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Supplier diversity leaders headline speakers at NMSDC conference

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NEW YORK – The National Minority Supplier Development Council announced Oct. 13 the headline speakers for its 2008 Annual Conference and Business Opportunity Fair in Las Vegas. The four-day event will take place at the Las Vegas Convention Center beginning Oct. 26, with more than 7,000 people expected to attend. The theme of the conference is “Minority Businesses and Corporations: Playing to Win.”

“Our roster of speakers represents a broad cross-section of industries, and we are pleased to have them join us to offer their insights and perspective on minority supplier development,” said NMSDC President Harriet R. Michel. “The business arena is global, and minority business owners continue to grow more competitive in the global marketplace. This year’s speakers will share their experience and proven strategies to help them succeed. ”

The conference program opens Oct. 27 with a Power Breakfast featuring Craig B. Clayton Sr., director and diversity strategist at the International Institute for Diversity and Cross-Cultural Management at the University of Houston’s C.T. Bauer College of Business. He is also the founder of the Greater Houston Diversity Coalition and the Center for Diversity and Cultural Competency.

The one-day Business Opportunity Fair follows the Power Breakfast. After a short ribbon-cutting ceremony, the doors open to the exhibit hall featuring more than 860 booths – the perfect venue for a day of deal-making with Asian, black, Hispanic and Native businesses. The conference program resumes with Monica C. Lozano as the featured luncheon speaker. She is the publisher and CEO of La Opinión, the nation’s largest Spanish-language
daily newspaper.

On Oct. 28, Peter Berezin, vice president and global economist at Goldman Sachs, is the speaker at the International Power Breakfast. He is an expert on global macroeconomic trends, emerging market prospects and equity market developments.

Constance Mitchell-Ford, real estate bureau chief at The Wall Street Journal, will moderate a plenary session titled “Real World Supply Chain Management.” Session speakers John Campi, executive vice president of procurement at Chrysler LLC; Paul Novak, CEO of the Institute for Supply Management; and Quentin L. Roach, senior vice president and chief procurement officer at Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., will discuss how buying organizations work closely with their suppliers as they evolve into efficient supply webs of intricately linked companies.

Linda Johnson Rice is the featured speaker at the luncheon. She is the president and CEO of Johnson Publishing Co., the world’s No. 1 black publishing company.

Oct. 29 opens with a Power Breakfast featuring Shahid Khan, president of Flex-N-Gate Corp., a leading global auto parts manufacturer with more than 48 manufacturing plants in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Spain and the U.S. Terry J. Lundgren, chairman of NMSDC and chairman, president and CEO of Macy’s Inc., will moderate a plenary session titled “The View from the Top: The Future of Minority Business Development.” Featured speakers are Terrence Lanni, chairman and CEO of MGM Mirage, and Jeffrey W. Shaw, CEO of Southwest Gas Corp. They will discuss global business trends and how minority businesses add value for corporate America.

Sergio Sotolongo, founder, chairman and CEO of Student Funding Group LLC, is the featured speaker at the Oct. 29 Business Consortium Fund Luncheon. The firm is a full-service student loan origination company and the first such minority business enterprise.

The Business Consortium Fund Inc. is a minority business development company created by NMSDC to provide contract financing to NMSDC-certified minority businesses through a network of local participating banks and NMSDC affiliates.

The conference also includes 28 workshops covering such topics as “How Minority Supplier Development Fits into the Strategic Planning Process,” “International Growth and Competitiveness,” “More Value From Supply-Chain Planning” and “Going Green: Factoring in the Corporate Goal.”

Panelists represent more than 55 corporations such as AT&T, BP Amoco PLC, Bank of America, Boeing Co., Chevron, Chrysler LLC, Cisco Systems, Coca-Cola, ConocoPhillips, Dell, Exxon Mobil, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., Home Depot, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Foods, Kroger, PepsiCo, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Raytheon, Shell, Sprint Nextel, Toyota, UPS, Verizon and Wal-Mart.

The conference is co-hosted by the Nevada Minority Business Council, one of NMSDC’s 39 local affiliates around the country. For additional information on the conference or minority business development, call the National Minority Supplier Development Council at (212) 944-2430 or visit www.nmsdc.org.