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One Houston Together: Member Spotlight on JPMorgan Chase's $30B Commitment to Racial Equity

Published May 09, 2022 by A.J. Mistretta

dei roundtable

As part of its ongoing effort to showcase success in supplier diversity, the Partnership’s One Houston Together initiative hosted its latest roundtable discussion in late April featuring a case study with financial services firm JPMorgan Chase & Co. 

Supplier diversity is one of the two priorities of One Houston Together alongside talent advancement and board representation. The roundtable discussions are designed to showcase Partnership members that are leading change and to share best practices. 

In 2020, JPMorgan Chase committed $30 billion over a five-year period to advance racial equity. The firm said at the time that it would harness its expertise in business, policy and philanthropy to address the key drivers of the racial wealth divide, reduce systemic racism against Black and Latinx people, and support employees. Part of the bank’s commitment includes $750 million in additional spending with Black and Latinx suppliers. 

JPMorgan partners with its sourcing managers and business units to ensure supplier diversity throughout the sourcing process. Qualified and certified minority business enterprises (MBEs) are identified from the bank’s diverse supplier registration portal and external supplier databases to source vendors that can meet business needs. 

JPMorgan Chase supplier diversity strategy

Jim Flynn, Executive Director of Global Supplier Diversity at JPMorgan, joined the roundtable and discussed the bank’s diverse supplier program and how it’s grown in recent years. Since 2015, JPMorgan has spent $11 billion with diverse suppliers. 

In 2020, the bank examined how they could become more activist and intentional in their approach while leveraging their own supply chain to expand the reach to more MBEs. Today, he said, the company is much more focused on business development and a holistic supply chain centered approach. 

“The old model was meeting companies where they are,” Flynn said. “Our new approach goes beyond that to how do we increase overall inclusivity by working with our suppliers and helping them develop a program with specific standards.” 

JPMorgan’s robust Tier 2 Program, aimed at encouraging its direct or prime vendors to use MBEs, puts those prime vendors into three categories: nascent, emerging and mature. The bank works with its suppliers in each category to help them develop an effective supplier diversity program of their own. The company also requests its suppliers to report their diverse supplier spend on a quarterly basis.

“We’re asking our primes to be interested in what we’re doing and to be engaged,” Flynn said. “We’re sharing our success stories with MBEs with them because sometimes the MBEs core competencies may be best suited to one of our suppliers. So we’ve gotten better at showcasing the MBEs to the group.” 

Through their city strategy/focus, “We have an opportunity in Houston to leverage the power of partnership to do this work,” Flynn said. 

Flynn said when it comes to MBE supplier success, JPMorgan is focused on finding, protecting and propelling effective MBEs in their network. 

Learn more about One Houston Together and the Equity & Inclusion Assessment. 

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As part of its ongoing effort to showcase success in the retention and advancement of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color talent, the Partnership’s One Houston Together hosted its latest roundtable discussion in July featuring a conversation with Tiffany Douglas, Global Women’s Initiative and Under-represented Talent Strategy Executive with Bank of America.   Increasing racial equity in the corporate talent pipeline and board leadership is one of the two priorities of One Houston Together alongside increasing spending with Minority Business Enterprises. The roundtable discussions are designed to share best practices and showcase Partnership members that are leading change.  Here are several key takeaways from the conversation with Tiffany Douglas at Bank of America.  Douglas’ team works with internal and external partners to help drive advocacy for women and underrepresented talent. Bank of America has an intentional strategy to ensure diverse voices and talent are at the table for more responsible growth. The goal: reflect the communities and clients the bank serves.  Douglas emphasized that it takes intentional practice to create change and improve outcomes. She shared that it’s not a question about if we do this but how the bank does it. This charge is supported by the board of directors, CEO, management team, Global Diversity & Inclusion Council, Executive Councils, Market Presidents in 92 markets, and all employee networks. The bank seeks to drive inclusion “everywhere” not just in go to market products. While approximately 40 professionals across an organization with roughly 200,000 employees are working in D&I through various lines of business and the bank’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Council, Bank of America’s philosophy is that everyone is part of driving inclusion.  Bank of America uses a number of tools to assist with connecting and empowering employees across the organization including on demand online learning, virtual sessions, and mindfulness apps. The bank consistently asks for feedback to learn how and if the tools are working and to incorporate colleagues’ perspective. Another tool is the bank’s Connections page, which serves as a sort of internal social media network. Employees can fill out a profile describing their work as well as out-of-office interests, volunteer activities etc. Douglas said this helps people connect with one another on a personal level. Bank of America also provides D&I Bootcamps and Inclusive Learning opportunities for employees.  The organization hosts what it calls Let’s Get Real Conversations, virtual chat sessions that allow employees to discuss topics ranging from LGBTQ pride to women’s leadership. In 2021, the bank held 350 such conversations with thousands of views that were recorded, allowing team members that could not participate live to go back and watch later. Douglas said it’s important that such initiatives meet employees where they are, allowing them to engage when it’s convenient.  Bank of America supports mentorship both across the organization and through various lines of business and encourages colleagues to earn and ask for sponsorship relationships. Knowing the skills and aspirations of current employees gives leadership greater ability to recommend individuals for the right opportunities, whether in their current line of business or elsewhere in the company. “The more we know our talent and can understand not just what they do but who they are an what their aspirations are, the better we can move people and recommend them for opportunities. It’s not just about recruiting new talent, we have to retain the talent we already have,” she said.  Douglas said one challenge is that job titles don’t often adequately describe what a person actually does. Through mentorship and other programs, employees are encouraged to talk about what they actually do and how they do it, which in turn leads to better targeted opportunities.  When it comes to the leading factors helping advance underrepresented talent, Douglas said it’s about starting at the top and measuring and inspecting progress.  Learn more about One Houston Together and read about other case studies. 
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7/21/22
The first installment of the Partnership’s new One Houston Together webinar series focused on Opportunities in Supplier Diversity, offering insight from a new report on the impact of minority businesses in the region and perspective from a local energy company that’s launched a successful supplier diversity program.  LaTanya Flix, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Partnership, moderated the discussion and gave an overview of the structure and key objectives of One Houston Together as well as the definition of supplier diversity and its significance to our region. Ziba Mehra, Director of Purchasing, Calpine shared a corporate perspective on establishing a robust supplier diversity program.  Ingrid Robinson, President, Houston Minority Supplier Development Council (HMSDC) discussed trends and  MBE growth in the Houston region.   Roel Martinez, Vice President Research at the Partnership shared findings from the recently released Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Economic Impact Analysis, produced in collaboration with HMSDC.   Here are a few key takeaways from the conversation:  Growing spending with minority business enterprises is one of two priority areas of One Houston Together. Flix shared that the supplier diversity workstream includes a Supplier Diversity Roundtable that meets 4-5 times a year, as well as a newly established Houston Buyer Cohort and a Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) Convening. “We have one big goal: to help make Houston one of the most equitable and inclusive business communities in the country,” Flix said.  Martinez highlighted key findings of the recently published Houston MBE Economic Impact Analysis. MBEs are defined as businesses that are at least 51% owned, managed or controlled by Black, Hispanic, Asian Indian, Asian Pacific or Native American individuals. The report found that:  771 certified MBEs are operating in metro Houston across 18 different sectors, with the largest number in professional services.  The vast majority of these companies are operating in the business-to-business arena and nearly half have revenues of $1 million or more annually.  Collectively these companies reported revenues totaling $8.2 billion in 2020.  Correlations between revenue and employee counts and industry sector, race and revenue. While the report focused on data from 2020, Robinson said HMSDC is seeing significant growth in the number of certified MBEs, which totaled 850 companies at the end of last year. And while most of the newly launched businesses are in the professional services sector, there’s also growing diversity in the sectors represented, Robinson said. “I definitely see more growth happening this year as well, including more interest in places like energy transition where there’s a lot of excitement.”  Robinson said the largest opportunity for growth is in what’s called the middle market or secondary supplier space where prime suppliers working with large corporations can develop partnerships with growing MBEs. “We have aggressive near and long-term goals,” she said, adding that Houston is well positioned thanks to its diversity and robust business community to set the standard for the nation.  Robinson reminded the audience that while many MBEs are small businesses, that doesn’t mean they lack capacity or are unable to meet the demands of major purchasers. Capacity is often among the leading concerns of companies beginning a supplier diversity effort. “It’s one of the mind shifts we have to make,” said Robinson.  HMSDC recently launched a new tool designed to help area companies find qualified MBEs for their purchasing needs. The Diverse Business Finder website allows companies to search for suppliers by category, location, keyword and more.  Mehra with Calpine discussed the energy company’s effort that launched in 2020 to significantly increase spending with minority businesses. With buy-in from senior leadership and a structured approach to developing metrics and goals tied to the program, Calpine’s supplier diversity efforts resulted in several award nominations. “Running a successful supplier diversity program requires a strong commitment and dedicated resources,” she said. “Engagement and communication are definite keys to success.”    Learn more about the work of One Houston Together.   
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