Walgreens gathers its top suppliers to boost minority-, women-owned firms

5/5/2009

DEERFIELD, Ill. In a bid to build business opportunities for companies owned by women and minorities, Walgreens and some of its largest pharmaceutical suppliers are hosting a business development event Tuesday designed to leverage each company’s relationships with minority- and women-owned businesses.

Walgreens has dubbed the gathering the “Power of Alignment” Expo. The trade show, being held Tuesday at Chicago’s Navy Pier, was organized by Walgreens and some of its top vendors, including AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Watson Pharmaceuticals.

Also in attendance at the daylong event: 118 minority- and women-owned companies that do business with those suppliers. Those businesses represent a broad cross-section of professional and business services, including trucking and transportation, distribution and warehousing, construction, and printing or advertising industries.

“Each business has delivered high quality services to a sponsoring company, earning a recommendation that could now open exciting new doors,” Walgreens noted in a statement. “This unprecedented collaboration is an effort to connect each company with potential vendors recommended by their peers.”

The expo includes a presentation from Walgreens SVP pharmacy Kermit Crawford and a panel discussion with the purchasing leadership from four sponsoring companies. Participating businesses will have the opportunity to network and share best practices. Division leaders from each sponsoring company will spend the majority of the day meeting with dozens of potential vendors. A total of more than 270 20-minute appointments have been booked.

“Every sponsor for this event shares a commitment to supporting the economic development of the diverse communities in which we live, work and serve customers,” said Walgreens director of supplier diversity Gleatha Glispie. “I congratulate our partners for taking this inspiring step forward.”

Glispie described the Navy Pier gathering as a new model for developing business opportunities for women and minorities, based on “the incredible power of cross networking.” A key measure of its success, she said, will be “to have each sponsor award new contracts to a participating business this year.”

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