Shirley Cooper champions women-owned businesses in new role

8 July 2011

8 July 2011 | Angeline Albert       

Shirley Cooper is championing diversity in the supply chain of European companies in her new role as executive director for Europe at WEConnect International

WEConnect is a global not-for-profit organisation that focuses on creating opportunities for women-owned companies, ethnic minorities and ex-servicemen. Cooper, who is a former CIPS president, joined the organisation on 20 June. She was previously procurement and supply chain director at Computacenter.

Cooper’s new remit is educating and supporting corporations in how to develop diversity programmes by introducing women-owned businesses into their supply base. She also hopes to facilitate networking opportunities between buyer and the supplier organisations.

She told SM: “Companies mustn’t sacrifice innovation and creativity in their supply chain by excluding the value women-owned businesses can bring. I’m aware of how hard it is for companies to start engaging with women-owned businesses. When you talk to chief executives in Europe and ask them how many women-owned businesses are in their supply chain many haven’t got a clue.”

Cooper will also work to increase the number of businesses WEConnect engages with. JPMorgan Chase is among the 15 European corporations already working with WEConnect to develop diversity in its supply base.    

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