For many WBEs, corporations can appear to be an ambiguous question mark. How does one get a corporate contract? What is the best way to connect? Sometimes, companies might hesitate approaching corporations with these questions, in fear it will lessen their chances for connection. So, in a WBEC Pacific blog first, we got the chance to sit down with Julia Arnold, Supplier Diversity Program Manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE); to gather their thoughts on how WBEs can maximize their time with corporations like HPE, and how HPE is stepping up to support, partner with, and employ women in business.
Tell us about you and your role at HPE?
I live in the Sacramento California area, love our region and exploring the outdoors from the mountains to the coast. As the Supplier Diversity Program Manager for HPE I am focused on commercial inclusion and supplier outreach under the Inclusion and Diversity team.
What are HPE’s main goals with regards to supplier diversity in the future?
We are focused on optimizing value and achieving outstanding service with our diverse suppliers. Future strategy involves fostering greater collaboration across the company to increase visibility and networking for our diverse firms, from being a Value Added Reseller to subcontracting opportunities.
How does HPE support women owned businesses?
HPE celebrates and encourages women in technology with internal and external recognition. HPE sponsors a variety of programs and partnerships from Grace Hoper to PBWC.
From your perspective, what are the top 3 challenges that will impact WBEs in the future?
1. Continuing to break down barriers in the C-suite after the #metoo movement. Business evolves faster than culture so staying relevant, respected, and authentic in your company’s approach to management and growth is necessary.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) regarding how to offer real connection with your customers while balancing the convenience of automation. AI may have opportunities and threats for you to explore depending on your market.
3. Raising capital/limited funding opportunities. Do venture capital firms reflect the diversity of the US consumer base? We could greatly benefit from having more women and minorities in these firms.
What advice would you give to WBEs trying to obtain corporate contracts?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions to ensure the most aligned and competitive RFP submission. Listen closely to the needs of the stakeholders/procurement organization before offering solutions.
What are some networking tips for WBEs when it comes to talking to corporations like HPE?
Be ready to tell your unique company story and clearly define how and why you are better and differentiated from your competitors. To help potential clients remember your company, try to find something unique to connect with (favorite vacation spot, hobby, school alumni).
What are 2-3 things you would like WBEs to know more about HPE?
1. We may be a new company but we inherited a longstanding history in Supplier Diversity, going back to HP’s founders establishing a small business program in 1958.
2. “All companies are technology companies now.” Thomson Reuters
3. For publically traded companies in the Bay Area, HPE has one of the highest percentages of women serving on a Board of Directors. HPE has five women establishing 42% representation!
Do you have any additional comments?
Register here if you are interested in being considered for our HPE diverse prospective supplier list: https://h20168.www2.hpe.com/supplierextranet/sdr/main.do