Supplier Diversity is a Key Ingredient to Business Success


Gene Waddy’s story as an entrepreneur began with a stumble. But as a substitute of falling, he took a leap of religion and thrived.

Waddy was laid off by his employer, a serious agency, in 2005. But with a wealth of expertise in IT staffing and payroll administration, he noticed this as a possibility to construct one thing nice.

A Diverse Business Success Story

“When I was laid off, it was like getting kicked out of the nest. But I landed in entrepreneurial heaven. Independence Blue Cross (IBX) was a big part of that,” says Waddy, now CEO of Alpha Business Solutions. “There are a number of challenges that come with starting a company, and one of those is access to capital. Even if you have significant professional experience, banks see new ventures as risks themselves. When I launched my first business, Diversant, having the early support of IBX made a huge difference.”

With Diversant, Waddy was in a position to assist his purchasers discover the suitable IT expertise — expert workers who may meet their particular person wants — whereas additionally taking time to mentor different entrepreneurs from communities of coloration.

Launched in 2017, Alpha Business Solutions affords transformative variety applications that assist purchasers enhance and handle various spending, whereas selling variety and inclusion within the provide chain and work power. Over the years, Alpha has emerged as one in every of IBX’s high suppliers, whereas additionally contributing to its personal variety initiatives.

“Gene and his companies — first Diversant, and later Alpha Business Solutions — have had a tremendous impact on us,” mentioned Chuck Stefanosky, IBX provider variety director. “Their expertise have helped us onboard talented staff more quickly and economically than we’d done with other suppliers.”

“Independence Blue Cross’s dedication to supporting minority business enterprises through the Supplier Diversity Program really speaks volumes,” Waddy says. “They took a chance on us, and when I eventually sold Diversant and built Alpha Business Solutions, their commitment and our relationship continued to thrive.”

The Value of the IBX Networking Group

“One of the great things we’ve been able to achieve with Independence Blue Cross is the development of the IBX Networking Group. The group is an ecosystem of diverse professionals and minority-owned businesses that empowers and strengthens members professionally through mentorship and comradery,” Waddy shares. “It’s a way to pay it forward. We’re not in this game alone — we have to work together. IBX provides the environment for that ecosystem to grow.”

The IBX Networking Group individuals search for methods to assist one another create and increase alternatives. As of August 2023, the various companies which can be a part of the IBX Networking Group have generated greater than $30 million in pipeline alternatives with regional corporations that may be instantly attributed to their networking actions.

A Workforce that Resembles the Community it Serves

Waddy appreciates the best way Independence Blue Cross acknowledges the significance of strengthening and empowering a workforce — and a provider base — that’s consultant of the area.

“The demographics of the country are changing, and more and more Black and Brown people are becoming economically empowered. Thriving, diverse businesses fuel that growth in a variety of ways,” Waddy explains.

“We must also focus on diverse-ownership culture. As an owner, you have skin in the game and a vested interest in the community around you. For me, that personal stake makes me constantly think about how to give back. It’s not just about legacy. It’s not just about money. It’s about the greater ecosystem. That’s important to me, and IBX understands that importance as well.”

IBX’s Supplier Diversity Program

IBX’s Supplier Diversity Program launched greater than 30 years in the past. Each 12 months it helps create hundreds of jobs whereas producing hundreds of thousands of {dollars} towards native, state, and federal economies.

“Once you say that you’re a supplier at Independence Blue Cross, people take notice, because if you can do it with them, you have a proven track record,” Waddy says. “Due to our relationship with IBX, we have closed and acquired at least three additional contracts with other Fortune 500 companies.”

“Working with Gene and his teams has been seamless,” added Stefanosky. “Gene came to us with a solution to onboard contractors that was a win for both of our organizations. He has been an incredible partner.”

Relationships that Matter

After nearly 20 years as a profitable entrepreneur, Waddy has realized that it’s not simply concerning the {dollars} and cents. What issues most is the assistance that may be supplied to others.

“We all have a superpower, and we need a safe and nurturing place to learn how to use it. That’s what Independence Blue Cross offers,” Waddy shares. “They take the time to get to know their suppliers. That way, when they need something, they don’t have to be reactive. They know their partners. They’re proactive. It’s something that makes them really special.”

“Effective suppliers understand that impactful relationships are key to our shared success. I consider Gene to be a trusted advisor, and he frequently asks me what he can do for IBX,” continued Stefanosky. “In addition to the work that his company performs for Independence Blue Cross, he is one of my ‘go-to’ sources to find other best-in-class, high-performing, diverse suppliers. Everyone needs a person like Gene as a trusted advisor.”


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