Place your bets for supplier diversity

Woodbine Racetrack hosts CAMSC event

July 18, 2012
by By Michael Power

TORONTO: The weather was beautiful and the fillies in fine form at Toronto’s Woodbine Racetrack July 11 for a Canadian Aboriginal & Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) event called Betting on Diversity: A Day at the Races.

The event was an afternoon of corporate roundtable workshops followed by a buffet dinner, matchmaking and networking. As well, a guest appearance by a betting expert and author provided the roughly 70 participants with tips on the variables of betting. The event took place trackside under a tent.

Participants chose from one of three roundtable discussions—held by HP, RBC and Telus—on different topics related to supplier diversity. Charles Varvarikos, head of facilities sourcing at RBC, led a conversation on supplier debriefing.

RBC offers a debriefing—to any bidder that asks for it—regarding their submission, he said. Regardless of the outcome of any particular submission, it’s important to preserve good relationships with bidders, Varvarikos stressed. Although a bidder may have lost the race for the job, an organization may want to do business with that supplier in the future.
“Neither of you should burn the bridge,” he said. The organization tries to give the best and most useful feedback it can to potential suppliers during a debriefing, he noted. That way, companies get guidelines to help them during future proposals.

“Anything we can do to help them improve is a good thing,” he said.

Smaller organizations benefit from such feedback because they learn not only what they did well during the RFP process, but also ways in which they can improve, Varvarikos noted.

In another discussion, Indy Sian of Telus provided an overview of the organization’s supplier diversity program. Sian focused on the benefits of employing diverse suppliers, such as improving the customer experience and enhancing revenue growth, supporting Telus’s brand and supporting strategies that optimize Telus’s value-for-money and future growth.

Telus’s supplier diversity program supports Canadian businesses owned and run (51 percent or more) by visible ethnic minorities, aboriginals, and/or women, Sian said. Those businesses must also be certified by CAMSC or WEConnect Canada to qualify for the program. The organization will also consider suppliers who commit to or are undergoing certification by one of those organizations.

Sian also explained how organizations can register for the program. To learn more, click here and visit and follow the “supplier diversity” icon.