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Office Depot to Host the First Annual Women's Business Development Center of Florida Conference & Business Expo
DELRAY BEACH, FL., Sep 25, 2008/ -- DiversityBusiness.com /- Office Depot (ODP) a leading global provider of office products and services, today announced that it will be hosting the first annual Women's Business Development Center (WBDC) of Florida Conference & Business Expo at its Corporate Headquarters in Delray Beach, FL. The event, which will take place September 25 - 26, 2008, will bring together America's leading corporations, government agencies, women business owners and affiliate organizations with the goal of increasing networking and contracting opportunities for women business enterprises.

WBDC is the local Regional Partner of the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the nation's leading advocate of women-owned businesses as suppliers to America's corporations. Office Depot is a Platinum Corporate Sponsor of the WBDC and a strong partner of WBENC.

WBDC-FL Conference & Business Expo participants will have the opportunity to:
  • Attend interactive workshops with leading businesswomen and corporations;
  • Learn about women-owned businesses across multiple industries;
  • Take part in one-on-one matchmaker appointments with participating corporations;
  • Meet corporate representatives interested in doing business with women; and
  • Network with product vendors.

"We are very excited to partner with Office Depot for this event," said Nancy Allen, President and CEO of WBDC/Florida Regional Partner of WBENC. "Participation is open to all women business owners and we invite them to come and learn how to do business with corporate America and how to market their companies. The event will provide attendees with invaluable information and contacts."

"We are truly proud to partner with the Women's Business Development Center of Florida in putting on this critically important event for women in business," said Monica Luechtefeld, Executive Vice President of Supply Chain and IT for Office Depot. "The WBDC offers innovative ways to train women and create new business opportunities. Its mission and approach aligns well with Office Depot's own objective to help our many millions of female customers take care of business and succeed."

In addition to the WBDC Conference and Expo, Office Depot will host a Vendor Open House on September 25 for all businesses interested in opportunities to showcase products for resale. Businesses will have the opportunity to meet with and pitch their products directly to Office Depot merchants. All meetings will be prescheduled and businesses must register for the WBCD-FL Conference at www.womensbusiness.info.

"Office Depot is focused on bringing the newest and most innovative products to our customers," said Steve Mahurin, Executive Vice President of Merchandising for Office Depot. "Creating an Office Depot Vendor Open House is a great way for businesses to showcase their products and network with potential future partners."

Office Depot Commitment to WBDC
Office Depot has been steadfast in its long-standing commitment to the WBDC and support for women business owners in Florida. Office Depot's relationship with the WBDC-FL began in 2000 when current Director of Merchandising Robert McCormes-Ballou joined the Center's board. Currently both Shari Francis, Manager of Vendor Development, and Anne Marie Richards, Assistant Merchant of Vendor Development, sit on the WBDC board of directors and are actively involved in the upcoming conference. Office Depot has been recognized by the WBDC for the Company's commitment to women-owned businesses with a number of prestigious awards over the years.

Office Depot Commitment to Diversity
In 2005, through a thorough and intensive process that engaged members of the Company's Global Officer Coalition, Office Depot adopted a new vision statement -- Delivering Winning Solutions That Inspire Worklife(TM) - and identified and defined those values that guide, inform and influence every area of our operations. One of those core values is the concept of "Inclusion." For Office Depot, Inclusion means that we approach all opportunities and challenges by respecting the diverse thoughts, beliefs, backgrounds, cultures and energies of all associates, customers and suppliers. The Company's commitment to Inclusion inspires Office Depot as it buys, sells and recruits new associates. As a global company that offers an extensive range of products to our customers -- and that also makes a significant investment in supplies and services to keep business running smoothly -- Office Depot constantly searches for ways to partner with minority and women-owned businesses. Office Depot accomplishes this through a multifaceted approach, which includes fostering a diverse vendor and supplier network. The Company's diversity goals are to increase and strengthen the vendor diversity network to reflect the global marketplace, and to support the growth of women and minority-owned suppliers. Office Depot works with partners like the WBDC to expand the capacity of the organization's members and to help them compete more effectively in the office supply marketplace. These efforts help Office Depot's partners achieve long-term independent business viability with sustainable economic growth. For more information on Office Depot's diversity initiatives, please visit www.officedepot.com/diversity.

About the Conference
The 2008 WBDC Conference & Business Expo is the Women's Business Development Center's first annual trade show and will bring together America's leading corporations, government agencies, women business owners and affiliate organizations with the goal of increasing network and contracting opportunities for women business enterprises. This year's conference theme is "Building a Better Network"which echoes the Center's new initiatives and programs designed to bring new opportunities for WBEs and corporate sponsors. The conference will provide an opportunity for WBEs to meet with corporate executives and buyers; network with corporate contacts, government representatives, and other WBEs; attend useful workshops; receive valuable insight from key corporate members and WBEs; participate in innovative networking activities; exhibit their company's product and/or services; and meet the people who make your certification work for you, the WBDC staff.

This year's conference is hosted by Platinum Corporate Sponsor, Office Depot at their Delray Beach, FL headquarters September 25 -- 26. Office Depot's commitment and involvement has made it possible to bring attendees the resources and opportunities this conference has to offer.

A complete schedule of events is available at www.womensbusiness.info.

About the Women's Business Development Center (WBDC)
The mission of the Women's Business Development Center (WBDC) is to assist in the establishment and growth of women in business. We offer business development programs and training designed to develop skills and knowledge for women in business.

The WBDC strives to foster and cultivate relationships between our members, corporations and the government. The goal of the WBDC is to change the face of business, one woman at a time. For more information, visit www.womensbusiness.info.

About the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
The Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), founded in 1997, is the nation's leading advocate of women-owned businesses as suppliers to America's corporations. It also is the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women in the United States. WBENC works to foster diversity in the world of commerce with programs and policies designed to expand opportunities and eliminate barriers in the marketplace for women business owners. WBENC works with representatives of corporations to encourage the utilization and expansion of supplier/vendor diversity programs. For more information, visit www.wbenc.com.

About Office Depot
Every day, Office Depot is Taking Care of Business for millions of customers around the globe. For the local corner store as well as Fortune 500 companies, Office Depot provides products and services to its customers through 1,680 worldwide retail stores, a dedicated sales force, top-rated catalogs and a $5.0 billion e-commerce operation. Office Depot has annual sales of approximately $15.4 billion, and employs about 49,000 associates around the world. The Company provides more office products and services to more customers in more countries than any other company, and currently sells to customers directly or through affiliates in 44 countries.

Office Depot's common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ODP and is included in the S&P 500 Index. Additional press information can be found at: http://mediarelations.officedepot.com.

SOURCE: Office Depot

Office Depot, Delray Beach
Melissa Perlman, 561-438-0704
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