Hartford HealthCare's Supplier Diversity Summit Drives Business to Minority Owned Companies


August 10, 2023

After attending Hartford HealthCare’s first Supplier Diversity Summit two years ago, Alisa Bowens-Mercado won a contract to supply breakrooms across the system with products from her fledgling coffee roasting business. This year, the president of Rhythm Roasting Company was thrilled to be a speaker at HHC’s third summit in Bridgeport, sharing her experience with representatives of more than 90 diverse companies seeking opportunities to provide services such as credit check security, painting and paper hanging, metalworking, commercial cleaning and more within our system. “Hartford HealthCare are the leaders in community inclusion, implementing strategic ways to identify minority- and women-owned businesses and connect them to buyers in the healthcare space,” Bowens-Mercado said. “The organization is committed to economic equity and created a space where diversity and inclusion is discussed and challenged.”

Hartford HealthCare’s Chief Financial Officer Chibueze “Okey” Agba said diversity summits have helped the system forge relationships with more than 300 companies headed by a people of color, women, veterans, people with disabilities or members of the LGBTQ+ community. “This fiscal year, Hartford HealthCare increased our spending with minority, small-business and women-owned suppliers by 80% for a total spend of $192 million,” he said, adding that the goal is to increase the budget to $250 million this fiscal year. “Our minority suppliers are so important to building healthier communities and providing opportunities. The work, said Hartford HealthCare President and CEO Jeff Flaks, is ever-expanding and stems from the system’s commitment to equity, one tenet of its mission.

“This is one of the most important, most impactful events we do each year. At HHC, we are an anchor institution in all of the communities we serve and we embrace that responsibility. Our vision at HHC is to be a force multiplier of good. I thank you for your trust and your commitment to working with us,” Flaks told those gathered at the summit.

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