At Motorola Solutions, diversity is advancing the lifeline.
“We don’t do cell phones” is one of the first things that Motorola Solutions, Inc. Head of Supplier Diversity Rosa Botello will tell you. Having sold Motorola Mobility (its cell phone division) in 2011, Motorola Solutions (Motorola) has continued to grow as a leader in “mission-critical communication solutions and services that help public safety and commercial customers build safer cities and thriving communities.”
Today, Motorola Solution’s 16,000-plus employees serve more than 100,000 customers in more than 100 countries around the world. Their global customers range from police officers and firefighters to utility workers and educators to sales associates at your local retail stores. Their mission is clear: advance their customer’s communications lifeline so they can be their best in the moments that matter. And one key to doing this successfully is their commitment to diversity.
“At Motorola, we are uniquely positioned where supplier diversity is a competitive advantage. Our customers across-the-board are increasing their commitment to diversity and, in parallel, we are doing the same. We want to continue to win their business, so we are proactively growing and developing our diverse and competitive supplier base to help us do this,” explains Botello. “Yes, we have contractual obligation to fulfill specific diversity spend requirements but, as corporate citizens, it is our responsibility to ensure that we are driving economic impact in the communities we serve.”
“Last year, we completed our first economic impact analysis and reported that our diverse spend helped retain and create 7,000-plus jobs and generated over $1 billion in U.S. revenue,” Botello says. “As we build communications solutions and services for our customers using diverse and local suppliers, we are, in fact, helping build safer cities and thriving communities. At Motorola, we shifted from a very myopic focus on spend and cost to one that takes into account all of our stakeholders’ priorities, from our topline to our socio-economic impact. Because of this, our strategy is centered on competitive advantage, corporate citizenship and economic impact. We strive to be a company investors want to invest in, customers want to use and communities are proud to support.”
Botello took over Motorola’s supplier diversity program at the end of 2015 and has transformed it into an industry-leading model. “My most important role is to be the champion for Motorola, our program, our customers and our suppliers. I sit at the intersection of all of it. When successful connections happen between diverse suppliers and Motorola, we’re meeting our contractual requirements, we’re impacting the topline and we’re driving economic impact,” Botello explains. “My passion and drive for this work comes from my parents. They were entrepreneurs (MBE) out of Chicago and were very successful. All they needed was the right connection to the right opportunity. Today, I play that connector role. It has definitely come full circle for me.”
While Botello encourages diverse suppliers to “take your shot,” she cautions that it’s important for them to do their homework. “Motorola’s technology must be innovative, ethical and unbiased. Our commitment to our customer is to advance their communications lifeline, so they can be their best when it counts. We want the best of the best. Diversity alone is not enough. You have to be competitive and know where our business is headed. Educate yourself and bring something to the table. We are in search of partners who are going to help us win the business. When we find those partners—and we have diverse suppliers that we’ve worked with for 20 or more years—we grow their business. Botello also serves on the board of directors of the Technology Industry Group (TIG), a non-profit organization of more than 35 tech companies like Google, Facebook, Airbnb and Apple. TIG members have a shared goal of advocating, connecting and providing equal opportunity to qualified diverse suppliers to compete to do business with these global tech giants.
Botello makes clear that Motorola’s commitment to diversity in mission-critical communications solutions is not only setting a global standard, it’s “advancing the lifeline.”
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