Creating Change Through Connected Intelligence
CDW issues real-time call to action for equality with Kristin Malek
The business case for supplier diversity is old news, having been the topic of multiple conference panels and hundreds of blogs and magazine articles. CDW understands this so much so that they’ve created one of the most successful models in the nation—a model that few know anything about.
Consider a multi-billion-dollar corporation that not only procures for their clients, but also develops diverse small businesses to fill roles as prime suppliers to those same clients. Consider a corporation that builds Tier 2 programs for their client base. Consider a corporation more interested in impacting communities than talking about their $1.9 billion diverse spend. Consider CDW.
An employer of over 8,700 professionals, CDW provides technology products and services for corporate enterprise, higher education and K-12, healthcare and federal, state and local governments. Headquartered in Lincolnshire, Illinois, the company has a product portfolio that includes more than 100,000 products from more than 1,000 brands. Their on-demand supplier diversity program includes approximately 1,100 diverse suppliers. CDW sources about 60 percent of their suppliers, while 40 percent are requested by clients. Regardless of the source, all suppliers go through CDW’s onboarding process and receive one-on-one training. Each is also set up with CDW’s legal team, contract proposal writers, negotiators and more.
CDW’s 11-year supplier diversity program, with $1.9 billion in diverse spend, is under-recognized and under-valued. When asked if CDW is a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, CDW Head of Supplier Diversity Kristin Malek says, “We are making application to the organization a priority for 2019.”
It is important for Malek that the data not be silent, that it tells the story. “Diverse suppliers have been underrepresented for decades. CDW is using its connected intelligence to create change as a real-time call to action for equality.”
Malek is passionate about CDW’s program. “Our program isn’t just a strategy or a ‘nice thing to have.’ It’s a must-compete. For us to succeed as a large, global entity, we must respect the profile of our diverse suppliers. Last year, we created 8,000 jobs with 20 percent of them in diverse communities, and that’s been replicated year after year. But for us, that’s just business every day.”
For Malek, it’s not just business every day; it is the way she lives. She’s not only the architect of the program, she drives it.
Prior to joining CDW, Malek was the Director of Field Projects for a Fortune 200 company, where she was responsible for establishing and executing the organization’s diversity objectives, initiatives, and strategies, as well as focusing on the company’s optimization and localization initiatives. Her more than 16 years of senior leadership experience makes Malek a subject matter expert on diversity growth and development.
Most recently, Malek served as the chief operating officer for a national not-for- profit, where she created and led the vision and strategy for the organization in partnership with the national board of directors and other senior leaders. In this role, Malek placed a large focus on identifying, on-boarding and managing strategic partnerships of all kinds.
Nine years ago, Malek gave birth to a daughter with Down’s Syndrome; her daughter, Kaitlin, changed her life, her passion and strengthened her resolve to assist marginalized groups. When she joined CDW 18 months ago, her professional and personal roads merged, creating the passion with which Malek approaches CDW’s supplier diversity program every day.
She said, “It’s more than a passion, it’s a must. There’s a lot on the line.”