WBENC National Conference: Insights and Inspiration

“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”

Many people have said these words in many different ways, but the idea remains the same: To improve yourself (and your business) you have to surround yourself with the most knowledgeable people. That’s why every year some of our Trans International team attends the WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council) National Conference to gain knowledge and inspiration from the smartest women in business.  As a certified Women’s Business Enterprise, it’s a very special event for us.WBENC Conference

This year, the conference was in Philadelphia and hosted over 1,000 attendees and more than 150 corporate sponsors. We had some great conversations with representatives from Walmart, Ford, GM, The Clorox Company, Toyota, and others.

What I Learned
How do you retain what you learned? Share it. Here are some insights that I picked up:

  • WBENC will work for you if you work for it.
    It’s a great group. It’s even better if you’re involved. That means attending events and participating in every way that you can to learn and make connections.
  • Register to get a head start.
    Register at all supplier diversity portals ahead of time because the first question a corporate contact will ask is, “ Have you registered with us?”  If you can get this step out of the way ahead of time, the conversation will go farther, faster.
  • Divide and conquer.
    Myself, Jaime (CEO), Mike (Director of Logistics Consulting) and Peter (National Sales Manager) split up to take in as much of the conference as we could. Dividing allowed us to see more, do more, and meet more people.

What Inspired Me
A few highlights that inspired me to keep bettering myself and our business:

  • UPS used teddy bears to help rebuild a business after 9/11.
    After September 11, a supplier business located across from the twin towers lost nearly everything under the rubble from the falling buildings. The UPS procurement contact from the supplier diversity program called the business and asked how they could help. That day, UPS placed a large order with the business – for teddy bears. The money from the teddy bear order that UPS placed gave the business enough capital to help rebuild. UPS gave each of us a teddy bears during the presentation, which, for me, helps serve as a reminder of the importance of supporting our clients whenever possible.
  • Walmart has a new women-owned logo.
    All clothing and products made by women-owned companies will have the new logo tag. It’s exciting to see such a big brand showing so much support for women in business.
  • Zuckerberg is proof that women can do it all.
    Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, was one of this year’s speakers. Randi was one of Facebook’s first employees Facebook and pioneered the social media giant’s marketing program until she branched out to run her own company, Zuckerberg Media. Yes, Randi’s career accomplishments are impressive – but what really inspired me is that in addition to being a successful business person, she’s also a mother, wife, actress and singer. She somehow finds time to do it all and reminded me that it is possible to do the same.

Did you attend this year’s WBENC National Conference? What did you learn? We’d love to hear about it in a comment below.

Denise Lawien
Chief Operating Officer

WBENC Certification: Community and Opportunity

Fresh from attending and participating in the 2013 WBENC National Conference and Business Fair, it is difficult to deny just how proud we are of being a part of the successful Women-Owned Business community.

In many recent online discussions there has been frequent mention that women are a growing part of the supply chain and logistics/transportation industries; we believe this to be true. At Trans International, we believe in progressively diversifying the supply chain management industry to effectively represent the demographic of our supply chain community.

A Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) is an independent business at least 51% owned and operated by 1 or more women. In our case we are 100% women-owned, a relatively new development. Started in 1975 by Thomas Schmitt, Trans International became a qualified WBE in 2007 when Schmitt’s daughters Jaime Syring and Denise Lawien bought the company from their father. Syring and Lawien began running the company without skipping a beat, stepping in as CEO and COO.

Trans International is a Johnson Controls Mentored Diversity Supplier. Johnson Controls urged TI to begin the process of applying for WBENC Certification with the goal of positioning the business for the next generation of growth and innovation. Since earning certification, TI has worked closely with Shelly Brown, Supplier Diversity Manager, on supply chain and supplier diversity best practices.

Being a WBENC Certified WBE is highly beneficial and advantageous for both the WBE itself and current or prospective clients. According to the official WBENC website certified businesses are able to use their WBENC credentials to “gain access to WBENC Corporate members, as well as a number of federal, state, and local government agencies. In addition, WBENC certified WBEs also gain access to over 10,000 other WBENC certified WBEs in order to purchase products or services and partner on joint venture opportunities”. This certification creates business opportunities and benefits both TI and our clients.

Being a WBENC Certified business also means that business with Trans International can qualify as diversity spend for clients who have government contracts and for companies with diversity spend goals. If your business has diversity spend requirements and you work with us, you can check that off your corporate “To Do” list. As a WBE, we have you covered.

WBENC Certification is a privilege that is much sought after and not easily attained. Be sure to look for the WBENC stamp of approval on the websites of certified businesses to assure authenticity. You can see the WBENC Certification logo in action on our website’s homepage.

Becoming a WBENC Certified WBE has made a huge difference in our business endeavors. We are proud to be a part of the WBE community that WBENC has created and to use those privileges to do great business.