Diversity Forum

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Black-Owned Businesses at Pitt: Opportunity & Commitment

Thursday, July 30 | 1:45 - 2:45 PM ET

Systemic racism exists in the business and entrepreneurial space where differential access to capital and resources serves as the main perpetuator of inequity. As a pillar of the Pennsylvania and regional economies, the University of Pittsburgh is committed to responsible and impactful spending practices to strengthen our community with focused engagement and purchasing strategies. Our goal is to create a space where diverse businesses can access growth opportunities and where buyers can access the resources to make more equitable purchasing decisions. This workshop will review Pitt’s strategies and achievements in diverse spending, and present engagement opportunities for local businesses.

Read the resource guide created for this workshop.


Ken Carter
President & COO
SUPRA Office Solutions Inc.

Quintin Eason
Vice President of Operations
Compass Group

Juan Garrett
Executive Director
Riverside Center for Innovation

Tawanda Stamps
Senior Manager
Contract Administration & Procurement
University of Pittsburgh

Facilitated by Jennifer Barnes
Supplier Diversity & Sustainability Coordinator
University of Pittsburgh | Purchasing Services

Jennifer Barnes joined the University of Pittsburgh in 2019 as the Supplier Diversity and Sustainability Coordinator. She works with the procurement team in Purchasing Services and Strategic Sourcing to advance socially and environmentally responsible purchasing. In her role, Jennifer collaborates with University departments and major contracted suppliers to track, analyze, and increase diverse and sustainable spending. She is also a member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Council on Sustainability and focuses on carbon offsets.

Trained as a city planner, Jennifer has a background in community development, economic development, and land use planning – focusing on the reuse of contaminated and blighted properties. She has led several collaborative historical, planning, and research efforts with non-profit institutions, community groups, and public agencies in Chicago, Oakland, and New Orleans before moving to Pittsburgh in 2013. Locally, she has designed initiatives to increase diversity in construction-businesses and workforce in the Hill District, Larimer, and Homewood neighborhoods.

A California native, Jennifer received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Chicago and a Master of City Planning degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

Moderated by Dr. Leslie Marshall
Associate Director
Center for Sustainable Business

Dr. Marshall serves as the Associate Director of the Center for Sustainable Business in the Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelors degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Denison University. An award-winning instructor, her research focuses on how socio-economic class, ethnicity, and gender intersect to influence cooperation in groups and the implications for policymaking. Her academic work has been published or is forthcoming in top academic journals, including The Journal of Politics and the Quarterly Journal of Political Science. She has extensive field experience coordinating nationwide data collection efforts in Lebanon and Uganda. As an independent consultant, she has worked with the United Nations Development Programme and Innovations for Poverty Action. She is an affiliate of the Economic and Social Rights Research Group of the University of Connecticut’s Human Rights Institute and previously collaborated with the Centre for Women in Governance (Uganda) and with the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies. She also co-owns a consulting firm, the Research Group for Sustainable Impacts, based in Pittsburgh, PA and Munich, Germany, that assists organizations in developing more inclusive and sustainable practices for measuring and evaluating the impact of their programs.

A collaborative initiative from: