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Benefits Of Certification

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Michael Alexander
Target Corporation, Supplier Diversity Business Lead

Name: Michael Alexander Position within Target: Supplier Diversity Business Lead Bio: Michael was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri and he’s a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Michael attended Lincoln University (HBCU) in Jefferson City, MO on a four year track and field scholarship. After graduation, he moved to Minneapolis, MN to start his career at Target. He currently leads the Food and Beverage strategy for Target’s Supplier Diversity Team. Michael is also the Chairperson of the National Minority Supplier Diversity Working Group and a graduate of the Management Leadership for Tomorrow Career Advancement Program (MLT CAP). When Michael is not saving the world one diverse vendor at a time, his primary passion is helping young men and women reach their potential. Michael was recently awarded the Outstanding Volunteer Award by Target for his work at schools in Minneapolis and St. Louis. His speaking engagements are focus on sharing the importance of having accountability for your actions, volunteering in your communities, and knowing that you can always change your personal narrative. He’s proud to share that in partnership with one of the schools in St. Louis, he’s in the process of establishing a sports/educational summer program for inner city middle-school kids.

Karen Goldner
Women's Business Development Center, Managing Director, Established Business Services

Karen Goldner is Managing Director of Established Business Services at the Women’s Business Development Center. She leads the WBDC’s established business practice, providing counseling to established businesses including certified Women Business Enterprises (WBEs), as well as startup and emerging entrepreneurs. Her passion is helping entrepreneurs reach their dreams. Karen has spent twenty years working with, in and for small businesses. She has worked in for-profit and non-profit early stage investment organizations, including creating and managing the first for-profit technology-focused angel fund in Northeast Indiana, and supporting the creation of a statewide innovation system in Indiana. Karen served as Interim President of a $6 million defense manufacturer that was owned by her investors. Prior to that, she managed a community development loan program for the City of Fort Wayne, and served as Fort Wayne’s Director of Economic Development. Karen earned her Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Nebraska.

Karen Tobler
TARGET, Supplier Diversity

As a Supplier Diversity Lead at Target, Karen is responsible for leading the Supplier Diversity strategy for Health and Beauty, Essentials, Home and Hardlines. With more than 15 years of experience in business development in both real estate and retail, she specializes in connecting and supporting diverse owned businesses as they navigate opportunities to gain business at the right place and right time, ensuring that they can increase their odds of success.

Karen wears a lot of hats as she can be mentoring diverse suppliers on pitching to a Fortune 50 company one minute to working with other industry colleagues the next minute on strategy and benchmarking. Throughout her career she has worked with organization across a wide variety of industries – from social and digital marketing and franchising, to merchandising and non-profits.

No matter the hat nor industry, the through-line is generous purpose. A Latina immigrant to the United States, Karen’s calling is to pay it forward and help others find and leverage their best light.

Heather Olson
North Central Minority Supplier Development Council (NCMSDC), President & CEO

Heather N. Olson is the President and Chief Executive Officer for the North Central Minority Supplier Development Council, serving Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

With over 15 years of experience in Supplier Diversity, Olson has worked in all affiliate council capacities from directing the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Certification Program to directing Corporate Membership and Services to directing council programs and events.

Olson previously Directed the Wisconsin Minority Business Opportunity Center where she successfully connected MBE firms with contracts and financing and reported successful job creation from these opportunities for the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency.

Prior to this, Olson worked for a National Urban League affiliate on programs and policies surrounding economic empowerment and was the Director of Development for two statewide nonprofit organizations. Olson was also independently contracted to perform legislative research that led to new proposed Wisconsin state legislation.

Olson earned her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in Political Science and in International Relations, as well as completed an Environmental Studies specialization.

Join members of Target's Supplier Diversity team as they provide details of their team’s mission at Target and share an overview of what certification is and why it is important for diverse-owned companies to consider investing in. Following their can't-miss presentation, Karen Goldner, Managing Director at Women's Business Development Center, and Heather Olson, President & CEO at North Central Minority Supplier Development Council will join in on the conversation to offer expert perspective and additional guidance for founders.

Following this session join a 15min discussion in the Community Lounge.