To appreciate why Denise Coley received the Global-Link International Award from the National Minority Supplier Development Council, one has to travel beyond the programs, initiatives and minority businesses that Cisco’s director of global supplier diversity business development and change management has coached, mentored and helped for a decade.
One must travel to Australia where generations of aboriginal people lived and worked isolated from the mainstream of a British colony that never completely accepted them. It is here where one can see the heart and power of Coley’s advocacy and efforts for transforming lives.
Denise is a true advocate and leader in the supplier diversity industry, said John T. Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco. It is clear that the work of Denise and her team in the development of diverse suppliers has benefit Cisco, as well as the company’s customers, partners and minority suppliers. “For me, it’s wonderful that we are developing and nurturing minority and diverse businesses around the world,” said Coley. Coley has blazed trails in education and corporate America for decades. For the past 13 years, she has transformed Cisco’s supplier diversity program into an international model for global corporations.
“During the 2012 NMSDC conference in Denver, the site of its pilot International Minority Business Enterprise Day, hosted by Cisco, IBM, Pfi and Cummins, I saw minority business owners from all over the world Canada, the UK, South Africa and Australia who came from thousands of miles to develop their businesses, seek opportunities and connect with federal government (U.S. and Australia), major global companies and U.S. minority businesses
For instance, Cisco’s packet nominating Coley for the Global-Link Award read, in part, Not only does her program promote the growth and use of minority businesses as Tier I suppliers, but also the growth and utilization of our minority partners who sell our products and services to our customers.
Since 2007, participants in Cisco’s diverse specialty distributor program have more than quadrupled, and sales have tripled. The DSD program helps to connect Cisco’s diverse partners to customers who want to buy Cisco’s products and services, thereby making these diverse partners Tier I suppliers to its customers. While an ordinary person might not understand what this means, Coley described her success in the simplest terms.
“I see myself as the person in the corporation that facilitates revenue generation and inclusion of diverse businesses thereby giving people a chance to provide economic vitality for themselves and their businesses,” Coley said. “These entrepreneurs are the ones who create jobs that directly benefit our communities.”
Wearing many hats
While Coley has worn many hats at Cisco, she has developed a passion for working with diverse businesses from other countries.
She was particularly valuable during the 2012 NMSDC conference in Denver, where she coordinated and co-sponsored a pre-conference event for international business delegates.
Coley currently serves on the board of directors for a number of diversity business councils, including NMSDC, Mountain Plains MSDC (formerly Rocky Mountain MSDC) and WE Connect International. Despite her busy schedule, Coley has a soft touch and the ability to make even a stranger feel special. “It is all about getting people to believe in themselves and to dream that anything is possible, that they can execute and create their own businesses,” Coley said. “Cisco started small. Apple started small. But, if you don’t have that dream or vision, you can’t execute and deliver, and you will never have that opportunity. My passion has always been to teach. No matter what I do, I always try to reach out, teach and educate. In all aspects of my life, I endeavor to touch lives and make a difference.”
And from the United States to Australia to Canada to South Africa to China to the EU and beyond, Coley continues to do just that.and their advocates, and I thought, Wow, this is a great next step to something incredible bigger than life. promoting growth Coley’s reaction to the international presence at last year’s NMSDC inaugural MBE Day hosted by Logistics Solutions, Cisco, ExxonMobil, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfi , General Motors, Telamon, Zones, Info Globe and MetaProcure and coordinated by Give and Receive in San Antonio may arguably be the same response her peers gave to her supplier diversity efforts.