An event designed to bring key purchasing decision makers together with best-in-class minority-owned, women-owned and locally-based professional service firms takes place this noon at Northwestern University.

“One of our primary responsibilities in Purchasing Resource Services is to identify quality vendors and provide them with an opportunity to do business with Northwestern University,” says Jim Konrad, director of purchasing. “The Supplier Diversity Symposium for Professional Services represents one additional way in which we are trying to do that.”

Organized by the university’s purchasing department, the symposium at the Norris University Center is part of Northwestern’s commitment to enhance economic opportunities for minority-owned, woman-owned, disadvantaged and local business enterprises.

“The symposium is a departure from university supplier diversity events of the past,” says Konrad. “For the first time, it will present five carefully selected businesses in each of five specific professional services areas.” Those services are information technology, asset management, financial services, human resources and marketing and communication.

This event is also aligned with other strategic priorities of the University. “An important part of the University’s strategic plan is to give our students, faculty and staff the tools to grow stronger through the richness of diversity,” said Eugene Sunshine, senior vice president of business and finance.

“Today’s event reflects Northwestern’s commitment to diversity not only in the classroom but also in the purchasing and business decisions we make,” Sunshine added

The symposium will include opportunities for purchasing decision makers to participate in one-on-one conversations and to network with suppliers. In addition, chief officers or high level representatives of each of the five suppliers in each category will make presentations about their services to symposium participants.

In addition to the University, event co-hosts are the City of Evanston, NorthShore University HealthSystem and Evanston Township High School District 202.

Officials from the Illinois governor’s office and Evanston city and school officials are expected to attend.

The Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council, Women’s Business Development Center, Chicago Urban League and Evanston Chamber of Commerce are also participating.

Join the Conversation


  1. How about supporting diversity in where NU Garbage goes?

    NU is one of the biggest suppliers of garbage to the Veolia trasfer station which is situated in a primarily-minority neighborhood.

    If they really are serious about "diversity", they would make sure that their garbage would go to other communities, more representative of the population as a whole.

  2. NU Diversity…and garbage?

    Absolutely! We should ALL insist that those who pick up our garbage redistribute it equitably among various neighborhoods according to their socioeconomic characteristics…yeah that'll work!

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