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Shell Hosts Diversity Partners' High-Energy Collaboration Forum

According to Debra Stewart, Shell Manager Supplier Diversity/Workforce Development/Diversity Outreach; “It’s going to take us all working together to help the communities in which we live and work recognize and take full advantage of the economic opportunities created by the energy renaissance.

Shell can’t do it alone. We can’t even do it justice working with each individual non-profit in the diversity arena. We need to find innovative ways to collaborate and leverage the resources available to keep these communities engaged and ready to make the most of their opportunities. This Forum is a great step in that direction. We have come away with actionable items – concrete next steps to help us take our stewardship of these opportunities to the next level.”

Representatives of organizations representing small, minority, and woman-owned businesses, and economic development in diverse communities met with Shell’s diversity team and supply chain representatives in Houston with specific collaboration goals in mind.

Shell Hosts Diversity Partners' High-Energy Collaboration Forum

Fred Whipple, Shell Vice President of U.S. Diversity & Inclusion welcomed the group, “When I think of so much of the recognition Shell receives for the positive impact we have in communities, I honestly say, ‘We couldn’t begin to achieve what we achieve without our diversity partner organizations. We have the same objectives and so much more gets accomplished because we work together.’

Collaboration creates a classic win-win situation. Shell and our partners get greater efficiency and more cost-effective, results-oriented programs and, our communities get more positive economic impact as a direct result of working together.”

Early activities were centered around giving participants an opportunity to better understand each organization’s specific goals and capabilities, and identify the potential for collaboration. Speakers on relevant topics laid the groundwork for team activities designed as incubators for specific collaborative initiatives.

J. Michael Trevino, representing the American Petroleum Institute, gave an overview of the state of the oil and gas industry and projections for the immediate future. According to Trevino, “The oil and gas industry today generates 9.8 million jobs in the U.S. and represents 8% of our economy overall. It is projected to continue to grow as our energy needs grow for the foreseeable future.

What that means in terms of jobs, contracts for small businesses, and overall economic progress in the communities that support this industry is opportunity.”

The lunchtime speaker was Michele Ruiz of Ruiz Strategies. She focused on the growing importance of social media,”Technology has changed everything! The way we go through our days – operate, communicate, interact – and it is opening new possibilities for the ways we collaborate.”

Maria Carlota Palacios, Williams Public Outreach Business Partner, shared some concrete tips for structuring a successful collaboration and the importance of working together; “The energy industry is well-practiced in the art of collaboration. There are thousands of oil and gas companies! We would be on our way to potential failure if we did not collaborate.

There are around 1.5 Million non-profit organizations registered in the U.S.! The more they harness the power of opening up to collaboration, the greater the impact.” Participant Eduardo Pereira, Senior VP, Corporate Development of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce summed it up,  

“I applaud what Shell is doing here, getting us all together to collaborate. I think the key to success for the minority community is coming together and advocating as one, speaking with one voice for the benefit of all. That is the key to opening more doors and accomplishing more overall.


Shell Supplier Diversity

Damean Townsend



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