See It to Be It : Diverse Supplier Certification (w/ Meechelle Parker)

Amy C. Waninger chats with Meechelle Parker on this entry of See It to Be It. Ms. Parker is an enthusiastic professional with years of experience in the development of diverse businesses. She understands the power of serving and connecting diverse small businesses. As the WBE & Corporate Members Services Manager for the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council, she leads training and business development programs to build sustainable Women Business Enterprises and the corporations looking to do business with them. Check the links in the show notes to connect with Meechelle and find out more about WBE!

You can connect with Meechelle on LinkedIn.

Interested in learning more about WBE? Check out their website here.

You can visit the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council website by clicking here.

TRANSCRIPT

Zach (00:00): Living Corporate is brought to you by The Break Room. Have you ever felt burnt out, depressed or otherwise exhausted by being one of the only ones that work? You know what I’m talking about. Hosted by black psychologists, psychiatrists, and PhDs, The Break Room is a live, weekly web show in the Living Corporate Network that discusses mental health, wellness, and healing for black folks at work. Name another weekly show explicitly focused on mental health, wellness, and healing for black folks at work. I’ll wait. This is why you have to check out The Break Room, airing every Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Central Standard time, on livingcorporate.tv.

Amy (00:47): Hi everybody, this is See It to Be It. The Saturday podcast from Living Corporate. Living Corporate is a digital media network that centers and amplifies black and brown people at work. My name is Amy C. Waninger and I’m the host of See It to Be It. When I was growing up in rural Southern Indiana, I didn’t know people who went to college or who worked in professional roles. I didn’t know what those jobs look like, much less, how to break into them. But this show isn’t about me. It’s about the guests. Every Saturday, I bring you career stories from everyday role models in jobs you may not know exist. More importantly, the folks I interview share their perspectives as black and brown professionals in jobs and environments, where they may be the only. My guest today is Meechelle Parker, who works with an organization that certifies small women owned businesses and helps match them to the corporate buyers. But before we get to the interview, we’re going to tap in with Tristan for some career advice.

Tristan (01:55): What’s going on Living Corporate? It’s Tristan and I want to thank you for tapping back in with me as I provide some tips and advice for professionals. In this tip, I want to discuss a few topics you should discuss during your one-on-ones. One-on-ones are a vital part of your career success, but they’re often either cast aside, wasted or used strictly to speak to your leader’s agenda. But there are topics that you should consider bringing up during your one-on-one to gather information that will help you throughout your career.

Tristan (02:23): First, you should always talk to your boss about what you’re working on and provide any status or progress updates. This helps keep your manager in the loop on where your energy is focused to ensure you are on the right path and in alignment with the department’s priorities. It also makes sure the excellent work you’re doing stays top of mind with your leadership team, which can lead to better projects, raises and even promotions.

Tristan (02:46): Next, discuss the performance goals that you set annually. You want to make sure you’re on track to meet your goals, which greatly influence raises and promotions. If you’re not on track, this allows you time to discuss how you can fix the situation. Also, throughout the year, the department or company strategies and focus may change, which means that your goal should change with them. So, this conversation can help ensure that your goals always remain relevant and attainable.

Tristan (03:13): Lastly, make sure you’re having a conversation about relevant metrics and key performance indicators to understand how your work plays into the organization’s larger goals. This is something that so many professionals miss, and it becomes very apparent during self reviews at the end of the year and when it’s time to work on their resumes, cover letters and LinkedIns. If you can’t confidently tell someone how your work impacts the organization, you aren’t diving deep enough to understand how your work relates to the bigger picture.

Tristan (03:43): The moral of the story here is that one-on-ones are not just for your boss to check in with you, but it’s also for you to update and check in with your boss. Make sure you carve out time to discuss things that are important to you and your growth. Thanks for tapping in with me today. Don’t forget I’m now taking submissions from you all on career questions, issues, concerns, or advice you think may help others. So make sure to submit yours at bit.ly/tapintristan. This tip was brought to you by Tristan of Layfield Resume Consulting. Check us out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at Layfield Resume or connect with me, Tristan Layfield, on LinkedIn.

Zach (04:24): Living Corporate is brought to you by The Leadership Range, a podcast within the Living Corporate Network. Hosted by globally certified and fortune 500 executive coach and leadership development expert Neil Edwards, The Leadership Range is focused on having real, raw, soulful and accountable conversations about inclusive leadership, allyship, professional development. Every week is a new episode with new learning and new actions to take on, to grow inclusively. Make sure you check out The Leadership Range everywhere you listen to podcasts.

Amy (04:57): My guest today is Meechelle Parker. Meechelle understands the power of serving and connecting diverse small businesses as the Women’s Business Enterprise and Corporate Member Services Manager for The Great Lakes Women’s Business Council. She leads training and business development programs to build sustainable Women Business Enterprises, or WBEs and the corporations looking to do business with us, and lead at any level. My company is a certified WBE, which I’m really proud of. She is a strong supporter of women entrepreneurs growing successful businesses. Meechelle is an entrepreneur at heart providing fitness and financial coaching through my heart enterprise. Meechelle, welcome to the show.

Meechelle (05:40): Thank you, Amy. Thank you so much.

Amy (05:44): I am really excited to talk to you. So, some of my guests I’ve met before some of them I have not. And you are somebody, our paths have crossed a few times at different women’s conference events here in the Midwest. I think the Great Lakes region of the Women’s Business Conferences, Michigan, Indiana.

Meechelle (06:05): Yes. That is it for our local region. Correct.

Amy (06:09): Okay, perfect. And so, I tend to hit more of the events in Indiana because that’s where I live. But I’m just such a fan of yours. And I didn’t realize until we set up this interview that you have your own business too. So, tell me a little bit about fitness and financial coaching with My Heart, because I want to start there.

Meechelle (06:29): Okay, well again, thanks. This is wonderful to have this time to just kind of chit chat with you, Amy. Actually it’s a new endeavor that I am doing. My Heart Enterprise is really about things that have tugged at my heart on various levels throughout my life that I decided to pursue as a coaching opportunity to coach individuals in their fitness. I became a Zumba instructor a while ago and I love fitness and keeping everyone healthy as well as financial. I became a financial coach last year actually through the Dave Ramsey Master Training Program. And so, I decided to combine these efforts because they both tug on everyone’s heart, especially during difficult times. And I’m coaching now people to help and wealth.

Amy (07:18): I think that is fabulous. And those are two things that people often neglect. They’re so focused on goals and family and those sorts of things that health and financial management kind of go by the wayside. So, I love that you’re putting a focus on both of those things.

Meechelle (07:33): Thanks. It’s a lot of fun and very rewarding.

Amy (07:36): Now, if you could somehow work balancing my checkbook into the Zumba class, I might get really excited about balancing my checkbook.

Meechelle (07:44): That’s something I have to think about.

Amy (07:46): Alright. I’m trying to figure out how that would work, but Zumba is so much fun. And so, do you do your classes online now that we’re all homebound and in a pandemic?

Meechelle (07:58): Oh yes. Actually that has been the rebirth of my Zumba is through the pandemic that we’ve been in since last April. I was just like, I have to get going. I’m not going to the gym anymore. So, I asked some friends, Hey, do you want to join me for a Zumba class virtually on zoom? And they started joining and more people started joining. So, it became a Zumba tribe online, so come and party with us with Zumba.

Amy (08:25): Okay. So, we’re going to have to get the link to that so we can post it in the show notes.

Meechelle (08:29): Awesome. Okay.

Amy (08:29): And selfishly, I want the link to that because Zumba is so much fun.

Meechelle (08:34): It is lots of fun. Surely thank you.

Amy (08:37): Of course. Now I’m betting that your personal business, the business that you own, is a Women’s Certified Business, is that correct?

Meechelle (08:49): It is not yet, because it’s so new. It’s so new and yes, it is not certified but it is in the works to be eventually.

Amy (09:01): Okay. And so, the reason I asked that question is because Meechelle works for the certifying body that actually bestows certification upon women owned businesses and women managed businesses. And so, Meechelle, can you just talk a little bit about how you got involved with the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council?

Meechelle (09:23): So, actually the story is, is rather lengthy, but I’m not going to go into all the detail, but I will share that I used to live in Illinois. That’s where I’m born and raised. And I was working for a fulfillment company and doing a variety of different things and with my life. But I always felt like there was more. I call it like a deeper calling for me. And so, I decided to see what that was about. And I ended up finding a program called Volunteers in Service to America or Vista AmeriCorp Program. And I wanted to serve somewhere. So, I found Vista and I looked online and there was a program in Detroit, Michigan, an organization called Seed, which today is called The Great Lakes Women’s Business Council. And they had a Vista position for their low program within the inner city of Detroit.

Meechelle (10:31): And so, I applied and decided to uproot my life and move to Detroit and serve in that capacity for one year. And the organization decided to keep me on because it was such a right fit. I love serving the small businesses and learning and growing. And there was other opportunities within the organization that they had. So, now 10 years later, I’ve now been working more closely with the certification program that we offer for women business owners to gain opportunities within corporate America and assisting to the development of that program. And I’ve relocated my life here to Indianapolis, Indiana in 2015 through the organization, because we needed support down in the Indiana region to support companies like Lead at Any Level in growth and development and our corporate partners that partner with us to do business with our WBEs.

Amy (11:35): So, Meechelle, can you explain your work with two different groups? You work with corporate partners, which are big companies, like Kellogg.

Meechelle (11:46): Yes.

Amy (11:46): And Ford Motor Company. And then you work with little tiny companies like mine that are maybe one or two people big or five people big, or even 150 people big and you sort of play matchmaker. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Meechelle (12:00): Sure, sure. So, corporations have programs in place called supplier diversity programs that are designed to identify the small businesses that they can help to develop and grow and do business with. It is a program that was originally developed by the federal government that said that companies doing business with them should be doing business with the small businesses. Both diverse businesses, minority businesses, women owned businesses, etc., to help level the playing field for those businesses. And so, as a result of that mandate, corporations like you mentioned, the Kellogg’s and the automotive industry up in Detroit and the comments and levies down here in Indianapolis have developed these programs to identify those certified WBEs MBEs. And they count on organizations like The Great Lakes Women’s Business Council, which I’m a part of, to actually go in to certify those companies and to verify that they are truly owned by a woman owned company.

Meechelle (13:14): And so, through that, we’ve certified them and now we’ve really confirmed that you are a woman owned company. And now we have the opportunity to provide you with the matchmaking opportunities. To connect you with the corporates through various events, matchmakers, opportunities to develop and grow the WBE company, the corporations, so much opportunity and it’s really for the WBEs. It’s a marketing tool to gain business in areas that you might not have an opportunity to get in front of somebody from Kellogg’s just knocking on the front door of Kellogg’s. But this is giving you a chance to sit at the table with those major corporations to develop and grow and hopefully produce business opportunities.

Amy (14:02): Yes. And what I love about those events is you’re literally sitting at the table with these folks and it feels like such a level playing field. It’s not intimidating. You’re not sitting there pitching. You’re having conversations, you’re looking for good mutual fit. But Great Lakes Women’s Business Council and I don’t want to take us too far off of it, but they’re not the only certifying body for women’s businesses, but it’s not just women own businesses that can get certified in this kind of a space, right?

Meechelle (14:32): Right.

Amy (14:32): For these diverse supplier initiatives. Can you talk a little bit about some of your sister organizations that certify other groups?

Meechelle (14:38): Sure. Definitely. We certify women business owners in Michigan and Indiana, and it’s actually through a national organization called The Woman Business Enterprise National Council or the acronym for WEBENC. And there are 14 regional partners throughout the nation that are certifying women business owners for the WEBENC certification. However, there are other certifications that are available to you. We work very closely and do some partnering specifically down here in Indiana, with the minority council. So, the Midstates Minority Development Council here in the Indiana region, they certify minority businesses whether you’re male or female. And so, they are taking those companies and giving them opportunities with corporate America. And there’s a variety of different other certifications as well. Veterans has a certification program. We also certify with the federal government, the woman owned small business certification. So, that’s another door opportunity within federal government contracts. States and cities have certification programs too. Designed to identify women minority owned companies for those opportunities. And so, we all really play very well in the sands you can say in supporting each other and making sure that the diverse suppliers understand the benefits of being certified and what it can provide for your companies and in your growth and development, which is very important, very key to know.

Amy (16:22): Absolutely. The interesting thing, I don’t think a lot of, the reason I’m asking these questions is I don’t think a lot of small business owners, like what I’m going to call micro business owners, solopreneurs, people who are just running their own thing, their side hustle. That may or may not be their main hustle right now. Not only do companies look for people like us, because they know that we, it’s surprising, but small businesses like ours, when we grow, we hire more people all told, than all those big companies combined, because there are so many of us.

Meechelle (17:02): Yes, exactly. And that is a key piece there, Amy. Definitely. Small business is the backbone of our nation, the economy and the growth that we’re seeing. You all are hiring the folks and the large corporations see that. And so, that’s why their purpose for having the programs are so much bigger than a good feel to do business with small businesses. But it makes sense in the community because you all are the ones that are growing.

Meechelle (17:39): You are the ones that are leading the nation. And so, they should be feeding into that. And one thing I want to also share Amy, and you might have this question down the road, but not only within these networks are you able to connect with the major corporations, but other diverse businesses, small business owners, to do business with them, to network and build. That is such a key piece that we definitely, our WBEs, take advantage of. Having the opportunity to build this network of like-minded entrepreneurs, to be able to have conversations with, to do business training development with, strategies that you can share amongst each other, to help you during different times in your business. So, that’s an important piece.

Amy (18:32): And there are also a lot of strategic alliances that happen in those conversations.

Meechelle (18:36): Yes.

Amy (18:36): There are a lot of subcontracts that happen in those conversations.

Meechelle (18:40): Exactly.

Amy (18:40): So, it really is an amazing community. And from the corporation, from the corporate partners standpoint, I want to put a really fine point on this, that this is not charity for them. This is investing in their community so that they have sustainable consumer base in their communities. Because if people are employed, they’re going to buy stuff.

Meechelle (19:02): Exactly. Exactly.

Amy (19:04): And then you add in the federal government, the state government, some of the larger municipalities, not only are they investing for economic reasons and for altruistic reasons, they actually have set asides for these businesses. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Meechelle (19:21): Exactly. Yes. But going back to that one point, Amy, that you’ve mentioned, there’s a statistic out there that 80% of the consumer decision is made by women consumers. And we also have the power to influence that other 20%. And so, those corporations, like you said, have seen that. And it’s like a strategy to have that WBE suppliers influence within their organizations. And so, definitely there are certain set asides that are available to the WBEs specifically when you are a WOSB, a woman owned small business certified and you have that. There are some set aside for those WOSBs to take a part of and to get those opportunities. So, it’s a huge opportunity for doors to open for minority women owned businesses that we want everyone to know about. And it’s not just here in Indiana, it’s across the nation. Those doors of opportunities can open up.

Amy (20:38): And it’s interesting too, because I think a lot of people, if they do know about certification, they think they have to pick one.

Meechelle (20:47): Oh, no. If you are…

Amy (20:49): Your face when I said that.

Meechelle (20:52): Oh, no, not at all. If you are a woman, you should be woman certified. If you are a minority, you should get minority certified. If you are a veteran, you want to get them all. I see some people are like, «Well, which certifications should I obtain?» Because it is a process. It’s not an easy process to get certified. We do ask for quite a number of items that you need to prepare and provide. There’s an interview process, all of that, but it is worth it at the end of the day to get each certification and it does get easier as you’re going through the process.

Amy (21:32): It does. And when I decided I was going to apply to be a WBE, a women business enterprise, I didn’t even have QuickBooks set up yet in my business. I was so new. And I remember calling a friend of mine who is a CPA and was like how do I make a profit and loss statement and I could hear her sit down the phone and sigh and come back and go, you need to hire an accountant and you need to get QuickBooks and you need to do this. And so, the certification process was not only good for me in terms of being certified. It was also good for me to kind of get my own house in order.

Meechelle (22:07): Yes.

Amy (22:08): Because I understood these are the things that companies are going to look for before they’re going to hire me.

Meechelle (22:13): Right.

Amy (22:13): They want to know that I got my books on lock. They want to know that I know what I’m selling.

Meechelle (22:18): They want to know. Yes, indeed.

Amy (22:20): And the other thing that I think people need to know is, and I’m sorry, I’m like taking over the interview with stuff I want to tell people.

Meechelle (22:26): No, that’s good. This is good.

Amy (22:29): I’m fired up about this. So, after I certified with WBENC, through The Great Lakes Council as a woman’s business enterprise, I can at the same time apply to be a WASB, which is a woman owned small business. So, it was one process, two certifications.

Meechelle (22:46): Yes.

Amy (22:46): And then I started looking at the the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce offers.

Meechelle (22:53): Yes. Yes.

Amy (22:53): It’s a big, long acronym. Are you ready for this LGBTBE, which is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Business Enterprise, which you have to apply for. But because I had my piece of paper that said I’m a certified WBE.

Meechelle (23:08): Yes.

Amy (23:09): I just got to submit that and answer a few more questions like this many more questions, not a whole big long thing.

Meechelle (23:15): Right.

Amy (23:15): And that certification process went super smooth.

Meechelle (23:19): There you go.

Amy (23:20): And the same thing happened at the state level when I certified with the department of transportation so I could do work at the airport. So, getting one is a great start, but it doesn’t have to be the end and it can make that whole rest of the process so easy.

Meechelle (23:33): So much easier, exactly. You hit it on the nail, Amy. Yes. So, start somewhere and then you’ll find that it’s easy to just get certified with all these other entities. And some organizations like WBE have a memorandum of agreement with the state of Indiana and the city of Indianapolis, where we will help support you in documentations and getting certified through other entities. It’s not all over, but there are certain entities that will help you get certified and with various groups and organizations.

Amy (24:07): So, if somebody is listening to this and they think, well, I have a really small business. How do I know if I’m even ready to go through this process? Where can somebody start? To just start educating themselves and figuring out is this something worth doing.

Meechelle (24:19): Sure. I would suggest you start with the WBENC certification, which we provide. And also with the other certifications, you want to start at their national organizations website. I always send our women business owners interested in being WBENC certified to webenc.org. And they even have a questionnaire that says is certification right for me? You can go through the questionnaire, they ask a variety of different questions. And at the end, you can decide based on what you’re looking to do within your organization. Who are you looking to grow with? Are you looking for a network? Some of our WBEs, to be honest, they’re not looking for corporate contracts. They want to do business with other WBEs. And so they get certified to be able to network and connect with other WBEs. To receive the training and development programs that we offer to women business owners. And so, there’s a variety of different reasons to be WBENC certified, but you’ve got to find if it’s going to be a right fit for you.

Amy (25:24): And that’s wbenc.org. Right?

Meechelle (25:28): Correct. That is correct. Or you can come to our website too, which is greatlakeswbc.org, which is greatlakeswbc.org.

Amy (25:44): Perfect. And if you didn’t have time to grab a pen and paper, we will put that all in the show notes, but I want to make sure we get the spelling correct. Because when you say WBENC, people don’t always know how to spell that.

Meechelle (25:53): That’s right. That is correct.

Amy (25:55): It’s shorthand for those of us who know, butwhen you’re new and you’re listening to all these acronyms, it’s like I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.

Meechelle (26:00): Alphabet soup. What is going on?

Amy (26:05): It is, and the conferences are so good and there’s just so much to be gained from this community. There’s so much learning. There’s so many relationships. And I will say there are people who, if you are not organized and task oriented and you are more of the visionary in your business and not so like brass tacks, there are people who will actually help you with the certification process. You can hire them for a very reasonable fee and they will get all of your stuff in order, and they will make sure everything is dotted and crossed and stapled appropriately and sentenced. You don’t have to do it yourself.

Meechelle (26:46): Yes. You definitely don’t have to do it yourself, on your own. And yes, we definitely have some WBEs, some others that we recommend that you speak to for assistance with that process.

Amy (26:59): Excellent. So, just in the time that we have left, I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about what about this work. Because it doesn’t sound like you’ve set out to, to kind of work in certifying women’s businesses and, and making, you know, making connections between small businesses and big companies, but once you got into the work, what surprised you about this space?

Meechelle (27:24): Well, I was surprised all around because I was new in this space and just learning about the opportunity to build these amazing connections for WBEs, for women business owners, diverse business owners. To be able to explore larger contracts has been amazing. The network and just the comradery within the organization, both on the corporate end, as well as with the women business owners, I was surprised just to see how much individuals wanted to help others to succeed.

Meechelle (28:11): And that’s truly what has really helped me along the way, because that is a heart piece of mind. Seeing others, to see their success and see them succeed on this journey that can be rather difficult as an entrepreneur, it can be very difficult and lonely at times. But when you can have support through organizations, especially during times such as we’re currently in, in the pandemic, and you can attend a virtual forum or conference and hear about a woman business owner that was struggling last year and ended up having COVID and almost losing her company and then winning a pitch competition that we offered. And just so much can happen.

Amy (29:03): Is that the wig lady?

Meechelle (29:06): Yes.

Amy (29:08): So, I was in that pitch competition and I did horribly, but…

Meechelle (29:14): No you did not. Stop.

Amy (29:15): That was my first one. I had no idea what I was doing. But what is her name? I’m sorry.

Meechelle (29:20): Kate Johnson.

Amy (29:20): She was so awesome. And to that point, I want to say, it’s not one kind of business.

Meechelle (29:30): No.

Amy (29:31): That gets certified as WBE. Because just in that pitch competition, there was a lady who owned a cupcake store who now sells cupcakes in a jar because of COVID. There’s a woman who makes and sells her own wigs. And she just got into Walmart, I believe, and a couple of other big box stores because of her WBE affiliation. There were some small consultancies and training firms like mine. There were women who do cast metal work or lubricants for big machinery, big manufacturing facilities. Like it’s every kind of business that you can imagine.

Meechelle (30:09): Yes. Yes, exactly. And that’s one thing that truly amaze me. Is all the just out the box thinking of the companies, the WBE companies, what they were doing, the products that they were providing. I just never would have thought, Oh, you can turn that into a business. Oh, that’s a business too? And when you think, it really takes you outside of the box in you’re thinking. You can have products and sell parts to GM and Ford. You can have a cupcake to sell to Kellogg’s. There’s a variety of different things that you can provide that you might already be providing. Some of your listeners might be providing that. They never thought I could be selling this to some major corporations. And now that we got their heads, there’s a wheel spinning on bigger business opportunities, which is wonderful.

Amy (31:05): Absolutely. And I want to also say that I was impressed with how inclusive the organization and the membership is. Some of the folks that are listening right now might be thinking, Oh, women’s business council that’s for a bunch of white ladies. Can you set them straight on that, Meechelle?

Meechelle (31:22): No, no, no, no. We are all inclusive. We have a really, really diverse group of women that we work with and they are phenomenal. From all backgrounds, nationalities, everything you can imagine. It’s really very much an inclusive group that really is about growth and growth for each and every one of our women that come in to the organization is our heart and our passion. And our executive director is actually the the founder of the organization 37 years ago. Michelle Richards is our executive director.

Amy (32:05): I did not know that.

Meechelle (32:06): Yes, she is really just been the heart of the organization and in driving the inclusivity within the organization. And what you see today is from the hard work that she has put on throughout these 37 plus years that we’re celebrating in 2021. So, it’s exciting.

Amy (32:28): It is exciting. So, any parting words for folks who are thinking about dipping a toe in this space or learning more. Any words of encouragement for them?

Meechelle (32:40): I would say, just believe. Believe in your company, believe in yourselves, if you have something that you’re developing believe that you can, and you will. And don’t be fearful of the big opportunities. There are folks that are here within the organization, and we’ll take you by your hand and we’ll help you to develop and grow and just step out there and believe.

Amy (33:10): Meechelle, thank you so much for your time today. I am so, so glad to have you on. You have been one of those guests that I’ve been wanting to interview forever.

Meechelle (33:22): Thank you Amy.

Amy (33:22): Because you just have so much valuable information to share. And I feel like the mission of the organization that you work for is so important to so many women. And I’m excited that we’re going to be zumbaing together very soon.

Meechelle (33:36): Yes, we will. Yes.

Amy (33:38): I’m not going to have my camera on, but I will join you.

Meechelle (33:41): No need to have the camera on, but definitely you would want to join. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of fun. And thank you, Amy, so much for the invite to be a part and to speak to your audience. It was an honor.

Amy (33:54): Absolutely. Thank you, Meechelle.

Meechelle (33:56): Thank you.

Zach (34:00): Living Corporate is brought to you by The Access Point. The reality is this is the largest influx of black and brown talent corporate America has ever had. And as a result, a variety of talent entering the workforce are first generation professionals. The other reality, most of these folks aren’t learning what it means to navigate a majority white workplace in their college classes. Enter The Access Point. A live weekly web show within The Living Corporate Network that gives black and brown college students the real talk they need and likely haven’t heard elsewhere. Every week, our hosts and special guests are dropping gems so, don’t miss out. Check out The Access Point, airing every Tuesday at 7:00 PM Central Standard on livingcorporate.tv.

Amy (34:49): Wasn’t Michelle fun? What I loved about this interview is that there’s just so much to know about the world of certification and getting your products and services purchased by big companies. It was something that I had to learn to navigate early on when I started my business. And I’m so glad I did it early because it’s really set me up for success. I encourage all of you to reach out to Meechelle or to the local certifying agency in your area. If you are a small business owner who happens to meet the standards for women owned businesses, minority owned businesses, veteran owned business, LGBTQ business enterprise. I think that’s it. I think those are the ones. There might be more or even locally in your community. If you njoyed this episode, don’t forget to subscribe to Living Corporate and share us with your friends and colleagues.

Amy (35:42): And you can really help us out by leaving a six star review wherever you get your podcasts. Now you maybe thinking there are only five stars. How can I leave a six star review, Amy? Good question. Give us all five of those stars, but then go the extra step by leaving just a couple of sentences in your own words, telling us what you loved about the show. Don’t forget to visit living-corporate.com to learn more about our other podcasts, videos, web shows, and more. This is Amy C. Waninger signing off and I hope to see you next week.

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