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When a company contracts with diverse suppliers, they not only boost their businesses, they also create economic opportunities in communities where they work and live. The effort can reach far beyond typical suppliers and vendors – don’t forget outside attorneys and accountants, and even bond issuers. Get as creative as possible to close the wealth gap.

So says Cheryl Harris, head of business diversity and senior vice president, sourcing and procurement for The Allstate Corp. based in Chicago. Harris has helped Allstate pave the way to creating opportunities for diverse firms, which has led to the insurance company spending more than $366 million with minority-, woman-, veteran-, LGBTQ- and disabled-owned businesses in 2021, compared to $235 million in 2020. Under her leadership, and with direction from Allstate’s CEO, Tom Wilson, Allstate has set goals to increase spending on diverse suppliers to at least $470 million by 2025.

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