Transformation is Hard

Transformation is Hard

Are you a leader inside and outside your business?

At our last meeting in July 2017, the National Minority Supplier Development Council’s staff and the presidents, board chairs and MBE Input Committee chairs from each of its 23 regional affiliates were in Chicago. We were thickly in the midst of a time of transition, one filled with the uncertainty, and punctuated with the moments of hopefulness, that often accompanies impending change.

To say things were different at this most recent Network Leadership Meeting is an understatement. Last week we gathered on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe over three days, not to rail, to worry, or to rile. But instead, with the help and insights of Suj Chandrasekhar, to make that change our own and to recommit to leading it.

1. This is serious business. 
Interim President Louis Green talked about the future and how it isn’t something to toy with. It happens regardless, whether or not you listen to its rumblings. We also recognized that just because things change doesn’t at all ensure our place in that future. Only we can. The work of addressing economic inequality among historically underutilized minority businesses is a heavy lift. But it needs to be done and everyone loses if we don’t.
2. Our best is required. 
In Arizona, we saw that the tenor and tone of this three-times-per-year gathering had shifted. And this much was especially clear. This is not work for the half-hearted. The self-absorbed. The unreliable. Or the cynical. It will take the best of us to come together for a purpose higher than our own personal interests. It requires our best leaders, people like Clifford Bailey, chair of the National MBE Input Committee; Pauline Gebon, chair of the Board Chairs; and Michelle Sourie Robinson, chair of the Presidents. It also requires our best thinking. Our best resources. And our best hearts. All of it bound by the vision, dedication and passion to sustain us in the short term and over the long haul.
3. We have to stand together in our vision. 
Our shared future isn’t something we march toward. It has to be something we work from. Something we stand in and embrace now, that is an integral part of us. When we view it less as a destination and more as a frame of reference that grounds us in the moment in determining priorities, taking action and leveraging the right opportunities, we cede nothing in the present, while also enabling the development and growth of an economic pipeline stretching generations into the future.
What are you doing to lead change in your work and volunteer engagements?

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About the Top 3 series:

“Top 3” is a quick roundup on our key takeaways from some of the conferences and events we attend.

Bonnie Nijst
Written by Bonnie Nijst

Bonnie Nijst has been a wire service bureau manager, and VP of sales for both a publicly traded broadcast communications company and an Internet startup. She has also served on boards for organizations focused on economic opportunity, diversity, public health and civic engagement. She is president and CEO at FIDGET. Email Bonnie directly at or call her at 323.658.8000.