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May 8, 2020 40 min
Diversity Matters with Oscar Holmes IV Season 1 Episode 3 Episode Title: Minority Business Development & Advocacy Guest: John Harmon, IOM   Diversity Matters with Oscar Holmes IV is a podcast that explores all things diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) related. In each episode, Oscar and his guests have lively discussions around DEI topics, explore the latest research on the topic, and discuss the implications so that listeners will be more knowledgeable about the topics and be able to apply the insights to their lives.   Show Summary: In this episode, John Harmon, the President, and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce in New Jersey & the former president and CEO of the Metropolitan Trenton African American Chamber of Commerce, shares why identity-group specific chambers need to thrive & develop a relationship with the government & greatest society to have some mutual exchange & partnership. This allows them to have access to opportunity-information resources where the business deals flow for income generation.   As a leader, he also experienced different challenges as he focused on his vision. Raising money to build infrastructures was part of it but through the brave hearts of the volunteers, they were able to build and get it up into the air.   He also explains how the African American Chamber of Commerce in New Jersey helps business owners and organizational leaders deal with the pandemic by maintaining events like webinars & conference calls for a chance to present their products or services to potential clients while they wait for things to get back to normal.   Description: This episode talks about the importance of Chambers of Commerce. It shows how the Black Community Leaders dedicate their time & effort to provide business & work-related opportunities to each of their members most especially in the toughest time.   You are not alone. There is always a community that’s willing to help & support you. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Look for like-minded people that have gone down the path you want to take before you ask for advice. You’ll never run out of guidance and support.   Guest Contact & Promos:  3 Value Bombs:     It all starts with the business plan, you got to have a plan, you got to have a road map, which will outline your vision, your mission.   We got to really command and demand a greater level of accountability on the other side of this and a greater level of forthrightness. Supplying Diversity and Inclusion is not about that mosaic but it is about really leveraging the talent to get the best value. Show Highlights:    Why was it necessary to start the African American Chamber of Commerce New Jersey and why is it so important for this Chamber and other identity-group specific Chambers to not only exist, but also thrive?   2:35 John   In New Jersey, there's 140 chambers of commerce and the US Chamber of Commerce which is based in Washington, DC, the largest business Federation in the country has about 7000 members 7000 chamber members across the country. In addition to a multitude of major corporations and I realized that there has to be some significance there.   What is COVID-19 stopping you from doing or working on that you would have been working on? 7:34 John   We have had a number of events playing you know, that'd be an advocate for the demographic of people who have innate talent, abilities, willingness and desire to be a part of contributing to the overall competitiveness of the state, and not being able to have those engagements to programs and events that we have also opportunities for these men and women who have real capital at risk. They've put their blood sweat and tears in their business enterprises. What are some other barriers that you think we have to face and some ways to remove some of those other barriers? 15:09 John   I gotta get back to your question about where businesses where growth is for businesses or whatever. Right, but the barriers are hindering that, right? So we have a number of very talented engineers in New Jersey. So in the professional service route, as we stay with the government or the public sector, there's a procurement process where you don't really have to go out to bid in the professional services. So that means engineers, architects, your environmentalist, your fund management firms, people who manage money, who do bond underwriting, who do accounting services, and even in New Jersey, there's a certain You can be a seasoned CPA, and you have to have a certain designation, to audit municipal records.   And although you're paying tax dollars, they're excluded for my opportunity, because he's in here barriers, juniors are funding our elected officials campaigns, or they're given preference but blacks are voting for them.   What does the role of company boards mean ensuring equitable participation and supplier diversity?   20:51  John   Well, one guy that I really was more than one but I mentioned John Rogers and Melanie Hobson. I ask your listeners to Google them and see what they're doing around the country. They sit on boards, and they're not spooked by the door when they're on the board. They're they're fighting and championing the value proposition that diversity brings that black men and women could bring to some of these boards to get them more accountable and getting them to understand that I'm supplying diversity and inclusion is not about that mosaic is about really leveraging the talent to get the best value   We are a diverse nation, New Jersey is one of the most diverse states in America. And we're not leveraging diversity, for our overall benefit and our competitiveness is the haves and have nots. Who are some leaders who seem to be getting it right?   25:06 John   We have people like Kevin Cummings, Domenick A Cama of Investors Bank, who not only is their heart in the right place, but they're people executing former president of Wells Fargo, Brenda Ross Dulan here in New Jersey, phenomenal job.    What advice do you have for minorities who want to start a business and it doesn't have to be necessarily in this context of pandemic but just starting in business in general, and then for those who want to move up until leadership ranks in their organization?   31:06 John   Well, take the leadership part first, there's a number of things, it's going to enable you to be effective in a leadership role. One, you got to be a good listener. 2 you have to have an understanding of the job that's above you, and understand this below you and definitely have a full understanding of your ability to execute the job at hand. Call to Action: Subscribe to Diversity Matters and get exclusive access to all episodes of Beyond the Mill, which is my live diversity dialogues talk show that I host on campus at Rutgers University-Camden.    Episode Sponsor Links:    Producer Links:   Host Social Media Links:   Subscribe to Diversity Matters  , , , , , , , and  
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