Treasury makes BIG difference in supplier diversity by going SMALL
“Not many big businesses take the time to get to know their smaller suppliers, come see our facilities, see that we’re for real, then give us the opportunity to prove that we’re great at what we do. National Grid did and it made all the difference.”
Maria Ramirez is president and CEO of MFR (Maria Fiorini Ramirez), Inc., an independent global economic and financial consulting firm in NYC. And her firm is one of two women- and minority-owned businesses that recently participated in our Treasury Department’s $1 billion bond offering.
Charles DeRosa, VP US Treasury, and his predecessor (now VP, US Financial Controller) Chris McConnachie, are personally and professionally passionate about supplier diversity. So much so that Treasury recently broke a typical pattern of dealing solely with the biggest banks to finance large debt offerings. Instead, Charles and staff sought out smaller, local vendors in NYC to sell bonds to and have them sell to their smaller investors in our local communities … customers who might not otherwise have the opportunity to purchase our bonds. And they plan to continue along that path in the future.
“I like to understand who we’re doing business with and what value sets they bring,” says Charles, shown in the photo above with Supplier Diversity and Sustainability Analyst Fleur Callender. “And the company’s commitment to supplier diversity is right in line with my personal values, and Chris’s.”
Charles explains that while smaller, diverse businesses may not have balance sheets as big as giant financial institutions, they’re driven to provide us and our customers with quality service … and pricing that can match their bigger competitors.
“They bring new insights and perspectives,” claims Charles. “They also mirror our diverse customer base, and can give us greater access and exposure in our local neighborhoods.”
Chris – who Charles credits with making sure Treasury followed through on this critical initiative he began – points out that, “Nobody’s getting a free lunch here. These smaller suppliers have to be good. They have to add value. It’s not about ticking a box or playing a numbers game. It’s about giving the right people the right access to opportunities in a non-discriminatory way. It’s the right way – and the smart way – to do business.”
Chris was convinced of the value of using diverse suppliers in Treasury after seeing a presentation from our Global Director of Supplier Diversity and Sustainability Carla Hunter Ramsey. Says Carla:
“The leadership in US Treasury continues to demonstrate its commitment to unlock the value that small, minority- and women-owned businesses bring to this market. National Grid is being viewed as a change agent in supplier diversity because Treasury saw our messages about how critical supplier diversity is for our customers, the firms we support and our business. They took the ball and ran with it. And, they’ve become a real role model for other businesses across the company.”
Fleur Callender, lead support for US Treasury, has been instrumental in promoting the stakeholder engagement between the Supplier Diversity & Sustainability Team and US Treasury. She says, “Charles’ commitment to follow through on Chris’ vision has made this a true success story, and created a real hero for our small business partners.”
One of these partners is Loop Capital. Loop is a full-service investment bank, brokerage and advisory firm … and another diverse supplier in our recent debt deal.
“It’s so clear how committed National Grid is to supplier diversity,” says Ani Tchaghlasian, an SVP at Loop. “It took courage for National Grid’s Treasury team to give an organization like us a real opportunity to perform and shine. It’s a big culture shift they’re making and I’m a huge fan!”
Moving forward, Treasury is looking to add to its diverse supplier roster with future deals – now that they’ve seen what a big difference a small supplier can make, for our business and theirs.