Bristol Myers Squibb Wins 3rd Annual NGLCC & EY BRG Challenge

The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and Ernst & Young LLP (EY) are pleased to announce Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) as the WINNER of the 3rd annual NGLCC & EY BRG Challenge! Business Resource Groups (BRGs) activate employees and team members to engage in the business of our companies by leveraging their diversity. Also known as employee resource groups, affinity groups, and networks, BRGs are increasingly demonstrating that they have an impact on employee engagement and contribute to the achievement of business goals via collaborations with Supplier Diversity efforts and procurement.

The NGLCC & EY BRG Challenge, presented this year as a special edition of NGLCC’s LGBT Sip & Pitch Program, allows BRGs to submit for recognition of their efforts to engage with Supplier Diversity to make a difference in their organization and in the market. The event, hosted virtually on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 from 4-5:30pm ET, allowed three finalists to pitch their programming and supplier diversity efforts in front of a panel of judges. These finalists included Merck, BMS, and American Express, with honorable mention awarded to Verizon.

The panel of judges was comprised of Latasha Griffin, Supplier Diversity Manager at UPS and last year’s BRG Challenge winner; Lorenzo Bell, Assistant Director of Environmental Social Governance Services and Business Enablement at EY; Sabrina Kent, Senior Vice President at NGLCC; and Zach Pendley, Canada Real Estate Transactions & Valuations Leader at EY. The program was moderated by Jamie Bergeron of the Americas Diversity & Inclusion Office at EY.

After the rules and judges were introduced, Jason Hoar, Sr. Scientist at Merck Research Labs and Global Lead at Merck Rainbow Alliance (MRA), kicked off the first of the three presentations. He began with an overview of Merck and its supplier diversity program, as well as initiatives spurred by MRA, whose chapters span multiple continents. Hoar then went on to discuss MRA’s business alignment and community outreach efforts aimed at achieving impressive levels of social responsibility in global communities. He followed this with an overview of MRA’s supplier diversity efforts and connections with supplier diversity organizations and initiatives like those of NGLCC, the Human Rights Campaign, I’m From Driftwood, and more. As his presentation concluded, the judges were given five minutes to ask questions and provide feedback. They were impressed by the layout of his presentation and asked questions about company wide initiatives, relationship building, and lessons learned in 2020.

Merck’s presentation was followed by Bristol Myers Squibb. Paul Shay, Global PBRG Lead at PRIDE Alliance PBRG, and Sundari Pai Luts, Manager of Global Supplier Diversity Strategic Sourcing & Procurement, kicked off their time with an overview of BMS’s global mission, values, and vision as a company, demonstrating a focus on integrity, innovation, inclusion, and more. Shay spoke to what made BMS unique as a People & Business Resource Group (PBRG) as compared to traditional Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). He discussed how BMS’s PBRG works to provide opportunities to worldwide members, maintaining a focus on inclusion and diversity. The duo discussed a series of initiatives that BMS plans to invest in over the next five years, including issues related to health disparities, workforce representation, and supplier diversity. As the ten minutes allotted for presentations concluded, the judges applauded BMS’s work and asked questions related to supplier diversity partnerships, intersectionality and anti-racism work, and workforce recruiting efforts.

American Express closed out the BRG pitches with a presentation from R.J. Ancona and Grace Kavanagh of the PRIDE+ Colleague Network. Supporting over 50,000 global colleagues, PRIDE+ has 16 chapters and works to create an inclusive and supportive environment for LGBT individuals across the world. Ancona and Kavanagh provided an overview of the PRIDE+ leadership structure, as well as the Amex culture of inclusion and diversity. Although events across the globe are mostly virtual, Kavanagh explained how Amex was working to foster inclusivity through diverse online programming. She also discussed the launch of new PRIDE+ chapters, pride community celebrations, and diverse initiatives that Amex hoped to pursue in the near future. The panel of judges was impressed by the wide spanning work pursued by PRIDE+ and followed up with questions on metrics for measurable equitable change, LGBT spend increases, and more.

As the judges deliberated, the audience was introduced to the 2020 BRG Challenge Honorable Mention company, Verizon. Moderated by Jamie Bergeron, Emma Hilden, Senior Manager of Voice Network & Customer Solutions, and Irene Derouen, Manager of Retail – SMB, took the floor to discuss Verizon’s supplier diversity initiatives and how they had expanded their inclusivity work over the years. When the judges returned, Latasha Griffin announced the winner of the 2020 BRG Challenge – BMS! As the winner, BMS will receive a free screening of the award-winning documentary film Families Like Yours for your E/BRG utilizing the Screening Toolkit presented by EY ($500 value), recognition during NGLCC’s 2020 Unity Week programming as the 2020 BRG Challenge Winner, the opportunity to present to the Q4 NGLCC Corporate Advisory Council in December 2020, and a feature in the NGLCC Connect newsletter, blog, and social media platforms. BMS kindly donated the screening to NGLCC for wider BRG usage in the future.


To view the full program, click here. To learn more about upcoming NGLCC LGBT Sip & Pitch events, visit


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