Nielsen recently helped launch the annual National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) conference in Phoenix, Ariz., during National Veterans Week, Nov. 4-12. The conference was held in tandem with the inaugural HeroZona event, a week-long celebration of veterans in Arizona and across the U.S. Our Supplier Diversity team enlisted the help of our employee resource group for veterans, Supporting Employee Resources for Veterans (SERV), to join this event. As part of the conference, we collaborated with the Checkered Flag Run Foundation and hosted a two-day business expo designed to create business opportunities for veteran business owners.
The expo attracted local veteran business owners, corporate buyers and government procurement organizations. The goal was to create opportunities for veteran business owners to pitch their services to prospective partners and foster relationships for mutually beneficial business agreements.
“Veteran-owned businesses, along with other diverse enterprises are key drivers of the U.S. economy,” said Lamont Robinson, VP, Supplier Diversity at Nielsen. “And, after fulfilling their duty to this country, we have a responsibility to support veteran business owners when we’re making decisions about what companies we’re bringing on as suppliers. Our collaboration with the Checkered Flag Run Foundation at HeroZona gave us the opportunity to network with an unprecedented number of talented, driven veterans.”
Robinson, who leads supplier diversity at Nielsen, was honored for his efforts by NaVOBA, earning its “Corporate Veteran’ Champion” award at the awards luncheon during the conference. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was also honored at the event with a Lifetime Service Award.
The conference also featured development seminars, workshops and panel discussions that highlighted the unique skill sets of veteran business owners. Nielsen hosted the “Veteran Business Panel,” where veteran business owners spoke about the value their peers bring to a variety of industries when their military service has ended. Sessions like these, designed to give diverse business owners the tools they need to drive growth, are a priority for our Supplier Diversity team. According to Robinson, this is how we can help these businesses create opportunities in their communities, even if we’re not able to bring them on as suppliers for Nielsen.
The collaboration was announced during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference, at which Nielsen served as sponsor.
“Through SERV, Nielsen has proven its commitment to supporting veteran associates and to hiring veterans,” said Chad Dreas, Managing Director, Media Analytics and SERV Executive Sponsor. “We’ve also had the privilege of being able to connect with our world class Supplier Diversity team, which ensures we’re extending that support to the veteran community and a nationwide network of veteran-owned businesses.”