OhioMBE Publisher’s Note: At This Time of Thanksgiving

At This Time of Thanksgiving

By Ronda Watson Barber – Publisher

At this time of Thanksgiving, I am abundantly grateful to OhioMBE’s advertisers, subscribers and distribution outlets.  It is an honor to provide access to purchasing opportunities to Ohio’s small and minority-owned businesses via our bid notice distribution services, monthly procurement fairs and certification classes.  Small businesses are the heart of our economy; OhioMBE is pleased play a role in fostering opportunities and economic development in the Buckeye State.

I am thankful for those who supported and sponsored the 2017 OhioMBE Awards.  It was inspiring to be in the company of Ohio’s Top MBEs/FBEs and their advocates.  As I presented scholarships to the Frank W. Watson Scholars, I was pleased give back to our youth and continue the legacy of providing local students with college access opportunities, a quest my father began in the 1970s.

We take our role of advocating for the Black-owned business seriously.  Taxation without participation is not acceptable.  OhioMBE will continue to demand purchasing inclusion from government entities and those receiving tax dollars.  We will continue to be a voice.   Advocacy is tough work. It often goes unappreciated.  As publisher, I challenge folks in power on a regular basis, questioning why they do what they do.  Why they aren’t meeting purchasing goals or why inclusion isn’t in the forethought of decision making?  In 2018, those activities won’t stop.

I am proud to be in the company of strong bold advocates for Black-owned businesses.  We stand in the legacy and shadows of tenacious fighters who made a difference. Advocates who didn’t give up.   Folks who fought for us to have a seat at the table.  Folks that stood up and demanded purchasing goals and inclusion. All in inclusion roles are not equal. For some it’s just a 9 to 5 job.  Simply a pay check.  For true advocates, the work we do isn’t just a job. Some of us fight in the trenches daily.  We fight policies.  We battle with colleagues, majority companies and vendors.  Some days we fight with Black folks.  We sincerely wholeheartedly believe in equal access and opportunity for all.

How do you show gratitude to those advocating for your business?  Are you one of those business owners who feels entitled to someone else fighting for your inclusion? How do you reward advocacy on your behalf?  Do you send a simple thank you note? Do you speak before governing boards acknowledging how an advocate has assisted in you obtaining a contract? Do you put your very best foot forward when someone recommends you or introduces you to an opportunity because you don’t want to make your advocate look bad?

Someone recently told me to stop bending over backwards to help folks who are not helping you.  The conversation really hit home.  I know that business is a two-way street.  I see on a daily basis that Black-owned businesses need allies.  I know first-hand that a lot of advocates feel unappreciated and taken advantage of.  We should be supporting those both in the public and private sector that are looking out for our businesses.

As we reflect on 2017, take a moment to be thankful for your allies in the fight for equity and access in purchasing.  More importantly, show it.

Just my thoughts…rwb

Published in OhioMBE – Nov. 15, 2017 – pdf