Leading information technology provider joins esteemed Billion Dollar Roundtable.
CDW Corporation, a leading international provider of multibrand information technology products and services, has been inducted into the Billion Dollar Roundtable (BDR). The Vernon Hills, Illinois-based firm now ranks among 29 major corporations, including tech industry leaders Apple, Dell, IBM and Microsoft, as one of the country’s top supporters of diverse suppliers.
For each of the last two years, CDW has procured more than $1 billion from about 400 small, diverse vendor suppliers. In 2019, women-owned businesses represented $700 million of that spend. Overall, the company works with more than 1,000 leading and emerging suppliers who provide CDW customers with more than 100,000 products and services.
To be eligible for BDR membership, a corporation or for-profit business must source at least $1 billion annually on a Tier 1 basis with certified minority and women-owned businesses, as well as disadvantaged, veteran and LGBT firms. Members must have a Tier 2 diverse supplier program, as well as a formal supplier diversity program.
“Being accepted into BDR is a win for CDW and all our diverse suppliers,” says Kristin Malek, senior manager of supplier diversity. “We invest a lot of time building partnerships with our suppliers and in working side-by-side with them to serve our customers. It’s a team effort that starts with our CEO, Christine Leahy, and our executive team. From the top down, we’re all in and we’re all in together.”
Leahy, named CEO in 2019, has held numerous roles at CDW, most recently serving as chief revenue officer, where she was responsible for all customer-facing units of the company including its corporate, public, small business, international and integrated technology solutions organizations. Fortune magazine named her among its Most Powerful Women in Business 2019.
“We’re thrilled to welcome CDW into the Billion Dollar Roundtable because it means that Corporate America still has a spotlight on supplier diversity,” says Sharon Patterson, BDR president and CEO. “The coronavirus pandemic has shown us that small businesses are important and diverse businesses even more so because they touch communities in ways that corporations can’t. That’s why the CEO’s commitment to diverse suppliers is so important. It’s what drives exceptional companies like CDW to involve diverse suppliers in the entire procurement process and identify business opportunities for them throughout the organization.”
For CDW, it’s not only the size of its diverse purchasing that counts, it’s the size of the footprint it creates. That footprint has increased exponentially since 2007, when CDW launched its supplier diversity program with $395 million in minority procurement.
“A diverse supplier base enables us to contribute to the economic well-being of all segments of the U.S. population,” says David Hutchins, vice president, CDW strategic programs, and founder of the company’s supplier diversity program. Last year, the Fortune 500 company’s diverse spend created more than 12,000 diverse and small business jobs, up from the estimated 10,400 jobs it created in 2018.
Adds Malek, “In the supply chain, it’s the trickle-down economic effect that matters because, without money, it’s hard to feed dreams.” For Malek, whose daughter has Down syndrome, those dreams have become personal. “When we think about diversity and inclusion, we focus on gender, equality and race. While there’s so much more work to do on those issues, we can’t ever forget about the most underrepresented community of all, the disabled. This community is rarely discussed. We have to change that.” Malek has made it her mission to change perceptions about disability-owned businesses and push corporations to more fully engage with them.
CDW has deep and growing relationships with disability-owned firms, but the mutual benefits are more than just financial. “The businesses we include in the supply chains that we create for our customers reflect on all of us,” Malek states. “Contracting with suppliers within the disability community creates a larger ripple effect in terms of awareness, accountability and acknowledgement.” The same can be said of CDW’s broad commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Forty-five percent of CDW’s corporate board is diverse and 62% of its executive committee is composed of women or persons of color. That commitment has not gone unnoticed. In this year’s rankings, Forbes magazine named it one of America’s Best Employers for Diversity 2020 and U.S. Veterans Magazine named CDW’s supplier diversity program as one of the “Best of the Best.”
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