Winning a prestigious award like the NMSDC Regional Council of the Year doesn’t just happen, explained HMSDC President Richard Huebner. “It’s the direct result of strategic leadership and direction from our board of directors, commitment from a staff that has devoted its career to minority business development, extensive involvement in shaping and implementing our programs from hundreds of volunteers who serve on our committees and collaboration with other organizations who share our vision,” he said. “This [group effort] has resulted in an ambitious Plan of Work to drive success of our MBEs and our corporate supplier diversity programs.”
Huebner told Minority Business News that HMSDC has an important understanding of its role, a commitment to excellence and a focus on results. “Two years ago, the board raised the bar for HMSDC with a goal that HMSDC position MBEs in such a manner that business would be attracted to them because they are that good and because HMSDC said so,” he said. “That [policy] has resulted in a clearer focus and excitement around achieving a goal that really does raise the bar. Old strategies that are often clung to are assessed to see if they are producing the desired results. New, innovative programs are being developed and added to a suite of initiatives that will put MBEs on a firm track to success.”
Having a clear focus certainly plays into HMSDC’s success. By solely focusing on minority business development, HMSDC has helped its 840 MBEs fuel the economy with $28.8 billion in sales and has created 73,751 jobs, while delighting its customers and providing innovative solutions for an even stronger future. “That [focus] is what the award recognizes in my opinion,” Huebner said. “HMSDC is not just a strong organization, it is making a difference!”
The key to success is the understanding that this effort is never about HMSDC, Huebner explained. “It is about minority business development. Instead of focusing on building a strong organization, our focus is on growing strong MBEs and corporate supplier diversity programs,” he said. “With that focus, we are led to better understand the need and the opportunities to change our programming to achieve our targeted outcomes, thus reinventing ourselves to adjust to critical changes in the marketplace and prove the value and the possibilities of minority business development.”
Staying the course
As Huebner looks ahead, the key is to remember the quest to position MBEs in such a manner that business will be attracted to them because they are that good. It’s this mantra that guides the council’s 2014 initiatives.
Pathways to Excellence is a prime example of how HMSDC is continuing to move MBEs forward. It is about clearly defining what corporate decision makers need to see in an MBE — not just to be able to do business with them, but to really want to. “Pathways to Excellence will give our MBEs that specific track to follow to grow their businesses,” Huebner said.
The MBE Accelerator will assess the developmental needs of the business owner and management team, and then provide the MBE with a company growth plan and a personal growth plan linked to curriculum that is specific to its skill development needs at any given time. “The concept of the MBE Accelerator is to grow yourself, so you can grow your company,” he said.
These two new initiatives will be included in an MBE toolbox, along with the council’s CEO Academies, strategic alliance training, Supplier Idol, Consulting Services and more, to surround MBEs with the training and support to achieve long term, sustainable growth. “Our CPO Summit will ensure that best practices in supplier diversity are explored at the highest levels in our corporate members,” Huebner said. “HMSDC will ramp up our efforts in stimulating and facilitating MBE-to-MBE business. A new International Zone will be added to our EXPO 2014 to help our MBEs expand their footprints internationally.”
40th Anniversary Gala
To close out 2013, 570 gathered for a festive evening at the Bayou City Event Center to celebrate 40 years of progress in minority business development in HMSDC. The five-course dinner was interspersed with five acts from Cirque du Soleil performers and networking at its finest.
Mayor Parker issued a proclamation declaring Dec. 14, 2014, as Houston Minority Supplier Development Council Day. The HMSDC board of directors unveiled a new Richard A. Huebner Hall of Fame Award and presented it to current president Richard A. Huebner, denoting his special qualities of leadership of HMSDC over the past 28 years.
By Peter Fretty