 2011 and was appointed CEO in 2012. As third generation-owner of the family business, headquartered in Lodi, New Jersey, Amy has guided the company with passion and persistence. By applying the knowledge she gained through working in all aspects of the business while growing up, combined with the experience she attained working for other organizations after earning her Bachelor’s degree, she has led Suburban Seating to achieve double-digit, year-over-year growth.

Established in 1947, Suburban Seating has a well-respected reputation as an industry leader in managing seating and safety equipment supply chains for commercial vehicle fleets nationwide. The company also serves the owner-operator market nationally and internationally, as well as federal, state, county and municipal agencies. 

Al Smith accepts one behalf of Jim Lentz from Jill Sasso

Chief Executive Officer Award

Jim Lentz oversees all business for Toyota’s North America region, including manufacturing, research and development, sales, marketing, product support and corporate resources. He also serves as operating officer for Toyota Motor Corporation.

He joined Toyota in 1982 and has held many management positions, including president and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc.; president of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing, North America Inc.; and senior managing officer for Toyota Motor Corporation. Lentz’s vision of uniting all of Toyota’s affiliates across the United States culminated in moving the company’s regional headquarters to Plano, Texas, in 2017. 

Suzy Hart accepts on behalf of Marriott International from Debra Powell

Corporate Award Honoree

Marriott International’s history of exceeding its goals is on full display this year: by the end of 2019, the Bethesda, Maryland-based lodging and hospitality company will have spent $500 million with WBEs – a goal it didn’t expect to reach until next year. 

The company’s objective is to incorporate and further develop WBEs throughout its supply chain, not only across the United States, but globally as well. This focus has led Marriott to pledge an additional $100 million spend over the next three years with WBEs worldwide, with half to be spent in developing countries such as Rwanda and Cambodia.