• October 5, 2015
    8:00 am - 5:00 pm


Join us Monday, October 5th, at 8:00 a.m., at the Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa, in Riverside, MO for this year’s Business Opportunity Exchange and regional Awards Luncheon.  This year’s Business Opportunity Exchange provides our corporate members and certified MBEs with an opportunity to strengthen and create winning partnerships though our supplier development workshops for Corporations and MBEs; or by celebrating our regional award honorees in 7 categories. Click here to view the award categories.
All Day Access Passes and Sponsorships include the following:
  • State of Minority Business: Economic Outlook Breakfast
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Nationally Acclaimed Workshops, Presenters, and Moderators
  • Creating Winning Partnerships: Wystone World Teas and MillerCoors
  • Regional Awards Luncheon
  • Connection Zone participation
  • Closing Reception
*Sponsorships, committed after 9/25, will receive web-based, podium, and event day recognition. 
  • Individual: All Day Access Passes $100
  • Individual: State of Minority Business: Economic Outlook Breakfast $40
  • Individual: Regional Awards Luncheon $50
  • Table: State of Minority Business: Economic Outlook Breakfast $400
  • Table: Regional Awards Luncheon $500


Click here to Register

Schedule of Events:

  • 8:00 a.m. Registration
  • 8:30 a.m. State of Minority Business: Economic Update Breakfast
    Presented by: Dell Gines, Sr. Community Development Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank-Kansas City and
    Helena Haynes-Carter, Director, Minority Business Development Agency Center-Denver CO
  • 9:45 a.m. A View From the Top-Benefits of Corporate Membership
    A View From the Top-The Importance of the MBEIC
    Sponsorship Opportunities are still available! Early Bird Registration $100 for MBEs until 9/15!
  • 11:45 a.m. Awards Luncheon
  • 1:00 p.m. Connection Zone (1:1)
  • 3:30 p.m. Networking Reception


Today, is your opportunity to start “Creating Winning Partnerships”, register to attend the Business Opportunity Exchange and regional Awards Luncheon.
Argosy V, Kansas City’s first riverboat casino, opened in June 1994 and welcomed guests for two-hour gambling cruises along the Missouri River. The vessel offered video poker and table games including blackjack, craps and live poker.
Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa is now a full service, conveniently located just north of Kansas City, MO on I-635.
A Penn National Gaming property, Argosy Casino Hotel & Spa is a world-class Las Vegas style casino and resort destination, with a commitment to supplier diversity and developing ongoing business relationships with diverse and minority suppliers.
It’s no secret that by the year 2050, the majority of the U.S. population will consist of ethnic groups previously considered minorities. To ensure that Penn National Gaming’s suppliers reflect our present and future customer base, and society as a whole, we are committed to establishing ongoing relationships with minority, women and disadvantaged-owned businesses and to further their growth and development. We encourage joint venturing, subcontracting, mentoring and Tier II programs, and participate in training workshops and procurement forums that will assist vendors in reaching their full potential. At Penn National Gaming Inc. we value diversity and consider it an important and necessary tool that enables us to maintain a competitive edge in today’s ever-changing marketplace.

State of Minority Business:  The Economic Outlook for KS/MOStateofminbiz
Dell Gines, Sr. Community Development Advisor – Federal Reserve Bank
Helena Haynes-Carter, Director – Minority Business Development Agency
Moderated by: Clyde McQueen, President & CEO, Full Employment Council

State of Minority Business:  The Economic Outlook for Kansas and Missouri
At the Mountain Plains MSDC, we realize not all states are created equal when it comes to providing opportunity to minority firms.  Today’s economy is the strongest it’s been since 2007, as the US economic recovery continues; many markets have surpassed their pre-recession peaks.

Dell Gines
Senior Community Development Advisor
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
Dell Gines is the Senior Community Development Advisor for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He focuses on innovative community development strategies designed to help transform rural and inner-city communities. Dell is a nationally recognized speaker on the subject of entrepreneurship based economic development and is the author of the Grow Your Own Guide, a short primer on how to build urban and rural economies using entrepreneurship. In 2013, he designed and launched Econ Avenue, an innovative grassroots led community economic development project that received national attention when Federal Reserve Board Chair, Janet Yellen, referenced it in her first public speech. Dell is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and holds a Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Finance and PHD candidate. In 2011, he was recognized by the Omaha Jaycees as a TOYO award recipient for being on of the top ten Omahans under the age of forty making an impact in the community.
helena haynes carter

Helena Haynes-Carter
Executive Director
Denver MBDA Business Center
Helena Haynes-Carter is Executive Director of the MBDA Business Center in Denver, Colorado. The Denver MBDA Business Center is one of 44 national centers funded by the Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency. Since 2011 Ms. Haynes-Carter has been responsible for the launch and growth of the Center’s operations. Under her leadership the organization has facilitated contracts and procurements in excess of $565 million and financial transactions of more than $333 million.Ms. Haynes-Carter is a corporate strategist and development expert known for producing top tier results for non-profit, corporate and government entities.
Prior to her position with the Denver MBDA, she was the Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Manager of Supplier Diversity for Xcel Energy, Assistant Vice President of Corporate Relations for U.S. Bank and Senior Strategic Marketing and Program Development Manager for a top western region housing finance authority.Her stellar career also includes working as a statistician for Standard & Poor’s and managing small business, human resource, and budget functions for a leading U.S. transit provider.Ms. Haynes-Carter is a national speaker and facilitator. Some of the publications featuring her accomplishments include: Electric Perspectives, Diversity/Careers Diversity Plus, Minority Business News, and Denver Women’s Magazine.

She has earned degrees from the University of Colorado and Colorado State University.
She has received numerous awards and serves on numerous boards, councils, and committees in an advisory capacity.

Clyde R. McQueen
President and Chief Executive Officer
Full Employment Council
Clyde R. McQueen serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Midwest region’s premier job training and placement enterprise, the Full Employment Council (FEC) – Missouri Career Center. Since 1987, FEC has been the planning and operations entity for two Workforce Investment Boards, serving the counties of Jackson, Clay, Platte, Cass and Ray and the city of Kansas City, Missouri. He directs more than 80 employees and administers a $19 million budget for job training, education and economic development activities. He previously served as the State Division Director of Training and Employment Development for the Texas Department of Community Affairs. This department had a $160 million budget that financed workforce development programs for urban and rural communities through the state of Texas. In addition, he chaired the Economic Development Review Committee, which oversaw a $10 million Economic Development fund which financed Workforce/Economic Development programs.Prior to this assignment, Clyde served as the Administrator of Technical Programs in the Texas Economic Development Commission. In this position Clyde worked as a Technical Assistance Administrator where he worked with communities and various business/economic development groups to develop strategies for attracting business and industry into specific regions of the state of Texas. Prior to that time, Clyde worked at the same agency assisting small and minority businesses to secure financing, management and technical assistance, as well as procurement of private, state, and federal contracts.Clyde holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Speech Communications and Political Science from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. He currently serves as a member of the Federal Reserve Bank Community Development Advisory Council and Alliance for Economic Inclusion, Chair of the Federal Affairs Committee, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Clay County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, Local Initiatives Support Corporation Advisory Board, United Way Income Impact Council, and the United Services Community Action Agency Board. He previously served as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Workforce Development Council, Chairman of the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Research Medical Center Board, and was appointed as a member to the Missouri Automobile Task Force under Governor Jay Nixon. He has served on the Missouri Community Service Commission, as Clyde received recognition from “Professional of the Year” by the Missouri Association of Workforce Development, “Local Hero” by Ingram’s Magazine, “Job Training Professional for the Year” by the National Alliance of Business, “Distinguished Service Award” by the Texas Association of SDA Administrators and “Top State Manager” by the State of Texas.

Sponsored by:

10 – 11:30 a.m.
Corporate View from the Top:  The Benefits of an Effective Supplier Diversity Programcorporateview
Byron Witherspoon, Manager – Office of Supplier Diversity, Ameren
Maria Jenks, Vice President-Supply Chain, Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L)
Moderated by: Joyce Christiano Manager – Supplier Diversity, Sprint Corporation.
When diversity is infused in the company fabric it transcends from “good faith efforts” to “deliberate and intentional acts” to identify and engage in B2B transactions with NMSDC Certified Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs). This session will address innovative ways in which companies create winning partnerships across industries to help build and develop supplier diversity programs.  Join Ameren and KCP&L as they discuss their supplier diversity alliance around the Missouri Energy Development Association (MEDA), best practices, constructive and solution-oriented input on issues affecting minority-owned businesses will also be shared with participants.

Byron Witherspoon
Director, Supplier Diversity
Byron Witherspoon is the Director, Supplier Diversity at Ameren responsible for establishing and implementing the strategic vision for Ameren’s Supplier Diversity program.
Witherspoon has 20 years’ experience developing and executing Supplier Diversity programs specifically designed to provide meaningful contract opportunities for diverse suppliers for both the public and private sectors.
As a St. Louis native, Witherspoon earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Southeast Missouri State University in Social Work and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy Administration from the University of Missouri St. Louis. Witherspoon is a Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD) by the Institute of Supply Management and an accredited Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute.
In 2013, Witherspoon was recognized in MBNUSA magazine as one of the Top 75 Leading Men in Corporate Supplier Diversity. Witherspoon is also a recipient of the Diversity Excellence and Advocacy Diversity Champion Award by the St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers (SLCCC).
Currently, Witherspoon is actively involved in the Edison Electrical Institute’s (EEI) Supplier Diversity Taskforce, the St. Louis Minority Business Council certification review panel and he is also a member of the St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers Diversity Committee.

Maria Jenks
Vice President of Supply Chain
Kansas City Power & Light
As Vice President of Supply Chain for Kansas City Power & Light, Maria Jenks has successfully led the organization through multiple change initiatives, including a new, center-led supply chain function, bringing together employees from functional areas including procurement, materials, and logistics. Currently, Maria is leading a multi-year strategic supply chain transformation project which will deliver cost savings and efficiencies through programs focused on category and supplier relationship management and various automation projects.Maria’s leadership extends to many areas of the organization, including Light Source, a mentoring program supporting minority and women-owned businesses. She has worked to expand the program, which has been benchmarked and emulated by other companies in and outside of the utility sector. KCP&L’s Supplier Diversity Program has been recognized regionally and nationally, including the National Supplier Diversity Excellence Award from the Edison Electric Institute, as well as awards from the State of Kansas, Minority Supplier Development Council, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Asian Chamber of Commerce and Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.Before being named Vice President, Maria served in various other roles such as Director of Audit Services and Manager of Corporate Accounting for KCP&L. From 1996 to 2003, Maria served as Western Region Vice President & Controller with Trigen Energy Corporation, a subsidiary of Suez. Maria began her career at Payless Cashways, Inc. where she held several roles in the accounting function.

Maria completed the Executive Development Program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Emerging Leaders Program from Central Exchange. She graduated with Honors with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accountancy from Miami University in Ohio. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Institute of Supply Management, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and Financial Executives International. In 2012, Maria was recognized by Ingrams’ Magazine as one of Kansas City’s Top Women Executives. She was a “Kansas City Women Who Mean Business” Honoree in 2011.

Joyce Christanio
Sr. Manager of Supplier Diversity
Sprint Corporation
Joyce was named Senior Manager of Supplier Diversity with Sprint in 2009. In this role she is responsible for supporting corporate business leaders in their efforts to meet supplier diversity objectives and managing the organization’s outreach efforts. Under Joyce’s leadership Sprint’s supplier diversity spend has grown over the past two years by 30% creating a world-class Supplier Diversity brand at Sprint. As a successful advocate on behalf of many organizations, Sprint has been named as one of the Top 30 Companies for Supplier Diversity by Black Enterprise, Corporation of the Year by the Kansas Department of Commerce, selected by PODER magazine and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as one of the Top 50 Companies for Supplier Diversity; recognized several times as a million dollar member by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; recognized as one of Ten Best Corporations for Veteran-Owned Businesses by Vetrepreneur and recognized by Greenlining Institute, in support of the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC), with an “A” grade for doing business with California certified minorities, women and service-disabled veteran owned businesses.
One of Joyce’s major accomplishments was the development and implementation of the Procurement Reward Program. This innovative program awards cash to buyers who use creative negotiation strategies to include diverse suppliers in contract awards. Other accomplishments include writing and implementing Sprint’s online Supplier Diversity training course, modifying contract language to increase diverse participation, and leading efforts to align the supply chain and the sales organizations with Sprint’s Supplier Diversity Team.
Dedicated efforts to promote supplier diversity have brought Joyce numerous honors and awards. She is an inductee as a Kansas City Black Achiever; twice named as one of the Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity by DiversityPlus Magazine; recognized by the Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council as Supplier Diversity Advocate of the year; recipient of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Diversity Ace Award; received Award of Merit as Kansas Minority Business Advocate; MBN USA Champion; Recognized by Who’s Who Publishing as a Black Kansas City professional; and received Sprint’s prestigious Circle of Excellence Award.
Joyce has served on several boards and committees: Midwest Women’s Business Enterprise Council; California Utilities Diversity Council; National Veteran-owned Business Association; California Disabled Veteran Business Alliance, Thinking Bigger Business; KC Federal Executive Board for Small Businesses; National Minority Supplier Development Council and two-term Chair of the Technology Industry Group.
Joyce is also author of “Dressing Classy Doesn’t Change” which provides women a few do’s and don’ts of professional workplace attire.
Joyce’s Quote: “Remember to send the elevator back down to a less fortunate individual upon achieving career success.”

10 – 11:30 a.m.
MBE View from the Top:  The Importance of the MBEIC and How to Make it Work for YOU!
Clifford A. Bailey, NMSDC MBEIC Chairperson – President & CEO, TechSoft Systems, Inc.
As the liaison between the Council’s corporate members and the voice of the MBE community, the Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee (MBEIC) is a standing committee of the NMSDC.  As the global leader in advancing business opportunities for certified African American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American business enterprises, connecting these businesses to our corporate members in an effort to increase procurement opportunities and enhance supplier diversity is critical to expanded growth.  This session will address the overall mission of the Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee (MBEIC) and why it is organized specifically to provide to Board members and the Council constructive and solution-oriented input on issues affecting minority-owned businesses, and to promote Council programs and activities.
Clifford A. Bailey
President & CEO
TechSoft Systems, Inc.
Clifford A. Bailey is President & CEO of TechSoft Systems, Inc. an IT Support Services Provider specializing in network management and monitoring, cybersecurity, and outsourcing. Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, since 1983, TechSoft Systems offers a wide range of services to maximize customers’ technological investments.Clifford A. Bailey is an advocate for small businesses and a driving force in community reconciliation and development. Mr. Bailey is a leader devoted to education, employment, and economic development, and is active with organizations that share these same passions.He serves on the Boards of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, the Ohio Minority Supplier Development

Council and the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) where he is also serves as the National Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee (NMBEIC) Chair. Mr. Bailey has also served on the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority Board, Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council, and the Boards of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber (as Vice Chair) and the Downtown Cincinnati, Inc. (as Chair).

Clifford A. Bailey is recognized as a frank, candid, and honest leader. He has the skills, ability, and experience to inspire, motivate and lead. Mr. Bailey speaks nationally to business and student groups and in front of corporations and public audiences on the topics of leadership, economic development, emotional intelligence and change management.

11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Regional Awards Luncheon
Creating Winning PartnershipsWinningpart
Wy Livingston, Wystone’s World Teas – President  & CEO
Moderated by: Kelly Scanlon, President & CEO, Thinking Bigger Business Media, Inc.
When the opportunity presented itself, Ms. Livingston was ready for the challenge.  Hear how Wystone World Class Tea’s was able to create a winning partnership with MillerCoors.
The Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council will recognize the exemplary individuals, companies, and MBEs within the Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri regions.

Wy Livingston
President and CEO
Wystone’s World Teas Holding, Inc.
Ms. Livingston is the President and CEO of Wystone’s World Teas Holding, Inc. The tea enterprise consists of a tea bar, café and retail establishment, wholesale, product development, special events and promotions and a franchise division. Prior to beginning her adventure in tea, she was the Senior Vice President of Operations for Pulte Homes, the largest homebuilder in the country. While at Pulte she managed as many as 800 employees being responsible for Mortgage Operations, Planning and Analysis, Quality Assurance, and Training departments. She also served on the Pulte Homes’ Diversity Council.
Prior to joining Pulte, Ms. Livingston served as the Executive over operations and service areas in several Fortune 500 companies including AIG as Senior Vice President of nationwide annuity operations and Federal Express as Regional Senior manager overseeing customer service and new center openings. Ms. Livingston received her B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Denver. Her involvement in community resulted in her being appointed by Governor Hickenlooper to the Colorado Workforce Development Council and is an appointed Pay Equity Commissioner. You can see her on Tea Time with Wy, her regular television segment on KDVR and she has her own radio show every Friday onGOMILEHIGH.COM where her listeners tune in from around the world.

Kelly Scanlon
Thinking Bigger Business Media, Inc.
Kelly Scanlon is the owner of Thinking Bigger Business Media, Inc., a company that publishes and produces a variety of products and events that connect growth-minded business owners with practical strategies, resources and information that will take them to the next level of success. The company publishes monthly and annual business magazines, web content, e-newsletters, and produces a radio show, as well as several networking, educational and awards events, including the annual 25 Under 25® awards that recognize 25 companies with fewer than 25 employees.
Kelly serves on a variety of boards designed to advocate and assist small businesses. She served on the national board of directors for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), and is a past national chair of the organization. In 2009-2010, she served as the national public policy director. She was also a member of the organization’s National Advisory Council. She has twice served as president of NAWBO’s Kansas City Chapter.
Kelly was a member of the steering committee for the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s BIG 5 Entrepreneurship initiative. She is also a founding member of StartKC and also served on the Small Diverse and Emerging Business Council for the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and on the Johnson County Community College Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization’s advisory board.
She was recognized in August 2011 on a list published by Forbes.com as one of the “Top 25 Women Tweeting About Entrepreneurship.”
Sponsored by:
1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Connection Zone
This event is designed to facilitate “true” opportunity discussions with companies that have “active” procurement opportunities.  The goal of the connection Zone meeting is to facilitate interaction between MBEs and purchasing decision makers.
3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Closing Reception
Recap the day’s activities and highlights as you network connect with and develop new relationships as you unwind during our closing networking cocktail reception.
Sponsored by:
Thank you to our sponsors: 
Whayne & Sons

Corporation of the Year

The nominations for this prestigious award are submitted by certified Minority Business Enterprises of the Mountain Plains MSDC. It is the sole responsibility of the Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee (MBEIC) to evaluate all nominations and determine the winner of this particular award.
The Corporation of the Year Award recognizes the corporation or government agency that, in the opinion of the certified minority business owners, has best evidenced its commitment to minority business development during the past year. The award is regarded as the most significant honor to a major corporation for the utilization of minority suppliers.


MBE-to-MBE Award

This award is given to the minority supplier who continuously seeks ways to engage in business with other minority suppliers. They completely understand and embrace the concept and importance of supplier diversity not only within the business supply chain of cororate America and governmental entities but also within their supply chain. In addition, they mentor and advise other minority businesses on how to be successful. Nominations for this award are submitted by Minority Business Enterprises certified by Mountain Plains MSDC.

Click here to download the MBE-to-MBE Award Nomination Form

Supplier of the Year (Class 1 thru 4) Award

These awards are given to minority suppliers who distinguish themselves and their business by successfully demonstrating growth in sales and employment while overcoming significant obstacles, consistently providing high quality products and services at competitive prices, and significantly contributing to the growth and development of society in their community.

To be considered for an award, an MBE must be nominated by a corporate member and certified as a minority business by the Mountain Plains MSDC or National Minority Supplier Development Council.

Click here to download the Supplier of the Year (Classes 1 thru 4) Nomination Form

Advocate of the Year Award

This award recognizes and individual who has been instrumental in creating, leading or implementing minority business advocacy activities within their organization or throughout the community or state. The award recipient is someone who lends their experience and takes the risks needed to improve the access of minority businesses with both corporate American and governmental entities.

Click here to download the Advocate of the Year Award Nomination Form



Click here to Register

Date: Monday, October 5, 2015 

More Information to Come! 

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