Our Values In Action
Impacts of Supplier Diversity Reach Far and Wide
Supplier diversity is a win-win — that’s why we have more than 3,000 companies in our supplier diversity network. They strengthen our business units’ purchasing power, build value for our shareholders, and build wealth in the communities in which we live and work.
To connect with these diverse-owned companies, we participate in dozens of outreach events each year. We actively partner with organizations such as the Billion Dollar Roundtable, the National Minority Supplier Development Council, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, Disability:IN, the National Veteran Business Development Council, and national Chambers of Commerce. And, we make special efforts to reach diverse-owned businesses that are not members of organized groups like these. In some cases, we are introduced to suppliers by members of our external Joint Diversity Advisory Council.
Our procurement strategy does not end with finding and purchasing from diverse-owned businesses, however. We also seek to build long-term relationships with them and help them succeed. “Our team spends a good deal of time working with our incumbent suppliers, identifying ways to expand their capacity, supporting their growth, and working collectively to develop solutions where problems may exist,” says Ajamu Johnson, Vice President of Procurement at Comcast NBCUniversal.
Working with a Native Partner
In northwest Alaska, more than 1,000 miles north of Juneau and just above the Bering Strait, lies a vast expanse of land known as the NANA region.1 At 38,000 square miles, it’s larger than Indiana but has few roads and only 11 remote villages. The region’s 7,000 residents are primarily indigenous Iñupiats, who still rely mostly on hunting and gathering for their livelihoods.
What may surprise some is that the Iñupiat people also benefit from Comcast NBCUniversal’s supplier diversity efforts.
Akima, a $1.2 billion company, has been a Comcast NBCUniversal partner since 2015, supplying us with key networking and security hardware and software. Akima is a subsidiary of the NANA Development Corporation, which is one of 13 companies formed by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. That federal law established the companies as a mechanism for creating income for indigenous Alaskans. All of Akima’s board members and 14,000+ shareholders are of Iñupiat heritage.
“The wonderful thing about supplier diversity and the genuine partnerships we develop is that the success achieved is mutually beneficial,” says Johnson. “In Akima’s case, those benefits extend all the way to Alaskan villages located above the Arctic Circle.”
Indeed, 100% of Akima’s net profits go to the Iñupiat shareholders, who have sole discretion over how the funds are distributed. In addition to direct dividends to individuals, the profits are used for community development, cultural preservation, disaster relief, summer camps, and education, including college scholarships.
“What I love about my job at Akima is that it is directly helping our Iñupiat shareholders,” says Juvy McCarthy, President of the company’s Technology Solutions and Products Group.
Like Comcast NBCUniversal, Akima is deeply committed to diversity and inclusion. More than 40% of Akima’s employees are minorities, 19% are veterans, and 12% are people with disabilities. And nearly 25% of technology leaders at the company are women, almost double the industry average. “Being a part of an organization with a strong commitment to inclusion and such a deep-rooted culture is a positive driver in both business and on a personal level,” says McCarthy.