Ciena Supplier Diversity & Small Business Program

Ciena Corporation is a supplier of telecommunications equipment and services that support the delivery and transport of voice, video and data service (wikipedia)

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Trump’s new tax plan is good for business, but bad for low income families

President Trump released his new tax plan for America, and it delivers on his promise to lower corporate tax rates.  According to USA Today, “Trump’s plan would lower corporate tax rates to 15% from the current 35%. It would also reduce the business income rates paid by the so-called pass-through businesses – including many small businesses formed as partnerships and limited liability companies and some larger entities like hedge funds – to 15%.”

The huge decrease is being labeled as a victory for small and large businesses alike, but it is also being criticized for government support.  The age old argument of the government being too big is a reasonable one.  With around $20 trillion in national debt, it is logical to want to decrease government spending as much as possible while (possibly) decreasing the amount regular Americans spend towards it.  Unfortunately, Trump’s new tax plan decreases business tax expenses, but keeps spending at current levels.  With the current tax plan, we will undoubtedly see our government debt rise further than under the Obama administration.

That was always the major criticism with the “Trump” plan.  He gave promises towards creating a better healthcare plan, tax cuts, and improved support to combat illegal immigration, but never offered a solid plan on how he would pay for them.  This only furthers the question of “where is the money coming from?”  The Trump administration has argued it will help improve GDP but that’s been proven to not be accurate.  As we learned from Obama’s stimulus plan, when businesses gain extra money, they don’t hire as many people as the government, or the nation would need for it to be sustainable.  While Trump is willing to offer incentives, I’m not sure he can afford the type of incentives needed to make this project work on a large scale.

So why is this bad for low income families?  Well currently about $300 billion is spent on low income programs by the federal government.  These programs are necessary for the less fortunate.   Not in some altruistic idea, but for a nation to be sustainable, those at the bottom need assistance to gain opportunities at the middle or top.  With the drop in taxes, businesses will make more sure, but programs will have to be cut.

But can’t these businesses hire those lower income people now with their additional funds?  In most cases no.  If a company in New York gets an additional $500 million – $1 billion in income, people in states that are most negatively affected, such as Mississippi, Louisiana, and the like will not be able to reap the benefits due to location, and skill set.  As a small business owner I support tax cuts, but if it causes the lower class to drop even further, and exacerbates the disappearance of the middle class, then I cannot support it.  Yes our taxes should be lower than 35%, but maybe 15% is a bit too low.  Hopefully President Trump can find a happy medium moving forward.

Exelon Company ComEd spends over $700 million with diverse suppliers

Exelon affiliate ComEd achieved record spend levels with diverse suppliers last year, finishing 2016 with $777 million in diverse spend.  Purchases include spend with minority, women, and veteran owned organizations.

In 2011, the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA) created the smart grid program to help modernize its system for its 3.9 million customers.  According to Yahoo, ” The legislation established a broad range of performance metrics for utilities, including increased spending with diverse suppliers, by at least 15 percent over 10 years.”  ComEd has exceeded that goal hitting $4 billion in increased spend, $1.6 billion being with diverse suppliers.

ComEd’s $777 million accounts for 33% of the company’s total spend and is a 19% increase from its 2015 spend. “Since the smart grid program began in 2012, ComEd’s diverse spend has increased by 362 percent, creating opportunities for minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses. In 2016, ComEd added 132 diverse suppliers, a 26-percent increase, for a total of 516 certified-diverse suppliers.”

Exelon affiliate’s have a habit of hitting record highs over the past few years and Supplierty News salutes each and every one.

#WeAreNMSDC Podcast Episode 5: Three Leaf Productions – Family Values

On the fifth episode of the #WeAreNMSDC Podcast campaign, we chat with Ron Stokes, President & CEO of Three Leaf Productions / HM Marketing, LLC.  Before we begin, I want to personally thank each and every one of you for following the weekly podcast thus far!  Without your support we could not have reached so many listeners to date.

Three Leaf Productions / HM Marketing, LLC is a full service marketing firm focusing on print media, marketing and creative services, and warehouse fulfillment.  On today’s episode, Stokes discusses his 14 years of business experience, the importance of mentorship, and why family is critical to the success of his business.

To learn more about the organization, simply listen to the podcast!!!! For a brief summary of our conversation, check out the 5 Fast Facts section below.

0:30 The Ohio State University and the school up north.
1:23 How The Jeffersons convinced Ron Stokes to become a business owner.
3:11 Starting a business in 2003.
5:20 How has Three Leaf productions evolved over the past 14 years?
7:08 What are the benefits and challenges of working with family members?
10:46 Creating a succession plan for a business
12:33 How does Three Leaf Productions utilize the offerings of NMSDC and the OhioMSDC
14:44 Tips / Advice from Ron Stokes on attending an NMSDC function
17:55 What are some of the challenges Three Leaf Productions faces over the next year?
19:25 Chasing the carrot with your customer.
20:27 Every person needs a mentor
21:22 Final Thoughts

WeAreNMSDC 5 Facts about Three Leaf Productions

  1. Ron Stokes started out as a salesman for one of the largest family owned newspaper organizations in Columbus, Ohio.  Stokes was really good at his job, finishing in the Top 5 every year for over a decade.
  2. Ron Stokes is all about mentorship. When starting Three Leaf Productions, a mentor who had been successful with his own business helped Stokes create the structure for his business.
  3. Three Leaf Productions is a proud family owned business, employeeing Ron Stokes, his wife, children and cousins. They do not strictly hire family members however and are always open to employing talent from all over
  4. Maximizing the benefits of your NMSDC certification is all about engagement. Since 2003, Three Leaf Productions has never missed a national function.
  5. Books are important! Not just business books, but personal relationship books as well. Ron Stokes suggests the following 2 books for business owners looking to improve themselves moving forward: 1) How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and 2) Skill With People by Les Giblin

Supplierty News in conjunction with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) have teamed up to connect with NMSDC corporate and MBE members for podcast interviews. These conversations will highlight the benefits of supplier diversity programs from the personal experiences of both corporate and minority-owned businesses. If you’re interested in supporting the effort, Follow both Supplierty News and the NMSDC on Twitter, Linkedin, and Facebook, and visit their websites for more information. Also don’t forget to mention #WeAreNMSDC on all social media platforms.

The FCC champions diversity in the communications industry

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is committed to correcting the diversity problem within the communications industry. In order to fulfill their goal, the FCC is planing to work with a committee to consulate the agency on ways to promote diversity. Members of the general public will be asked to provide recommendations to FCC’s panel that will be called the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Entertainment. Ajiti Pai, chairman of the FCC, provided some feedback on the company’s plans to promote diversity. “For example, the Committee could help the FCC promote diversity in the communications industry by assisting in the establishment of an incubator program and could identify ways to combat digital redlining the concern that minority or poorer communities are covered by worse telecom infrastructure.“

The current initiative to promote diversity within the FCC is not the first of its kind for the agency. The Advisory Committee for Diversity was actually created before but since 2013 has been inactive. Although this is a valiant effort, the FCC is still receiving criticism from some for allegedly “redlining” possible diversity strategies.  Pai has confirmed that more details will be released moving forward.

We better get the Tuskegee Airmen in the new Call of Duty World War 2 game!

When it was announced that the Call of Duty (COD) franchise was going back to its World War 2 roots, I was relieved and shocked.  As many people know, the Call of Duty Modern War / Black Ops / Futuristic robotic siege had become quite a nuisance, falling far from what made the game special in the first place.  While I won’t go into the details, I will state that COD was in a much need of a revamping / come to Jesus moment.  At the same time, finding out that the franchise was going back to World War 2 was a bit disconcerting.  After all how many World War 2 video games do we really need at this point?

I mean seriously, how many times are companies going to sell us the chance to shoot Nazis?  I get that, in terms of big modern wars, World War 2 is the only one with an easily identifiable “villain”, but there is a limit, or at least there should be right?

Regardless, with the understanding that COD was releasing a new game covering World War 2, I couldn’t help but consider the possibilities.  What would make this game unique?  What would make this WW2 game memorable and separate it from the pack?

The Tuskegee Airmen!

The Tuskegee Airmen have achieved a legendary status in the African American community.  When it comes to Civil Rights everyone knows the names of Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X, but in terms of military achievements, the Tuskegee Airmen are the lords of legend.  For a quick Wiki history see below:

The 99th Pursuit Squadron (later, 99th Fighter Squadron) was the first black flying squadron, and the first to deploy overseas (to North Africa in April 1943, and later to Sicily and Italy). The 332nd Fighter Group, which originally included the 100th, 301st, and 302nd Fighter Squadrons, was the first black flying group. The group deployed to Italy in early 1944. In June 1944, the 332nd Fighter Group began flying heavy bomber escort missions, and in July 1944, the 99th Fighter Squadron was assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group, which then had four fighter squadrons.

Nicknamed the “Red Tails”, the Tuskegee Airmen were famous for breaking the color barrier and even proving to Eleanor Roosevelt that yes, black people can fly (planes).

Yet despite their popularity in the black community, they’ve never been included in a World War 2 game.  In fact the only all-black corps I can think of being included was the 761st Tank Battalion, in Brothers in Arms.  Why this has been the case over the past few years I have NO CLUE, but the Tuskegee Airmen are overdue for video game representation.  I know I’d purchase a game with content covering them and I know a bunch of people who share that sentiment.

Hopefully the Tuskegee Airmen will get their just due soon enough.  They deserve it and it makes financial sense.

The Creative Artists Agency is looking to increase its diversity efforts

by Ray Hayes

The Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has made it their mission to address the issue of diversity in business. CAA’s diversity initiatives began back in 2005 when the agency recruited minorities from top-tier universities for staff positions. As a result of the recruitment effort, within five years, more than 43 percent of the agencies interns were minorities and roughly 50 percent were women. In order to increase their recruitment efforts and the agency’s mission of diversity, CAA launched a new two day event on June 20, 2017 called Amplify. According to, Amplify is “an invitation-only convention of innovators and free-thinking multi-cultural artists and leaders from entertainment, sports, media, corporate brand marketing, and technology. The idea behind the gathering is “to inform, inspire, and connect multicultural leaders to accelerate the growth, value, and visibility of diversity in business.”

Richard Lovett, President of CAA, spoke about the company’s commitments and future plans. “CAA seems to be truly commitment in the idea of fostering diversity within the agency. Basically, the agency understands that diversity is a big opportunity to grow your company and the wealth of your company. Amplify is on the list of a ton of different initiative that company’s has launched since its inception. The Writers’ Boot Camp and You’re Up are some of the initiatives that CAA launched to offer opportunities to minorities. We have always believed that diverse voices and backgrounds make CAA stronger, and, years ago, implemented a strategy to address the issues of diversity in our industry. We developed and executed programs to ensure a more diversified workplace…”

If are interested in learning more about CAA please visit the link below

Diversity, equality and female rights matter at NY and LA Fashion Week

by Ray Hayes

New York Fashion Week is a high profile fashion event catering to celebrities from the entertainers, sports athletes and political elites.  With so much support for the week, it is well known that, if you want to make a point, NY Fashion Week is the place to do it. Fashion Designer Thakoon Panichgui recently spoke about how he and other designers used the runway to make their statements, explaining that “Fashion is a sponge in terms of what’s happening in culture. We take it in and it comes out in certain ways, and I think that the climate will produce a lot of creativity.”

The designers from the NY fashion show weren’t the only ones using the runway as a form of political expression.  During the L.A. fashion show, Rebecca Minkoff made an eloquent and powerful speech on female empowerment while models from the show were serenaded by singers performing the song, “Quiet,” which is the unofficial song of the women’s march on Washington.

In an ironic twist, President Trump is indeed doing more to unite Americans than he realizes. Although Fashion Week across the nation had more of a political message this year, designers still raised the fashion community spirits through their art.