Fifth Third Bank Hosts Seventh Annual Supplier Diversity Summit

CINCINNATI—Fifth Third Bank today hosted its seventh annual Supplier Diversity Summit. With a theme of "Collaboration + Innovation = Growth," the summit focused on helping diverse-owned businesses position themselves for growth and discover ways to expand business opportunities with larger corporations.

"Having an inclusive and diverse business ecosystem is a strategic imperative for Fifth Third to help bring more jobs and investment to our communities," said Kala Gibson, executive vice president and chief corporate responsibility officer for Fifth Third. "Our supplier network fosters innovation and it’s a privilege to collaborate to improve the well-being of our citizens while serving our customers’ needs."

Fifth Third is committed to a diverse supply chain for the benefit of its customers, shareholders, employees and communities. Since the inception of its Supplier Diversity program, Fifth Third’s spending with Tier 11 diverse suppliers has grown from $7.5 million in 2014 to $119.6 million in 2022 and surpassed the bank’s goal of representing 10% of total supplier spending with diverse companies.

Fifth Third hosts the Supplier Diversity Summit each year to connect companies with minority, women, people with disabilities, and veteran owners and to help to encourage more business relationships with Fifth Third. It also is a way for diverse business owners to gain perspectives from each other and to network with other corporate partners. More than 175 attendees representing over 130 companies across 15 states participated.

The program featured a keynote address from Cris Carter, NFL Hall of Fame member and CEO of CB Tech. Since 1990, CB Tech has helped Fortune 500 companies with managed services in facilities maintenance. As a Middletown, Ohio native, Cris attended The Ohio State University where he studied communications and was a first-team All-American and two-time All-Big Ten football player. He has been recognized for his work with disadvantaged youth, receiving the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 1999 while a member of the Minnesota Vikings.

"Growing up without a lot of resources in southern Ohio presented many challenges for my family and families like mine. To grow from those circumstances to playing at Ohio State, in the NFL, becoming a Hall of Famer, to now being a prominent figure in the business community is a blessing beyond belief," said Carter. "It is all futile if I'm not taking what I've learned and giving back to our communities. Being able to be a part of Fifth Third Bank's Supplier Diversity Summit, not as a football player, but as a respected business owner is priceless. I look forward to sharing knowledge, meeting other minority business owners and to the overall fellowship."

Other speakers included Cincinnati Vice Mayor Jan Michelle Lemon Kearney, George Simms, president of the Ohio Supplier Minority Supplier Diversity Council; Ashlee Clarke, president and CEO of Empowerment Media; Susan Thomas, president of the Fifth Third Community Development Corporation, Sahra Halpern, president and CEO of the Business Consortium Fund, and more.

This year’s Summit featured a Cincinnati Small Business Showcase of local businesses, matchmaking sessions with Fifth Third Bank leaders, a virtual pitch competition, and the first Fifth Third Bank Supplier Diversity Awards.

Through the years, Fifth Third has developed many partnerships with organizations that focus on enhancing supplier diversity efforts at businesses, including the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)", Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council, DisabilityIN, Women’s Business Ohio Regional Valley Council, and the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). In 2022, Fifth Third’s Supplier Diversity Program was recognized by Minority Business News as one of the Best of the Decade, and the bank was named a NMSDC Forefront Top 50 Corporation of the Year, WBENC Top Corporation of the Year, and OMSDC Class 2 Top Corporation of the Year.

To learn more about Fifth Third’s Supplier Diversity activities, visit