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Supplier Diversity Program

Hirons recognizes the importance of fostering diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of our business operations. As part of our commitment to promoting diversity, we have established our supplier diversity program to ensure that our supply chain of outside vendors reflects the multifaceted communities we serve and provides opportunities for underrepresented businesses. We actively partner with diverse organizations to expand upon our employee-owner experiences and to drive innovation and deliver great results for our clients. Below are details of several elements that form our program.

Program Oversight

Deana Haworth, Chief Executive Officer
Sheila Smiley, Executive Vice President
Leigh-Ann Richardville, Vice President, Operations
Frances Leath, Partnership Manager

The entire Hirons management team fully supports our female-led supplier diversity program.

Supplier Diversity Program Objectives

  1. Inclusion: Promote equal opportunities for all vendors to compete for business, regardless of race, ethnicity, color, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socioeconomic class, religion, disability status, age, military status, political ideology, economic status, and geographic location.
  2. Development: Support the development and capacity-building of diverse vendors through mentorship, training and networking opportunities.
  3. Partnership: Establish mutually beneficial partnerships with diverse vendors that align with our business goals and values.

Program Components

Supplier Groups
Hirons proactively seeks to identify and connect with diverse vendors through supplier databases, diversity-focused organizations, industry events and other networking opportunities. Our supplier diversity program includes (but is not limited to) increased focus on using vendors from the following groups:
  • Women
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Minorities
  • Native American
  • African American
  • Asian American
  • Hispanic American
  • Veterans and military-service-disabled veterans
  • People who are LGBTQ+
  • SBA HUBZone Program, SAM or GSA
Accepted Certifications
Hirons accepts national, state and city government certifications as well as several third-party certifications. We also work with vendors who are interested in or already in the process of receiving certification. Some examples of qualified certifying organizations:
  • National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)
  • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
  • National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)
  • United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)
  • Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce (APACC)
  • National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA)
  • Disability:IN

Supplier Registration, Evaluation and Support
A supplier is asked to submit registration that includes its W-9 form, any applicable certifications and its capabilities statement. The Hirons team will evaluate vendors based on their capabilities, qualifications and alignment with specific project goals. Hirons strives to implement a fair and transparent practice to select the best vendor based on merit, quality and value. Hirons’ partnership manager will contact vendors to discuss potential partnership opportunities and to give feedback on evaluation criteria.

Hirons will document a supplier’s specialty and request any additional documentation needed, such as a list of the supplier’s tier 1 suppliers (for Hirons to reference as tier 2 suppliers). At that time, Hirons will also provide an overview of its services and details for engaging with us when creating joint RFPs and when providing client deliverables.

Should a diverse vendor not be selected for a project, Hirons will give rationale on what could be done in the future for a different outcome and assist the vendor by providing additional resources when possible. These resources may include (but are not limited to) training opportunities, mentoring, technical assistance, and help facilitating connections between people and organizations.

Supplier Development Opportunities – Organizations and Industry Groups
Hirons is a member of several organizations and participates in numerous industry groups that provide exposure to collaboration and partnership opportunities for diverse suppliers. These include but are not limited to:
  • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
  • National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)
  • Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
  • American Advertising Federation (AAF)
  • The ESOP Association (TEA)
  • National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO)
  • Great Lakes Women’s Business Council (Great Lakes WBC)
  • Mid-States Minority Supplier Development Council (Mid-States MSDC)
  • Indiana Chamber of Commerce
  • Indy Chamber of Commerce
  • Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
Collaboration and Feedback from Suppliers
In an effort toward incremental advancement in equity, Hirons’ team regularly meets with suppliers to further foster relationships and to collaborate on opportunities to grow partnerships and client success. Hirons also surveys suppliers on a biennial basis to gain feedback on past partnerships and to identify areas for improvement.