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Supplier Diversity

Materiality Assessment Topic: Supplier diversity

Issue Summary

A diverse supply chain enriches companies by bringing different perspectives, skills and ideas that enhance business success.

Our Position

Diverse businesses bring unique skills and fresh ideas, and they play a vital role in delivering the services, value and innovation necessary to serve our customers. By respecting and including different viewpoints, we are better able to serve our customers, employees and communities.

We are committed to promoting, increasing and improving the overall participation of minority-, women-, disabled-veteran-, and LGBT-owned business enterprises by purchasing their materials and services. We also encourage subcontracting opportunities for minority-, women- and disabled- veteran-owned businesses by requiring Supplier Diversity Participation Plans from prime suppliers.

Data Highlights

Our Action

Since 1968, we’ve connected certified diverse minority-, women- and disabled veteran-owned businesses with opportunities to provide products and services to AT&T around the world. For the past four years, we have exceeded our goal of allocating at least 21.5 percent of our procurement spend to diverse suppliers. In 2015, we spent $13.7 billion with minority-, women- and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises, representing 24.06 percent of our total spend.  

AT&T 2015 Supplier Diversity National Results

AT&T Supplier Diversity
Corporate Goal
2015 Supplier 
Diversity Percent of Total Spend
2015 Supplier Diversity Spend
Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) 15 percent 17.29 percent $9.8B
Women Business Enterprise (WBE) 5 percent 6.05 percent $3.4B
Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) 1.5 percent 0.73 percent $415M
Total 21.5 percent 24.06 percent


We have also established several supplier diversity mentoring and protégé programs:

Operation Hand Salute

AT&T is proud to announce the 2015 graduation of 12 service-disabled veteran-owned businesses from a mentorship program executed by the John F. Kennedy Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership (JFK).  The JFK mentorship program reflects AT&T’s commitment to increasing its vendor diversity by implementing a program that addresses the challenges that businesses face when competing for contracts in the global marketplace.  The 2015 educational and mentorship program was designed to help service-disabled veteran-owned enterprises improve their business operations and their ability to win corporate contracts using three pillars for success - education, mentoring and presentations.  Since 2011, 87 diverse business owners graduated from the JFK mentorship program.  The course educated participants on fundamental business practices to transform their corporate model and build meaningful mentor relationships.   

 The 2015 JFK program included weekly webinars and AT&T Telepresence meetings that facilitated service-disabled veteran business owners to:

  • Analyze corporate plans and financials
  • Create a business strategy
  • Refine a business plan and offering
  • Structure management styles and marketing strategies

Toward the end of the seven-month course, the vets finalized their business plans and on graduation day presented their plans to AT&T, the program mentors and business owners at the JFK University campus in Concord, California.  

AT&T Executive Education Program

In 2015, AT&T continued to offer executive level scholarships to diverse suppliers as part of our commitment to provide educational support to diverse-owned businesses.  Six scholarships were awarded nationally to diverse owned business representatives to attend an executive training class.  Students learned the latest techniques in operational excellence through lectures and expert coaching on the following topics: 

  • Building capacity and sustainability for the future;
  • Adjustment of operations;
  • Improving company effectiveness;
  • Creating a strong business in a rapidly chaining environment; and
  • Communicating company vision and inspiring the team. 

AT&T Prime Supplier Program

AT&T is very proud of our Prime Supplier program, which we created 25 years ago. Historical results clearly indicate how instrumental our Prime Suppliers have been in assisting us in proliferating diversity businesses into AT&T’s supply chain.  The AT&T Prime Supplier program has dedicated supplier diversity managers who collaborate with our Prime Suppliers to create detailed plans for utilizing diverse suppliers; to set meaningful goals for utilization of diversity suppliers as subcontractors; and to encourage development of innovative solutions for improving and tracking diversity results. The team also manages process improvements for monthly reporting as well as monitoring annual compliance results for the program.

In 2015, the AT&T Prime Supplier Program directed its focus on increasing both overall results and the number of contracts awarded to diverse subcontractors. 

Meet the Prime Matchmaker Events

In 2015, AT&T hosted a matchmaking event in Dallas in conjunction with the AT&T Suppliers Conference.  The Dallas AT&T Meet the Primes Matchmaker Event was designed to bring diverse suppliers together with AT&T Prime Suppliers for 15-minute face-to-face meetings. In each meeting, primes and diverse suppliers discussed current and future contract opportunities. In total, there were 119 meetings with 12 primes and 50 diverse suppliers. There were also 65 follow-up meetings scheduled.

In 2015, AT&T developed the AT& T Virtual Matchmaking On Demand (VMOD) tool to enable Prime Suppliers to be matched with diverse suppliers for subcontracting opportunities on an immediate basis. All current and prospective diversity suppliers will register on this new tool and based on their capabilities, they will be matched with AT&T Prime Suppliers for subcontracting opportunities.

For more information on our supplier diversity initiatives, visit

Updated on: Jul 31, 2016