Supplier Diversity & Procurement Summit

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Join us for an exciting day of information and resources to enhance your supplier diversity and procurement opportunities! Attendees will have the opportunity to connect with governmental entities, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and professionals from various backgrounds. This event will provide a variety of educational opportunities aimed at increasing supply chain sustainability and fostering inclusivity and collaboration in supplier diversity. It will also include information on a diverse range of funding opportunities and offer guidance on becoming certified.

Space is limited, register today!


9:00 AM - 9:30 AM: Registration and breakfast

9:30 AM - 9:45 AM: Welcome and morning speakers

  • Lauren Hagan – Chief Financial Officer/Fiscal Officer, Columbus Metropolitan Library
  • Mayor Andrew J. Ginther – City of Columbus
  • Director Lydia Mihalik – Ohio Department of Development

9:45 AM - 10:00 AM: Agency remarks

  • Christina Vera – President, Columbus Board of Education
  • Kenneth Wilson – Administrator, Franklin County Board of Commissioners
  • Niel Jurist – Senior Director of Communications & Engagement, MORPC

10:00 AM - 10:10 AM: Transition to Breakout Sessions - Networking Break

10:10 AM - 11:10 AM: A.M. Breakout Sessions

  • Room 3B - How to get Certified (City of Columbus, Columbus City Schools, State of Ohio)
  • Room 3A - Procurement (City of Columbus, Columbus City Schools, Franklin County, State of Ohio)
  • Room 2B - Getting Contracts and Bidding (Columbus City Schools, Columbus Metropolitan Library, MORPC)

11:10 AM - 11:20 AM: Networking Break – Boxed Lunch Pickup

11:20 AM - 11:30 AM:  Agency Remarks

  • Councilmember Nicholas J. Bankston – Columbus City Council
  • Commissioner Kevin L. Boyce – President, Franklin County Board of Commissioners

11:30 AM - 12:45 PM: Lunch & Capital Funding Panel Discussion


  • Monica Womack – Chief, Minority Business Development Division, Ohio Department of Development


  • Deonna Barnett – CEO & Director of Consulting, Aventi Enterprises
  • Steve Fireman – President/General Counsel, ECDI
  • Malik Malone – Business Advisor, Ohio Minority Business Development Agency
  • Vonisha Turner – Business Development & Outreach Specialist, Freedom Equity
  • Jeffery Washington – Community Development Relationship Manager, Wright-Patt Credit Union

12:45 PM - 12:55 PM: Transition to Breakout Sessions - Networking Break

12:55 PM - 1:55 PM: P.M. Breakout Sessions

  • Room 3B - How to Get Certified (City of Columbus, Columbus City Schools, State of Ohio)
  • Room 3A - Procurement (City of Columbus, Columbus City Schools, Franklin County, State of Ohio)
  • Room 2B - Getting Contracts and Bidding (Columbus City Schools, Columbus Metropolitan Library, MORPC)

1:55 PM - 2:10 PM: Transition to Reading Room – Networking Break

2:10 PM - 2:30 PM: Closing Remarks

  • Dr. Kenyona Walker – Director of Equity, Columbus City Schools
  • Nina Brooks – Assistant Director, City of Columbus Office of Diversity and Inclusion

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM: Vendor Showcase – Current/Upcoming Procurement Opportunities

4:00 PM: Networking Reception - Brass Eye Rooftop at The Junto


Lauren Hagan
Lauren Hagan CFO CML

Lauren Hagan serves as the Chief Financial Officer of Columbus Metropolitan Library where she provides strategic leadership for the library’s finance and business functions.  With more than 15 years of experience in finance and operations leadership roles, Lauren began her career in public accounting. She also serves as a board member of the Affordable Housing Trust of Columbus and Franklin County. Lauren is a CPA and earned her MSA and BBA in accounting from Loyola University Chicago.

Mayor Andrew J. Ginther
Mayor Ginther headshotMayor Andrew J. Ginther is serving his third term as the 53rd mayor of the City of Columbus, Ohio. He previously served on Columbus City Council from 2007-15, and was president of Council from 2011 until assuming the Office of the Mayor on January 1, 2016. Under his leadership, Columbus has been named “America’s Opportunity City” while setting new records for job creation and population growth.

Mayor Ginther is uniquely committed to working with community, business, and faith and labor leaders to promote equitable opportunities for every Columbus resident. Signature initiatives include launching the Comprehensive Neighborhood Safety Strategy to reduce violent crime while realizing the most significant policing reforms in city history, such as civilian oversight of police and deploying body-worn camera technology; reducing infant mortality; expanding universal pre-kindergarten; creating the city’s first-ever Office of Diversity and Inclusion and appointing the city’s most diverse mayoral leadership cabinet; forming the Columbus Women’s Commission to advance the well-being of women in the workplace; and establishing the Department of Neighborhoods to lead community-driven investments for revitalization.

Acknowledging transportation as the great equalizer, Mayor Ginther is working to provide reliable, consistent transportation options so that all Columbus residents have convenient, equitable access to jobs, education and health care. During his first year in office, the city was awarded the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge Grant, making Columbus America’s “Smart City.”

A proud graduate of Columbus City Schools, Mayor Ginther was originally elected to the Columbus Board of Education in 2001 and re-elected in 2005 before joining Council. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Earlham College, studied abroad at the University of Ulster and Queen’s College in Northern Ireland, and taught at public schools in Belfast and Derry. He also completed consecutive internships at the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta, where he taught non-violence and dispute resolution.

Mayor Ginther, his wife – Shannon – and their daughter live in Columbus.

Director Lydia Mihalik

Lydia Mihalik is the Director of the Ohio Department of Development (Development), a state agency committed to empowering communities to succeed by investing in the people, places, and businesses of Ohio.

Prior to her appointment by Governor Mike DeWine in 2019, Director Mihalik served as the 55th Mayor of the City of Findlay in northwest Ohio. Her vision and leadership led to the revitalization of the city’s downtown, attracting new job creators from around the world, and Findlay being recognized by Site Selector Magazine as the top micropolitan in the nation for economic development and job creation every year since 2013.

Director Mihalik is putting that experience to work for Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted to make Ohio the best place to live, learn, work, and visit. Under her leadership, Development is bringing public- and private-sector partners together to accomplish the Administration’s priorities to build a thriving economy, invest in small businesses, prepare communities for the future, construct robust broadband infrastructure, and expand the skills of our workforce.

Director Mihalik earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Findlay and received an honorary doctorate in public service from the University of Rio Grande. She serves as chair of both the Ohio Tax Credit Authority and Third Frontier Commission, as well as co-chair of the Governor’s Expo 2050 Task Force. She is also a member of the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board, Ohio Exposition Commission, Broadband Expansion Authority, Ohio Economic Development Association Board of Directors, and SMART Columbus Board of Directors.

In 2019, the Fort Findlay chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) presented Director Mihalik with its Women in American History Award for her innovative contributions to the Findlay community during her tenure as mayor.

She and her husband, Drew, live in Findlay with their three children, Joseph, Elizabeth, and Delaney.

Christina Vera
Christina Vera

Christina Vera is serving her first term as a proud member of the Columbus Board of Education having been elected in 2021. She was elected as Board President in January 2024. Prior to being elected Board President, Ms. Vera also served as Board Vice President from January 2023 to January 2024. She is a proud graduate of Columbus City Schools’ Brookhaven High School, Class of 2003. Christina resides in the Columbus area of Mifflin Township with her husband Kent, and children Maritza, Julianna, and Adrian.

Christina has expertise in organizational leadership and multi-project management. She currently serves as Advisory Council Member at Otterbein University (WLN), and serves on the Gateways for Growth Steering Committee on behalf of Welcoming City. She is an alumna of United Way of Central Ohio, Project Diversity (Cycle 20), Latina Mentoring Academy (Cycle 1), LEAD Ohio (2021). Mrs. Vera is a former member of the National Association of Realtors® and the Columbus Board of Realtors®.

Christina has served her community in many capacities. For the past 13 years her professional experience is rooted in non-profit management and small business development. As the Co-Founder of Femergy®, and a serial entrepreneur, Mrs. Vera leads and develops teams through innovative strategy and effective communication to influence positive change and build organizational capacity.

Kenneth Wilson
KenWalkerKenneth N. Wilson was appointed to the position of county administrator in January 2015.  As county administrator, the highest unelected post in county government, Mr. Wilson leads 14 county agencies with more than 1,400 employees and oversees the county’s annual $1.99 Billion budgeting process for 35 agencies to ensure Franklin County remains one of the finest, best-governed counties in the nation.  He also directly supervisors the Department of Economic Development and Planning, Public Affairs, and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Mr. Wilson was hired in 2005 as director for the county’s Office of Management and Budget. In 2010, Mr. Wilson was elevated to the role of deputy county administrator for Resource Management, and previously oversaw other county agencies including Job and Family Services, the county’s largest social service agency. 

Prior to joining the county team, Mr. Wilson was director of policy for the Ohio Senate Minority Caucus. He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Ohio University and a B.A. from James Madison College at Michigan State University, where he majored in Public Affairs, Metropolitan Studies, and Business. 

He serves as president of the National Association of County Administrators, vice-chair of the National Association of Counties (NACo), vice-chair of the Ohio City/County Management Association, and on the NACo International Economic Development Task Force.

In addition, he holds positions with the National Association of Counties Health Steering Policy CommitteeHealthy Counties Initiative Advisory BoardNACo Programs and Services Standing CommitteeNACo's Large Urban County Caucus, the Ohio University Leadership and Public Affairs Advisory Committee, the United Way of Central Ohio board, Economic Mobility Coalition, Confluence Community Authority NCA, Hickory Chase Community Authority, Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, Greater Columbus Sports Commission, Future Ready Five, Experience Columbus, North Market Mixed-Use Project New Community Authority and is the designee for the Franklin County Investment Advisory Board and the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency

He also previously served as president of the County Administrators Association of Ohio.

Niel Jurist
Niel Jurist_Headshot

Níel Jurist is the senior director of the Communications & Engagement Department at MORPC, where she serves as the agency’s chief communications officer, overseeing marketing, media relations, outreach, DE&I, and creative direction for events. With nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, public relations, and communications, she previously served in government roles, including spokesperson for Gahanna's mayor and public information manager for its police department. She also worked for the Ohio Treasurer of State’s Office, Ohio Senate, YMCA of Central Ohio, and Franklin County Children Services. Jurist holds an MBA from Ashland University and a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from The Ohio State University. She holds an accreditation in Public Relations and certifications in crisis communication, media training, measurement and analysis, and risk reputation management.

Jurist is actively engaged in the community, serving on the Columbus Metropolitan Club's board, Leadership Columbus Curriculum Committee, and the Columbus Chapter of PRSA. She's previously held leadership roles in COPIN, the NAACP's Columbus Branch, and Delta Sigma Theta. An alum of the African American Leadership Academy (AALA) and Leadership Columbus, she received the 2021 Business First Outstanding Diversity Champion Award and was instrumental in the MORPC-Atlanta Regional Council (ARC) partnership's NARC Achievement Award.

Councilmember Nick Bankston
Nicholas J. Bankston 2024 Headshot

Councilmember Nick Bankston is a dedicated public servant and thoughtful leader on issues facing Columbus neighborhoods. At City Council, Councilmember Bankston chairs the Economic Development, Small & Minority Business, and Technology committees. A proud graduate of East High School and The Ohio State University and a lifelong resident of Columbus, Councilmember Bankston is a champion for the people of Columbus and is determined to make an impact in his community.

During his first two years on council, Councilmember Bankston became a proven leader in the Economic Development and Small and Minority Business space. He spearheaded policies that required businesses who received tax incentives from the City to pay the jobs associated with the incentive at least 20 dollars an hour, improved the visibility of the city's efforts in minority vendor procurement, and shepherded millions of dollars to support and grow small and minority businesses and the small and minority business ecosystem for the city.

Councilmember Bankston also serves as Director of Community Partnerships for Alvis, Inc. and is married to his beautiful and accomplished wife Habiba K. Bankston, Executive Director of Dress for Success Columbus; they reside in Northeast Columbus with their son Xavier Kamal Bankston in the McCutcheon Crossing neighborhood.

Commissioner Kevin Boyce
commissioner-kevin-boyceKevin L. Boyce was elected by the voters of Franklin County to serve as commissioner in 2016. Boyce brings experience as a State Representative, State Treasurer for Ohio and Columbus City Councilmember to the board of commissioners.

Boyce served as a State Representative for the 25th Ohio House District from May 2012 through 2016 where he served on the House Community and Family Advancement Committee, the Community and Family Advancement Subcommittee on Minority Affairs, House Finance Committee, House Finance Committee on Higher Education, House Rules and Reference Committee and the Controlling Board.

Prior to returning to public service as a state representative, Boyce served as the Managing Director for Rice Financial, a New York Investment banking firm that exclusively focused on assisting State, County, and City governments to finance capital projects.

Boyce has a long history of public service having previously served as a State Treasurer from 2009 to 2011. As State Treasurer, Boyce implemented a series of successful programmatic changes, through which, he reduced operating costs by 12 percent, slashed pension fund management fees by 63 percent, and launched the nation’s first web training for treasurers’ continued learning. His management of the institution earned him the distinguished partner award by the National Association of Securities Professionals. Boyce was also named Chairman of the Financial Literacy Committee for the National Association of State Treasurers.

Prior to his appointment as State Treasurer, Boyce served eight years as a member of the Columbus City Council, of which the last three he was elected as President Pro Tempore and served as Chairman of the Public Finance Committee. During his tenure on Council in Columbus (the 15th largest city in the nation, and the largest city in the country with a AAA Bond Rating from all three major bond rating agencies), he established a record of fiscal integrity, performance based budget practices, and oversaw the adoption of the city’s $1.3 billion dollar annual budget, which includes a capital budget of nearly $400 million dollars for roadways, neighborhood development, and infrastructure improvements. Additionally, Boyce founded the Columbus Youth Commission, significantly expanded parkland and greenways, advocated for stronger civil rights laws, and championed job creation strategies that led to the creation or retention of over 20,000 jobs in central Ohio.

Boyce also served as Executive Director of KnowledgeWorks Ohio, a non-profit organization created with the mission of improving Ohio’s school systems through public development and advocacy. During his tenure at KnowledgeWorks he was a part of a team that invested over $100 million dollars in Ohio’s public school systems, implementing cutting edge education models such as Project GRAD, Small Schools, and Early College.

Boyce earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from University of Toledo and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Central Michigan University. He is an active member of the historic St. Paul AME Church in Columbus, Ohio where he serves as a steward and is an active participant in activities for youth and young adults. Boyce and his wife Crystal have two sons, and reside in Columbus, Ohio.

Monica Womack
MonicaWMonica L. Womack is the Chief for the Minority Business Development Division at the Ohio Department of Development (Development). In her role, Monica provides vision and leadership to support the growth and sustainability of minority, women, and disadvantaged businesses in the state of Ohio. In doing so, she engages with strategic partners at all levels of government, develops private-sector partnerships, and listens to the needs of business owners.

Prior to her newest role, Monica served as an Associate Vice President with the Columbus Urban League. She provided leadership and operations oversight to both the Financial Empowerment Services department and the Workforce and Career Services department. In this role, Monica was able to leverage resources between programs to support constituents and business owners in the Central Ohio community.

Monica has a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Financial Management Services and a Master of Public Administration, both from Franklin University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in business administration with a focus on supporting the growth and sustainability of minority-owned businesses. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, and has one adult son, William Maynus II, who is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and lives in Lexington, Ky.

Deonna Barnett

Deonna Barnett is a business strategist with 15 years of experience in small business development.  She is the CEO & Director of Consulting of Aventi Enterprises, LLC, a strategic consulting firm based in Columbus, Ohio helping small businesses access capital and government contracts. Services include business strategy, business planning, preparation for financing, small business certification assistance, bid preparation, and contract financing. Aventi focuses its efforts on the development of women and minority-owned businesses by way of community partnerships, online education, and diversity initiatives. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University, former Board member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Columbus Chapter, and the Columbus Chamber’s 2024 Small Business Leader. She is a wife, mother of 4 boys, and the daughter of two entrepreneurs and musicians: Alison & LG Scott.

Steve Fireman
Steve Fireman crop

With three decades of management and legal services experience, Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI) President and General Counsel Steve Fireman provides programmatic and legal oversight, oversees all legal and regulatory matters, and steers the lawful development and implementation of ECDI’s business strategies. He leads the organization’s efforts to continually increase levels of support to entrepreneurs, with a focus on those within low-to-moderate-income communities and minority populations. Steve also devotes time to providing one-on-one support to ECDI clients.

Malik Malone

Malik L. Malone is a Business Advisor for the Minority Business Development Agency – a program funded through the U.S. Dept. of Commerce. The MBDA’s mission is to foster the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. businesses that are minority-owned. We help clients achieve their growth objectives by connecting them with prospective strategic partners through business-to-business matching, teaming arrangements, joint ventures, or other strategic advisory services.

Malik has long been in involved in the local community after launching Cardinal Health’s Supplier Diversity Program. With a skillset which includes strong networking and relationship building, he has effectively networked and leveraged strategic partnerships at the CSuite level throughout his career. Being a former student athlete at Bucknell University, collaboration and working within team dynamics are constantly being utilized.

Vonisha Turner

Vonisha Turner is the Business Development & Outreach Specialist at Freedom Equity, a thriving community development financial institution here in Columbus. Joining the Freedom Equity family since its inception in November 2022, she has been instrumental in empowering black entrepreneurs by providing invaluable technical guidance to catalyze business growth and sustainability. With a master’s in human resource management, Vonisha embodies a passion for fostering economic empowerment and entrepreneurial success within her community.

Jeffery Washington
JWashHeadshotJeffery brings over 15 years of financial service experience in management, relationship management, and project management, along with a tremendous passion for looking out for people and the community.

Jeffery combines his knowledge and passion for small business development with a successful history in evaluating industry trends, business development strategies, and insights focused on risk, operational management, and commercial lending to help his customers focus on what’s most important for their business.

Jeffery is a graduate of the University of Dayton and has an MBA from the University of Phoenix, where he studied Business Management and Global Economics. Jeffery is an Ohio native and brands himself as a forever Midwesterner.

When Jeffery is not helping local businesses succeed, he enjoys spending quality time with his family, watching movies and sports with friends, fitness training at the gym, or enjoying a good book, as he considers himself an avid reader.

Dr. Kenyona Walker
K.Walker HeadshotDr. Kenyona Walker is a 1997 graduate of Columbus City Schools. Currently, she serves as the Director of Equity at Columbus City Schools. Her oversight includes equity, research and the Local Economically Disadvantaged Enterprise program. Dr. Walker leverages her passion for education, engagement, and equity by building the capacity of others to foster equity and diversity in educational contexts.

Dr. Kenyona Walker is a certified DEI professional who has taught graduate-level equity courses and published research related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. with demonstrated success.

 As an agile evaluator and researcher, Dr. Walker enjoys focusing her efforts on educational equity and access, with a keen focus on the educational experiences of Black women and girls, in addition to the role of parents, educators and the community in equitable education. Dr. Walker led the Staying and Thriving: Cultivating Community with and for Black Women Undergraduate Students in the College of Education and Human Ecology program as a Principal Investigator a program designed to increase the sense of belonging of Black women students at The Ohio State University. She sits on the board of the Institute of Education Sciences’ Regional Educational Laboratory for the Midwest region. Dr. Walker develops blueprints for the intersection of research and practice to reimagine what true equity in education can be. 

Jason Jenkins

Jason is serving as the Chief Diversity Officer and Executive Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. In his role, he oversees diversity and inclusion management for the City of Columbus providing strategic oversight and policy guidance on key initiatives to support supplier diversity, workforce diversity, and equity. The Mayor’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion is responsible for advancing efforts to shape Columbus into “America’s Equal Opportunity City” and supports opportunities for every individual, family and community to share in the economic prosperity of Columbus.

A graduate of Otterbein University, he received his B.A. in Sociology and his B.S. in Computer Science. In addition, he is a Columbus Business First C-Suite Award honoree and Outstanding Diversity Champion honoree, a graduate of the African-American Leadership Academy and is Lean Six Sigma Certified.


  • Wednesday, May 15, 2024 | 09:00 AM - 04:00 PM


Columbus Metropolitan Library - Main Branch, 96 S Grant Avenue, Columbus, OH, 43215, View Map