Gladys Lopez, global head of supplier diversity at Bank of New York (BNY) Mellon, knows what a difference a helping hand can make to a business owner. Growing up, her father had a small general contractor business in Washington DC. Being a minority-owned business gave him a chance at a government contract. “After seeing how excited my dad was to get that one break, DE&I became my passion. I get the most joy from helping a diverse business get its first break. It makes my day.”
That passion turned into a 25-year career in supplier diversity programs at American Express, Hilton Worldwide and now BNY Mellon. Through support from BNY Mellon mentors, she established the first mentoring program aimed at increasing diverse supplier capabilities. Lopez is also a seasoned speaker and presenter and was recently featured in the ERG Power Talk podcast. She also serves community organizations, organizes local charity events, and volunteers for the Catholic Charities Immigration & Refugee Services division.
DE&I is not about preferential treatment, but leveling the playing field for diverse-owned firms, she clarifies. “In my world, I deal a lot with impacting the business community of ethnic minorities, women and veterans. Making a difference one supplier at a time. For me, it’s advocating to grow those businesses and support a larger diverse workforce at every company I work for.”
She is especially proud of the effect her work has on the contingent workforce. “This space has a large pool of diverse groups that seek inclusion,” she notes. “I have implemented programs and strategies that utilize diverse talent.”
Lopez’s ultimate goal is to work herself out of a job. “This should be the day to day. You’re supposed to do business with everybody.”
2021 DE&I Influencers List