Last week, Fifth Third Bank hosted its sixth Supplier Diversity Summit, providing an opportunity for suppliers to explore best practices and connect with Fifth Third representatives and other corporate and community partners.
The summit, the first since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, gathered more than 150 individuals representing 75 companies from 15 states, connecting the supplier diversity ecosystems to strategic business opportunities, increasing first and second tier spending for corporations attending.
“Our actions, not just our words, continue to reflect our commitment to equality, equity and inclusion, and inspiring positive change for our suppliers,” Tim Spence, president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank, said. “We are proud to reengage diverse business owners and create a platform through this summit that showcases new approaches to doing business and highlights the resources suppliers need to successfully compete in the marketplace.”
Awarding more contracts to diverse businesses has been a major focus of the bank.
“We believe that doing business with certified M/WBEs is the right thing to do. It benefits all, improving the vibrancy of our communities and the banking experience for our customers for years to come,” Stephanie Smith, chief inclusion and diversity officer at Fifth Third Bank, said. “In addition to the services we receive, this mutual partnership enables us to provide continued support, guidance and direction to these businesses.”
The program featured remarks from Spence, Smith and Kala Gibson, corporate responsibility officer at Fifth Third Bank. In addition, business owners with existing business relationships with Fifth Third Bank shared their experiences and provided insight on how to navigate earning contracts.
Alysia Lee of VMG Studios, a minority/women-owned business enterprise (M/WBE) with a contract with Fifth Third Bank to provide video production for its youth financial literacy program, Young Bankers Club, spoke during the event about attending a previous summit, connecting with some Fifth Third Bank representatives and sharing her audio-visual company’s capabilities. She subsequently won a future contract. She also shared that her company came to Fifth Third with challenges during the project and that the parties worked together to come up with a solution.
Aftab Pureval, mayor of Cincinnati, who attended the summit, spoke about the city of Cincinnati’s supplier diversity initiatives and applauded the bank for its efforts.
“It takes public-private partnership to truly make a difference in this space,” Pureval said. “Under my leadership, we will work directly with companies like Fifth Third Bank to ensure best-in-case procurement practices.”