Friday, December 8, 2017

Corporate Spotlight: Bank of America / Josh Lemke

“Bank of America invests in diverse businesses to drive sustainable economic growth because when diverse suppliers succeed, the diverse communities that Bank of America serves, thrive,” says Josh E. Lemke, Bank of America’s SVP; Procurement Executive, Supplier Diversity & Development.

Josh E. Lemke
Bank of America's SVP

Procurement Executive,
Supplier Diversity & Development

Lemke believes that by having intentional programs focused on supplier diversity they can have a positive impact on our communities. This motivates him every day to continue doing what they do at Bank of America and to constantly try to do better. 

Born and raised in South Dakota, Josh E. Lemke started out at Arizona State University (ASU) and, while his initial thought was to go onto medical or law school, he ultimately landed in ASU's business school, where he majored in Supply Chain Management (SCM).   
“I didn’t even know what SCM really was so I did some more research and learned that ASU had one of the top SCM programs in the country. Upon graduation, Bank of America recruited me into their Supply Chain Management Associate program, which is a two-year rotational program. Twelve years on, I am still with the Bank,” he said.

Bank of America’s supplier diversity program has been in place for 27 years, so he had the opportunity to get involved with the program very early in his career. He was excited to be a part of a team in 2007 – very early in his career – that helped the bank achieve a goal of 15% of their procurement spend with diverse suppliers. Since then, he's been a huge advocate for supplier diversity. 

About five years ago, a Supplier Diversity executive asked Lemke to serve as the bank’s primary contact for the NGLCC. That’s when he started attending supplier diversity conferences and really began to understand the impact that supplier diversity programs have on diverse-owned companies and local communities. After attending conferences, he was always really motivated to come back to work and share what he learned with his team, and do his best to introduce all the great business owners he’d met to the right people.  Now, in his current role as the Procurement executive for Supplier Diversity and Development, he's able to commit all of his time and energy to supplier diversity.

Describe some challenges integrating new diverse suppliers into your current supplier chain.

Keeping our clients’ personal and financial information protected and secure through responsible information collection, processing, and use practices is of utmost importance to the bank, and finding diverse suppliers that meet our very stringent information security requirements can be challenging.    

What are common mistakes that diverse suppliers make when approaching Bank of America?

A common mistake that I experience is when a vendor tells me they can provide whatever I need. What I’d really like to know is what is your "one thing" that you do really well and how is that going to solve a problem that Bank of America is experiencing.

What are three things LGBTBEs can do best to showcase their capabilities to Bank of America?
  1. Be targeted and specific on what product or service you provide and how it will benefit Bank of America.
  2. Have white papers and/or case studies that demonstrate your successes in solving problems for other companies.
  3. Be prepared to show how you could serve in a tier two capacity if serving as a prime vendor is not the right opportunity.
What categories of LGBTBE owned businesses are best suited to do business with Bank of America?
  1. Professional Services
  2. Construction
  3. Print
  4. Technology / Software
What are your greatest successes in supplier diversity (social / economic impact, community growth, diversity in leadership, etc.)?

The work I am most proud of is the social and economic impacts that we’ve made. Our support of diverse-owned companies – whether through our procurement practices or our Supplier Diversity Development program – helps drive economic impact and job growth in our communities. We also help drive changes in policy and raise awareness of the importance of diversity through the work we do every day around supplier diversity and our involvement with the NGLCC and our other partners also has social impact.
Like Bank of America's employee base, they want their vendors to represent the communities in which they serve and that includes LGBT-owned vendors. Bank of America got involved with NGLCC because they give access to quality businesses that are LGBT-certified. 

Starting in 2018, Bank of America will focus more on ways to support local NGLCC chapters. They’re kicking off this work with nglccNY, by hosting their 10-year anniversary event on January 19 at the bank’s New York headquarters. By getting involved at the local level, they believe they will have more opportunities to interact with LGBT business owners and ultimately increase their diverse spend.    

Bank of America, Josh E. Lemke and nglccNY welcomes you to join us on January 19:
  • LGBTBE Workshop, at 3pm – (for lgbtbe only)
  • M3 Monthly Mixer, 6pm – (for members/guests)
Some fun and interesting facts about Josh E. Lemke:
  • Is a health and fitness enthusiast.
  • Has completed 8 marathons.
  • Recently completed the AIDS Lifecycle, a 545-mile charity bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Drop a Comment, Share & Get Connected!

Josh E. Lemke
Bank of America’s SVP; Procurement Executive,
Supplier Diversity & Development
Office: 980.387.7835

Interview by 
Gonzo Araya,
Executive Chair, Media Communications Committee, nglccNY
Chief Creative Officer, Socio

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Socio is a creative, communications and customer experience agency shaping how companies do business. A certified LGBT Business Enterprise.

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