Starting the New Year with a Goal of Supporting Diversity with DA4S

by Candace Hughes, Hughs BioPharma Advisors LLC

This month we are speaking with corporate sponsors to learn about why they support Diversity Alliance for Science. With corporate budgets always under scrutiny to ensure that only the highest value organizations are supported and partnered with, what is that unique value offered to firms and their employees that puts Diversity Alliance for Science at the top of the list year after year?

This question of where to allocate budgets is a timely concern right now because every company asks hard questions as they start of a new year. What worked last year? What didn’t? Individually, we ask ourselves tough questions too. We are ready to make changes in what we are doing or what our company is doing to ramp up our success as we launch into 2019. For example, supplier members may resolve to work smarter this year to bring in more business. Corporate members resolve to raise the bar in finding diverse and/or small suppliers. All members resolve to spend scarce resources more wisely.

Understanding the value of membership and support is even more critical right now since February is our West Coast conference, which provides a significant benefit for sponsors and members.

To help you make these decisions, we go directly to the firms who support us and ask them to explain what value they get from Diversity Alliance for Science.

In this post, blog editor, Candice Hughes, speaks with Saken Khokhar, Supplier Diversity Manager, of Boston Scientific.

  • Candice: Saken, Thank you for taking time out of your busy start-of-the-year schedule to speak with us today about your relationship with Diversity Alliance for Science. Just being able to have this conversation with you knowing how much is going on, already shows me how much you value your relationship with Diversity Alliance for Science. To kick off our discussion, could you tell us- why this organization? What motivated you (or Boston Scientific as a whole) to join Diversity Alliance for Science?Saken: Diversity Alliance for Science is the only supplier diversity organization that focuses solely on the Life Sciences industry. This is a great benefit to Boston Scientific as we are able to meet with suppliers who are familiar with the nuances of our industry.
  • Candice: With the biopharma industry being so complex, I can see why working with suppliers who have strong industry knowledge would help get projects up and running quickly. What is the number one benefit you’ve gotten out of being in Diversity Alliance for Science?Saken: I would say the ability to network with my peers and formulate benchmarks to assess the quality of our supplier program is what means the most to us.
  • Candice: Those are great benefits that both can improve productivity. Benchmarking is fantastic for being able to objectively measure success of a program. Can you give an example in story form that demonstrates these benefits?Saken: Absolutely! I met David Riccardi from Proximo at last year’s West Coast conference and was immediately impressed with him and his company. We kept in touch to see if Proximo could provide any services to Boston Scientific. Last month, David and his team produced an Economic Impact study for us on the value of our Supplier Diversity program. This has been of great value and impact and we will continue to seek other ways to employ great suppliers such as Proximo/ Proveedor.
  • Candice: I love your story! What a win-win for both supplier and corporation. While we’re on the topic of conferences, what is one event or situation in Diversity Alliance for Science that you sponsored and what value did you get from sponsoring?Saken: Boston Scientific sponsored the West Coast conference. This is a very productive and valuable conference. It is smaller and more intimate than most diversity conferences, giving you the opportunity to have multiple conversations with the same people and gain more information about them and their companies. There are great opportunities for relationship building at the West Coast conference.
  • Candice: It sounds like you built some wonderful relationships by having space to get to know people outside the crush of a huge conference. What is the top piece of advice you want to give to other firms considering sponsoring?Saken: This is a great opportunity to advertise your Supplier Diversity programs and your commitment to supporting suppliers in these areas. Sponsoring gives you the visibility that enables you to make meaningful connections at the conferences.
  • Candice: Saken, I really appreciate your time today. Our discussion is sadly winding to a close. In one sentence- how would you sum up the benefit of sponsoring or your experience in Diversity Alliance for Science?Saken: Thank you, Candice. It’s been a pleasure to be here. It’s hard to think of only one thing. The top benefit for me is that we are able to support a great organization and help it grow in a mutually beneficial manner. Boston Scientific benefits also by meeting with quality suppliers who know our industry.

Are you looking for a change in 2019? Do you want to do more to support diverse suppliers? Diversity Alliance for Science is here to help with your New Year’s resolution for more success!