The New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council Corporate Winners (Seated/Left to Right) Joy Crichlow, Con Edison; Eliseo Rojas, Interpublic Group; Annette Ficucello, New York Life Insurance; Michael Robinson, IBM Corp. (Standing/Left to Right) Lance Lavergne, New York Life Insurance; G. Kelly Watts, IBM Corp. (Photo Credit: Tyrone Rasheed)

*Elegance, glamour and sophistication were in abundance at the fabulous New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council’s Partnership Awards gala honoring top minority entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies for their successes in creating outstanding business collaborations at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square on Friday, November 12, 2010.

The New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council (The Council) attributes the breathtakingly beautiful design of the grand ballroom to the innovative genius of African American designer Marc Wilson of Marc Wilson Design who turned the ballroom into an amazing garden paradise using vivid purple and pink floral arrangements replete with front row silver banquette seating.

A moving invocation by Hispanic Rabbi Sarah Bat-Tzion, Ambassador of Peace from the United Peace Federation of the United Nations, got things off to a high-ceilinged start.  Adding to the panache of the evening was gorgeous entrepreneur B. Smith, founder and chief creative officer of B. Smith Enterprises, who hosted the awards gala with style!

Internet entrepreneur Jonah Cooper conducted a piano recital of the new theme music for The Council which will be featured on the organization’s website.  Adding to the allure of the evening was a stunning performance by The Harlem Gospel Choir who took the roof off the room with their abundantly strong voices.

During a formal sit-down dinner, dressed to the nines attendees listened to hearty greetings from Lynda Ireland, president, New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc.; Eliseo T. Rojas, vice president of Global Sourcing & Procurement, Interpublic Group (corporate chair); Emmett Walker, CEO, Walter International Transportation, LLC (gala MBE co-chair); and Raymond Rivera, president, Park Avenue Building & Roofing Supplies, LLC (MBE co-chair).

After a sumptuous dinner, Hilton O. Smith, senior vice president, Turner Construction Company, chairman of the board, The Council. presented the “Chairman’s Award” to Interpublic Group followed by greetings from Daniel Sung Park, president, eclaro International Inc., MBEIC chair, The Council.  The “National Corporation of the Year Award” was presented to IBM Corporation.  New York Life Insurance received the “Regional Corporation of the Year Award.”

Joy Crichlow, director of the supplier diversity program at Con Edison of New York and chairman emeritus of The Council, received the “Advocate of the Year Award.”   “Con Edison’s commitment to the development of supplier diversity helps to ensure minority businesses maximum opportunities to participate in its competitive procurement,” said Crichlow. “We believe that creating beneficial relationships with today’s vendors create employment for future generations.”

Harriet Michel, former president of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, handed out the “Supplier of the Year Awards” for minority-owned businesses.  The winners were: Class II: Stephen Jackson, general manager, RDZ Media Group; Class III: Raymond Rivera, president, Park Avenue Building & Roofing Supplies; and Class IV: York Wang, founder and CEO, York Telecom.

“Although we are now living in a challenging economic period, there are opportunities for small business to excel and grow — as witnessed by our minority business winners,” said Lynda Ireland, president and CEO, The Council.  “We would like to congratulate all our corporate members.  Even in this difficult economy, they understand the bottom line value and quality of utilizing minority businesses.”

Following acknowledgments of Gold sponsors Bank of New York Mellon, Con Edison of New York, PepsiCo and Prudential, guests engaged in dessert and dancing on The Stage of the Broadway Ballroom that added a lovely touch to a grand evening.

The Council, a National Minority Supplier Development Council affiliate, has approximately 200 corporate members and 1,300 certified minority businesses.  Its influence spans from Albany, New York to Trenton, New Jersey.  Joset B. Wright is president of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc.

Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.