CINCINNATI—Fifth Third Bank recently hosted its fifth annual Supplier Diversity summit. Themed, “Success through Synergy,” the summit focused on educating minorities and women on the best business practices and featured a pitch competition for innovative female businesses.
“Supplier diversity is critical to the success of Fifth Third Bank,” said Greg Carmichael, Fifth Third’s chairman, president and CEO. “We value the business relationships we have built and continue to nurture the diverse suppliers who bring us innovative solutions. We are proud to help foster economic inclusion in all the communities we serve.”
The Supplier Diversity Summit is hosted each year as a way to help minority-, women- and veteran-owned companies do more business with Fifth Third. It also is a way for those owners to gain insight from each other and to network with other corporate partners at the event. More than 150 people representing 75 companies from across 15 states participated.
The program featured national and local speakers, including Pamela Prince Eason, president of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, and Sheila Mixon, executive director of the Women’s Business Council Ohio River Valley; and match-making meetings at which diverse business owners learned about sourcing opportunities with 13 national and local business partners in addition to Fifth Third.
Diverse-owned suppliers benefit from Fifth Third’s small business-related investments that provide technical assistance for small business development and growth, and support the ecosystem for small business lending. Fifth Third is showing progress toward goals that represent its $32 billion Community Commitment, which includes $11.1 billion in small business lending and $8.6 billion in community development lending and investments.
Awarding more contracts to diverse businesses has been a major focus of the Bank’s Strategic Sourcing department, led by Juan Munoz, chief sourcing officer, Stephanie Smith, chief inclusion and diversity officer, and Marsha Thornton, director of supplier diversity.
“We believe that doing business with certified M/WBEs will improve the banking experience and drive bottom-line profitability for years to come,” said Thornton. “This year we hosted the match-making meetings to have a greater impact on the supplier diversity ecosystem by bringing business owners together to create a positive impact for all of us. And we hosted the pitch competition to showcase the capabilities and sales skills of emerging and diverse-owned businesses.”
During the pitch competition, which was open to female business owners whose companies focused on innovation, six woman-owned companies competed for a monetary prize to go toward costs associated with attending the 2020 WBENC national convention. The winner of the event was Anne Weigand, director of Happiness for Aunt Flow, a company that aims to provide menstrual products free of charge to all women and to encourage positive menstrual education for men and women. The company developed a free-vend menstrual product dispenser to ensure that businesses and schools can provide freely accessible, quality menstrual products at no cost to the users. Weigand says that she was excited to participate and hopes to continue to spread awareness about the company’s products.
“I am thankful for Fifth Third and the WBENC community for the continued support, guidance, and direction as we continue to grow," said Weigand.
Through the years, Fifth Third has developed many partnerships with organizations that focus on enhancing supplier diversity efforts, including the National Minority Supplier Development Council (nmsdc.org), the U.S. Small Business Administration (sba.gov), the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (va.gov) and the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (wbenc.org). In 2018, Fifth Third’s Supplier Diversity Program was recognized by Minority Business News as one of the Best of the Decade and in 2018 and 2019 by WBENC by naming the Bank one of America’s Top Corporations.
To learn more about Fifth Third’s Supplier Diversity activities, please visit: www.53.com/supplierdiversity.
About Fifth Third
Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio and the indirect parent company of Fifth Third Bank, an Ohio-chartered bank. As of June 30, 2019, Fifth Third had $169 billion in assets and operated 1,207 full-service Banking Centers and 2,551 ATMs with Fifth Third branding in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina. In total, Fifth Third provides its customers with access to approximately 53,000 fee-free ATMs across the United States. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending and Wealth & Asset Management. Fifth Third is among the largest money managers in the Midwest and, as of June 30, 2019, had $399 billion in assets under care, of which it managed $46 billion for individuals, corporations and not-for-profit organizations through its Trust and Registered Investment Advisory businesses. Investor information and press releases can be viewed at www.53.com. Fifth Third’s common stock is traded on the Nasdaq® Global Select Market under the symbol “FITB.” Fifth Third Bank was established in 1858. Deposit and Credit products are offered by Fifth Third Bank. Member FDIC.