UPMC’s CFO Challenges Corporate Pittsburgh to Commit to Supplier Diversity

By: Wendy Zellner and Micah Wolf

At a first-of-its-kind networking event for UPMC’s diverse suppliers on March 20, UPMC Chief Financial Officer Rob DeMichiei  issued a bold challenge to the dozens of supporting corporations that attended.
First and foremost, he urged them to do business with the minority, women-owned and veteran-owned suppliers that had been invited to the “Collaboration for Growth” at the Double Tree Hotel, Downtown. The group of nearly 100 suppliers already have been “battle-tested” at UPMC and proven that they can meet the toughest cost and quality standards, he noted.
Secondly, DeMichiei said, “Do your part. We shared our suppliers with you. We want you to share your suppliers with the rest of Corporate Pittsburgh.”  The goal is to help diverse suppliers expand their businesses and customer bases throughout the region, enabling them not just to survive but to thrive, he explained.
And his third challenge to other corporations: “Show your numbers and begin to report annually to the Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council.  We can improve our performance only if we begin to measure it. Let’s create a baseline and commit to making progress.”  Over the last eight years, UPMC has increased its spending with minority, women-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises (MWDBEs) by 41 percent. “That’s OK, but we want to do better,” said DeMichiei. “We’ve got to be a diverse community when it comes to employment, when it comes to companies.”  
UPMC decided to arrange the face-to-face introduction of its diverse suppliers to the business community after taking part last year in the Corporate Equity & Inclusion Roundtable, organized by the Black Political Empowerment Project. DeMichiei noted that the second such corporate event will take place on June 9 at Duquesne University—where he hopes that others will follow UPMC’s lead in advancing opportunities for diverse businesses.  
View the video above to find out more about UPMC’s “Collaboration for Growth” event.