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UPMC Holds Supplier Networking Event to Help Diverse Partners Grow Business

PITTSBURGH, March 17, 2014 – Delivering on its promise to push for increased opportunities for minority businesses in Pittsburgh, UPMC is inviting suppliers in its Diversity Program to a first-of-its-kind “Collaboration for Growth” networking event on March 20. With more than 100 corporate and government leaders from across the region expected to attend, suppliers will have the opportunity to directly pitch their products and services to potential customers who are committed to increasing diversity among their vendor partners. 
 
“Our goal is to provide visibility and access to potential business opportunities to the more than 400 minority, women-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises (MWDBE) that do business with UPMC,” said Robert DeMichiei, senior vice president and chief financial officer at UPMC. “We want to help grow these reliable partners so that they can continue to add much-needed jobs in our communities while ensuring their own long-term success.”
 
Over the past eight years, under the leadership of Supplier Relations Director Toni Y. Silva, UPMC has increased its spending with MWDBE suppliers by 41 percent, to $107 million last year. That’s about 8 percent of UPMC’s spending that can potentially be sourced to multiple vendors.
 
At the inaugural Corporate Equity and Inclusion Roundtable in May 2013, led by Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive, and Tim Stevens, president of the Black Political Empowerment Project, UPMC joined other community and corporate leaders to announce an initiative to increase economic opportunities for minorities in the region. Mr. DeMichiei at that time pledged to share the health system’s list of suppliers with other companies. “We are taking that pledge one step further by personally introducing our diverse suppliers to other companies in the region,” he added. “We hope that others will follow our lead, enabling MWDBE suppliers to thrive in the long term by growing and diversifying their local customer bases.” 
 
Added Mr. Stevens, “UPMC is taking an important leadership role in trying to address the significant economic disparity facing the African-American community and other people of color in Pittsburgh. This event—hopefully followed by others like it—can help to change the culture within companies and foster the diversity and inclusion that is necessary for the economic revitalization of this region for decades to come.” 
 
Dennis Yablonsky, chief executive officer of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, also applauded UPMC’s effort and noted that the Conference has made it a strategic priority to help those “left behind” by the region’s economic transformation. “The UPMC supplier diversity event offers a rare opportunity to get to know a number of businesses that have demonstrated an ability to deliver quality goods and services to one of our region’s premier organizations.”
 
Suppliers at UPMC’s networking event provide everything from construction services to hospital beds to technology services. The event, which will include comments from Mr. Fitzgerald, will take place from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Double Tree Hotel in Pittsburgh and will feature Lynne Hayes-Freeland of KDKA-TV as emcee.  Media representatives planning to attend should contact Wendy Zellner at ZellnerWL@UPMC.edu.

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