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WEConnect International invites you to kick off the WBENC National Conference and Business Fair with International Day - an opportunity for our international delegations of women business owners and corporate members to engage through business matchmaking and networking. Attendees will broaden their business reach and hone their skills through rich content and interactive sessions; then, return home energized - ready to take your business to the next level!

We welcome our Corporate Members; WEConnect International certified Women's Business Enterprises; WBENC certified Women's Business Enterprises; WEConnect International self-registered women-owned businesses; our partners and government entities.

The WBENC National Conference & Business Fair will take place the week of June 18th in Detroit, Michigan, USA. It is the largest conference of its kind for women business owners in the U.S. For questions about the WBENC Conference and to register, click here: http://conf.wbenc.org/



The following corporations have registered for the 2018 International Day. Don't miss out!

AbbVie Inc. • Accenture • Adient  • Bank of America  Cargill • Delta Air Lines, Inc. • ExxonMobil • EY • Ford Motor Company • Hilton • IBM • Ingersoll Rand • Intel Corp. • Johnson & Johnson • Marriott International • Monsanto • PG&E • Procter & Gamble • Sodexo • Strategic Staffing Solutions • The Boeing Company The Coca-Cola Company • The World Bank Group • UPS • Valvoline • Walmart • Yanfeng Global Automotive Interior Systems


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Preliminary Agenda - June 18, 2018

International Day – Full Day Event Hosted by WEConnect International at the 2018 WBENC National Conference & Business Fair
Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center: Detroit, Michigan, USA

  8:00 – 9:00 am Registration and Networking Breakfast
  9:00 – 9:05 am Welcome Remarks
  9:05 am – 9:55 am    

Panel: Opportunities and Challenges in Entering Local and Global Value Chains: What Corporations Look for in Working with New Businesses
Gain insights from multinational corporations on how to become one of their suppliers, common pitfalls to avoid when bidding on RFPs, and tips that make a bid stand-out.
• Moderator: Nedra Dickson, Global Supplier Diversity and Sustainability Lead, Accenture

• Colleen Mascia, Senior Manager, Supplier Diversity, Global Procurement, Pfizer
• Curt Bastianelli, Executive Director, Indirect Procurement, Adient
• Darlene Fuller, Senior Director, Supplier Diversity, Sodexo
• Jackie Watt, Director, Supply Chain Sustainability, Ford Motor Company

  10:00 am – 10:50 am

Panel: What Success Looks Like, Perspectives from Around the World
Learn from other successful WEConnect International certified women’s business enterprises how they secured their pivotal break, what they wish they had known earlier, and how to make the most of the corporate roundtables today and the WBENC activities this week.
• Moderator: Casey Oakes, Director, Supplier Diversity, Marriott International
• Farida Gibbs, Chief Executive, Gibbs Hybrid
• Tara Bosch, CEO & Co-Founder, SmartSweets
• Ayanda Mzondeki, Managing Director & Founder, Liyema Consulting

  10:50 am – 11:00 am Break
  11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Roundtable Discussion: Growing Global Together 

Corporate representatives and WEConnect International certified women’s business enterprises (WBEs)discuss current challenges and best practices in expanding into global markets, what are some of the most impactful lessons learned when looking to either grow globally with a corporation or expand business operations on your own. 
  12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Networking Lunch with Keynote Speaker Mei Xu, Founder and CEO, Chesapeake Bay Candle

  1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

CONCURRENT SESSION: Certified Women’s Business Enterprises: Roundtable Discussions with Corporate Members
Interact with Corporate Buyers during this dynamic, fast-paced, high-touch session for WEConnect International and WBENC Certified Women’s Business Enterprises.  Certified businesses will meet with the top 3-4 corporations they want to do businesses with—making those hard to secure personal connections easier.

CONCURRENT SESSION: Maximizing the WEConnect International Network
An opportunity for self-registered women-owned businesses, government representatives, and partner organizations to learn how to get the most out of the WEConnect network.

  3:00 pm Close of Program
  3:15 pm - 4:00 pm

Optional: Building Connections Between International Women Business Enterprises
Create connections and gain invaluable insight from fellow WEConnect International and WBENC Certified Women’s Business Enterprises on the triumphs and challenges of business growth and global scale for women entrepreneurs around the world.

  5:00 pm - 5:45 pm  VIP Corporate Reception
  5:30pm – 7:30pm

General Admission: International Day Reception – Sponsored by Freeport-McMoRan



“I come to WEConnect International events to learn how to pitch my business, which I think is hard and I learn with other WBEs. The other is to connect with corporates in particular…. To be able to say we’ve also made contact with the procurement and diversity part of businesses can make a big difference.” – Fionna Blades, MESH.

“International Day is exposure to people, to products, to clients that we would never have interacted with had we been in our country.” – Vimala Ariyan, South African Institute of Learning.

“We attend WEConnect International events because it’s a huge opportunity not only to meet with corporate clients, but to meet with other women-owned businesses, as well.” – Miriam Dervan, MD Group.

“I participate in WEConnect International Day and other WEConnect International events throughout the year because there are so many connections that can be made that improve Monsanto’s business and what we can offer back to the community in purchasing goods and services from women owned businesses.” –Brenda Cockrell, Monsanto.