and-another-thingI must admit the recent Electoral College results (only in America can candidates lose the elections with over two million votes more the victor) have many in indecisive and concerned states of mind. In conversations with people from multiple business sectors, there’s uneasy tensions not so much of what’s in store for 2017, but after for political, business and social endeavors.

I’ve likely shared, I’m not a fan of politics, yet recently I was “Trumped” as one of my supplier diversity training sessions scheduled for 2017 was postponed. I’m a believer that postponements exist only in baseball (rain-outs), so I’m 99.9% sure my session was cancelled.

According to an “inside” source the leadership of this company is now in a “wait and see” mode, so it’s not “business as usual.” For me, my cancellation is insignificant, especially when I learned a major project involving multiple parties is now “on hold (a term for pending cancellation). For those of you dependent on your company’s supplier diversity initiatives – perhaps it’s time to dust off that old resume.

Overall, I’ve always considered that the majority of corporate responsibility towards supplier diversity is soft. Without mandated directives, the interpretations for corporate initiatives for me are similar to margarine companies marketing their product as almost butter. Even with mandates, such as in California with General Order 156 the results are far from impressive. GO 156 mandates that all investor owned utilities generating annual sales of 25 million must comply to establish, maintain a formal supplier diversity program as well as adhere to attain specific diverse spending objectives. Now this is a state law, however I suggest reading The Greenlining Coalition’s annual report for these initiatives. This “watch dog” agency discloses an annual report card for each gas and electric, telecommunications, cable, water district company and/or agency with direct recommendations – yet most fail to comply and since it’s 2016, if not now, when?

The California Public Utilities Commission responsible for overseeing this program fails in their compliance adherence. There are no consequences if a company does not comply; only the occasional embarrassing moment that I equate to one being told they are wearing different colored socks. So when coupled with the pending political changes, I wonder if this component of diversity has come to a sunset?

As a teenager, I witnessed the excitement of the civil rights movement. I participated in protests for equality at local school board meetings and for farm-worker rights. My assessment many of became too complacent and “did not pass the baton.” It has been said history has a way of repeating itself, I just didn’t expect respecting diversity might fall under this category.

Again my recent business development is so insignificant, compared to those worried of their future of health care coverage, gay rights or fears of deportation. It is obvious fear is a prime motivator for taking action; perhaps it’s time for a reawakening. We’ve come too far to accept anything but fairness and opportunity for all.

Keep hope alive…


Al "Skip" Solorzano
SKIP is a recognized expert in the field of diversity with keen ability to build strategic alliances, and successfully expand supplier diversity initiatives. He has consulted with multiple client sectors including pharmaceutical, insurance, manufacturing, health care, telecommunications, utilities nonprofit organizations, business entities and employee groups. As a facilitator and learning consultant presents unique perspectives to develop solutions; and promote qualities to successfully work with others through diversity, team-building and leadership development. Solorzano has been featured as a presenter at conferences sponsored by such entities as: AT&T, The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Social Security Administration. A former Governor appointee and member of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials; Solorzano has been recognized by United Way as Most Influential Hispanics of the Bay Area; and a recipient of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Corporate Advocate of the Year award. Skip’s career endeavors as a corporate liaison, community leader and entrepreneur, provides the unique insight to write on an array of subject matter from learning processes; diversity; with a shared humorous perspective of life.

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