Bridging the Gap Committee

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Program goals:

  • Nurture the creation of legacy wealth among minority and women-owned businesses (MWBEs).
  • Communicate the business case for minority inclusion and development to the region’s larger business community.
  • Provide an acceleration program that enhances capabilities within the minority and women-owned business community to enable successful participation in partnership opportunities.

Follow the Bridging the Gap on Twitter at @BridgeGBC1.


Bridging the Gap Committee news:

At its October 1, 2015 meeting, the Bridging the Gap Committee reviewed the results of a MWBE opportunity survey which asked GBC members about their company’s supplier diversity initiative and/or program and reviewed nominations for the Bridging the Gap Achievement Awards. Committee members also discussed the impending launch of the GBC’s Bridging the Gap Academy. The academy has accepted its first class for “Continuing Your Growth,” which is scheduled to launch on Oct. 26.

At its August 20, 2015 meeting, the Bridging the Gap Committee discussed the new Bridging the Gap Academy, a business accelerator for minority and women-owned businesses which is expected to launch this fall. The academy will serve as a way for business owners to gain valuable knowledge from talented instructors who will help them start or grow their business. Additional information about the academy will be released in the coming weeks.

At the July 2, 2015 Bridging the Gap Advisory Committee meeting, Franklin Lee, partner at Tydings & Rosenberg LLP and a member of the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises, discussed how to strengthen Baltimore’s economy through economic inclusion, specifically with regards to minority and women-owned businesses. View his presentation here.

Lee also shared with the committee the “A New Day A Better Way: Rebuilding a stronger Baltimore through economic inclusion” report, released in 2013 by the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises.


The Power of Diversity – a Bridging the Gap event

Chris Simmons at GBC eventChristopher Simmons, former U.S. Chief Diversity Officer of PricewaterhouseCoopers and former Managing Partner of PwC for the Washington, D.C. region, addressed a crowd of 150 GBC members and guests at the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Bridging the Gap event on June 8, 2015.

Here are his top five tips:

A serious focus on diversity is important:

“Talent is equally distributed throughout the population,” Simmons said. “Every human being is given a brain that has great potential for something. Your breakthrough perspective may be in the brain of one of those people that you wouldn’t normally have involved in that activity.”

Judge less, assess more:

“Think about when you’re evaluating other people and you’re making assessments about their potential based on where they are,” Simmons said. “How much of that is based on you trying to justify yourself as opposed to being honest about why you are where you are, how you got there and how this other person maybe should be there with you. We have to deal with those realities. We need to judge less and assess more.”

Watch out for denial and minimalization:

“We’ve got to change our belief system about who we’re dealing with,” Simmons said. “We have to reorient some of our assessment approaches. The things we’re evaluating – potential employees – are those the things that really determine success once we get to doing it? I can tell you oftentimes it’s not the case.”

Take risks:

“We have to risk having a different dialogue with people,” Simmons said. “We have to risk talking to some people we wouldn’t normally talk to and really get to know them. We have to also give some people a little bit longer to figure some things out. Go in with a different mindset.”

Diversity can impact countless lives:

“The power of diversity is good for your bottom line,” Simmons said. “It’s good for your corporate or organizational culture, it’s great for positively impacting the lives of countless people in your community. But the real power of a focus on this: it will give you a chance to be a person that you’ll love.”

A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School, Simmons is chairman of the membership selection committee for the Executive Leadership Coun­cil, the organization for the highest ranking blacks in corporate America. He has a lifetime of experience navigating and creating diversity in the workplace and the community. Simmons’ diversity perspective is broad, as he has played a leadership role in the diversity efforts of African Americans, Asians, Latinos, GLBT individuals and women.


GBC Bridging the Gap: A minority and women-owned business enterprise newsletter

Summer 2015 issue


Resources:

County M/WBE offices:

Anne Arundel County

Baltimore City

Baltimore County

Carroll County

Harford County

Howard County

State office:

Office of Minority Business Enterprise

County/city purchasing and procurement sites: (For bid awards and notices)

Anne Arundel County

Baltimore City

Baltimore County

Carroll County

Harford County

Howard County

U.S. Commerce Department Minority Business Development Agency (national office)

U.S. Commerce Department Minority Business Development Agency (Maryland office)