RWU and CVS Health Kick Off Annual Executive Learning Series for Diverse Suppliers
Program helps diverse-owned suppliers develop skills in finance, leadership and technology
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – For the eighth consecutive year, Roger Williams University and CVS Health are teaming up to offer CVS Health’s Executive Learning Series (ELS) for Diverse Suppliers, an innovative training and mentorship program that helps diverse vendors gain critical management skills in leadership, business innovation, marketing and finance.
The ELS is part of CVS Health’s commitment to supplier diversity, helping to create jobs and provide equal opportunities for businesses that represent the diversity of our colleagues, customers, and the communities the company serves.
“We believe that when diverse and small businesses thrive, so do our communities,” said Monette Knapik, Executive Director of Supplier Diversity for CVS Health. “Through our longstanding collaboration with Roger Williams University, we have provided small diverse suppliers across the country with education, training and networking opportunities that have helped them harness the skills they need to reach their full potential, fueling economic growth and building stronger communities.”
This year’s ELS will kick off this week and provide diverse suppliers with networking opportunities, individualized executive coaching on business needs, weekly workshops and flexible online courses. The four-month program works to develop a wide variety of skills, including successful tactics for expanding retail distribution of products and services, all based on the competencies and practices of CVS Health.
“One of the goals of Roger Williams University is to link arms with partners and create high-quality, flexible programs that build off our expertise to meet the community, individual student, and organizational needs," said Gena Bianco, Dean of University College at Roger Williams University. “With CVS Health’s expertise in the health marketplace and our leadership in delivering innovative programming for diverse, multigenerational professionals, we have developed a world-class program that has enabled the success of many diverse-owned businesses across the country. We are thrilled to once again join our efforts on this learning series.”
To date, more than 100 diverse business owners have graduated from the program with some becoming CVS Health suppliers, including Shelly Heller and April Pollock, co-founders of Tempagenix, a company that manufactures forehead thermometers.
Tempagenix helped CVS Health meet the needs of customers during a time when it was most needed. Their forehead thermometer has been in high demand since the start of the pandemic.
“The Executive Learning Series opened the door with us at CVS Health. I’m happy to say that we are now in more than 5,500 CVS Pharmacy locations throughout the country,” said April Pollock, co-founder of Tempagenix. “In 2020, we made more than $1.3 million through our business with CVS Health and as a direct result of the program.”
CVS Health works with several national diversity councils each year to nominate suppliers to participate in the program, including the National Minority Supplier Development Council and regional affiliates, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and regional Affiliates, National Veteran Business Development Council, Disability:In, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and regional affiliates, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Unites States Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce, and the Rhode Island Commerce.