By Kelly Mills and Angie Joehnk, BBS Purchases
As part of our Supplier Diversity strategy to create transformational value in our business and community, we are proud to have partnered with the ORV-WBC (Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Council) in October 2014 to create the P&G / ORV Women’s Business Development Program (ORV-BDP). Our goal was simple: drive community impact with women by developing business acumen within local suppliers who are not P&G incumbents. By leveraging our unique skills and experiences to coach women business owners, we knew we could help them become more sustainable, viable, and profitable.
Our classroom structure focused on different aspects of business, including strategy, budgeting, and branding. The program is powered by Calyx, the Women’s Purchases Manager network within P&G North America. Calyx leaders donated their time and expertise to lead many of the educational sessions in the series.
After 4 years of ORV-BDP, which have sailed by, we consider ourselves truly fortunate to be a part of such a meaningful program. It has changed the lives and businesses of over 30 WBEs with P&G alone, and even more with other corporations who have chosen to partner with ORV. It has fueled businesses, created connections, and created friends.
We always get questions like, “how does this program create value for P&G?” We explain the ORV-BDP helps to bring our inside out, and the outside in. We’re aiming to create an ecosystem, where partners are partnering with each other and our impact is not just the walls of P&G, but amplifying synergies and leadership in the community.
At P&G, we are constantly striving to evolve the program and take it to the next level, aiming to make this the best possible educational experience for each WBE. In year two, we created and incorporated a “Meet the Buyer” session in which P&G Buyers take time from their day to join the program, answer WBE questions, give feedback on their elevator pitches, and share the really reallys of a corporate buyer’s perspective. This session has become a favorite and one of the most valuable additions to the program.
“I feel like I am a business leader now. I feel like I just got my MBA.” – Maria White, Inclusity
“I leave the class feeling like I am a rock star. I feel like I know so much more with so much more confidence now. Every time I come here I learn something.” – Beth Reynolds, Lemak Lubricants
Hearing follow-up stories about how the WBEs still collaborate with each other long after class has ended, bounce business questions off one another, and just remained close friends with each other… is an amazing feeling. ORV-BDP has been such a success each year both internally and externally, and are honored to share this educational, fun, and wonderful experience with each of these incredible women. We officially welcomed the newest class of graduates to the ORV-BDP family in April 2018 and look forward to our next class of WBEs joining us in July.
The April 2018 P&G team and ORV-BDP graduates, left to right: