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Investing in a more diverse future: Diverse business owners, suppliers honored at 20th annual Star Awards

Delta celebrated small business owners, entrepreneurs and diversity within its supply chain at the company’s 20th annual Star Awards on Aug. 28 at the Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta.

The Star Awards honor the contributions of Delta's top diverse suppliers and recognize minority, women, veteran and LGBTQ-owned businesses and those owned by people with disabilities. New to the scene for the hallmark anniversary were the graduates of Delta’s first ever Supplier Development Academy (SDA), a 12-18 month program that develops high potential diverse suppliers through mentorship and capacity-building initiatives.

20th Annual Delta Star Awards“We don’t want to make this about making it ea​sier to do business with Delta. We want this to be a contributing factors to your success: globally, here, and in every company around the world. And we are very grateful to be a small part in that,” said Paul Jacobson, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer while honoring the graduates.

Beyond our 80,000 employees, suppliers are an extension of the Delta family. In addition to robust business partnerships, Delta and honorees grow stronger together while sharing values like leadership, perseverance and strategic thought.

The 2019 SDA graduates included:​

  • Ann Cronin, representing woman-owned Pax Assist

  • Shiana White, representing minority woman-owned A Haute Cookie

  • L'Tyrce M. Slade, representing minority woman-owned SLADE, LLC

  • Bob Daniels, representing veteran-owned MILVETS Systems Technology, Inc.

  • Jennie Nigrosh, representing woman-owned The Green Garmento​

Beyond diverse ownership, the unique businesses selected showcase Delta’s investments in environmental sustainability, supporting our armed forces and attentive care for passengers with disabilities.​​

John Hunter, Vice President — Fuel Management, was also recognized as Delta’s Supplier Diversity Executive of the Year. Hunter has helped grow Delta’s fuel strategy to reflect inclusive procurement practices through hard work and his partnership with Steve Hightower, CEO of Hightowers Petroleum. In 2013, the minority-owned fuel supplier was recognized as “Company of the Year” by Black Enterprise magazine.

The Star Awards event has chronicled the growth and enhancement of Delta's Supplier Diversity program, and is a reflection of Delta's commitment to an inclusive culture.

“It’s not about ‘checking a box,’ it’s about ‘walking the talk.’ And we want to grow and develop suppliers not only to do business with a company the size of Delta but also to scale their businesses so we can grow them and develop them to work with other companies,” said Heather Ostis, Vice President — Supply Chain Management.

“Diversity is about the ability to be innovative — because it’s only through the ideas that come from different backgrounds and many different perspectives that we can continue to innovate and get better,” said Joanne Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer.

Seeking diversity and promoting inclusion among employees, customers and communities as well as business partners is fundamental to Delta’s core values. For more information on supplier diversity or how to partner with Delta, visit delta.com/supplierdiversity or reach out to [email protected].

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