Clipper Proves One’s Weakness Can Become Your Greatest Strength

Simple Networking-Creating Opportunities!

Supplier Diversity is a Lifeline for Business Growth

ConnXus Cares Share Your Story Series



SIMPLEnetworking is a consulting firm, based in Atlanta, GA, which specializes in business networking, diversity and cultural awareness through consulting, seminars and  workshops.

I have been a business entrepreneur for over 10 years and found most of my  growth has been a direct result of supplier diversity.  Being able to partner with major companies, government agencies and institutions to offer my company products and services has completely revolutionized my business model.  Although I am a small business, I am by no means, ‘small-minded’,”explains Chi Chi Okezie, owner and producer of SIMPLEnetworking.

Chi Chi Okezie, owner and producer of SIMPLEnetworking, based in Atlanta, GA

Chi Chi Okezie, owner and producer of SIMPLEnetworking

Okezie continues, “In the past, supplier diversity would not have been considered in my marketing or business plan, and I did not truly understand its significance. As my business continues to flourish, I am able to  reach more markets and become competitive in my niche.  It has become a realization that  supplier diversity is almost the lifeline to my business and continued success.”

“Through supplier diversity, I have been able to foster strong and lasting relationships for  business and personal support.  It has enabled me unexpected opportunities and access to  resources essential for my business growth.  It has also improved the internal operations of my  company.  It allows me to expand my reach and networks both on and offline.  Using supplier diversity as a mechanism for business has inevitably established a strong company brand and  reputation of credibility,” exclaims Okezie.

“The most impact that supplier diversity has had on my business is the aspect of knowing how  important it is to represent and appreciate diversity in businesses.  Countless studies have  shown that supplier diversity positively influences increase in sales revenues, innovation,  corporate culture and community engagement for corporations.  Also, minority-owned businesses are the fastest growing segment in the U.S. economy.  It is not just the right thing to  do but a profitable thing to do,” she says.

Okezie concludes with, “The SIMPLEnetworking motto is: Creating Opportunities…The new form of success.  I believe that is supplier  diversity.  As I look forward to more successful and productive years in business, I will continue  to advocate for supplier diversity.  I will continue to build and develop a strong platform for  making diversity significant, valuable and profitable for partnerships and business growth.”

NMSDC 2016 Conference

12 Company Booths to Visit at the 2016 NMSDC Conference

It’s that time of year again! The NMSDC Conference will be held October 23-26 in Chicago. The conference will showcase the nation’s largest forum in support of supplier diversity. The following companies will be part of the P&G Community of Partners at the 2016 NMSDC Conference. P&G launched this program to further advance education about supplier diversity amongst suppliers, consumers, and partners while driving greater connections between prospective diverse suppliers and P&G’s supplier network. Read more

Supplier Diversity Raises up 21st Century Expo Group

ConnXus Share Your Story Series


Rayford McFarland, CEO of 21st Century Expo Group

Supplier Diversity may mean different things based on who you are and how it impacts your existence. What supply diversity means to me is that it provides a means to develop the resources and relationships that companies, large and small, need to help level the field of competition, social responsibility, and community development for the greater good and success it brings to American families and their communities.

Since our founding in 1991, 21st-Century Expo Group, Inc. (21stCEG) has participated in various initiatives established by government, corporate, and professional sports organizations. They have served as a part of our unique niche that has kept us viable and relevant to our client base over the past 25 years.

Most critically our association with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) and my local council, The Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council (CRMSDC) have been strong supporters and catalyst for 21stCEG’s growth in the trade show and special events industry.

After the tragedy of 9-11 and the 2008 Great Recession, the industry and our clients suffered a dramatic downturn that affected our very survival.

To endure the downturn, we depended heavily on NMSDC and CRMSDC to continue building our business while taking the necessary steps to maintain financial and operational efficiencies.

Starting in 2010, we were able to create a model of sustainability including sales, marketing, and business development trajectory that dramatically improved our financial and operational success. In 2012 we were selected to receive The CRMSDC’s Supplier Of The Year Class II Award. That same year we won the contract to produce Major League Baseball’s Inaugural Diversity Business Summit in Chicago. Things were clearly looking up.

During the NMSDC Annual Conference in Denver, 21st Century Expo Group received its 2013 National Supplier of the Year Class II Award to our delight. That award represented the accumulation of support and assistance received from our clients and the supplier diversity professionals in their organizations.

Since receiving these awards, we have been able to create a new course of success that continues today. We are now the only African-American women owned and operated general service contractor in the nation. Our client list now includes organizations such as Google, Time Warner, McDonald’s, Centene Corporation, Major League Baseball and of course ConnXus.

In addition we’ve been able to move into a new warehouse facility, double our minority staff, and establish our Project Expo Initiative. This initiative is designed to provide personal growth development and employment opportunities for unemployed young African-American men from the underserved communities in Washington DC and Maryland.


Through our relationship with Major League Baseball’s Supplier Diversity and Inclusion office, we recently presented 21stCEG’s services to the Diversity in Inclusion Sports Consortium (DISC) that consist of representatives from the NFL, NBA, NASCAR, US Olympic Committee, US Tennis Association, and Major and Minor League Baseball.

For 21stCEG, none of this would’ve been possible without the existence, support, and continued efforts of NMSDC, CRMSDC, corporations, and minority businesses working together collectively to achieve the American Dream.

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