Office Depot Hosts Second Annual Women`s Business Development Center (WBDC) of Florida Conference & Business Expo
|BOCA RATON, Fla., Oct. 14 / -- DiversityBusiness.com/- Office Depot (NYSE:ODP), a leading global provider of office products and
services, today announced that it will be hosting the second annual Women`s
Business Development Center (WBDC) of Florida Conference & Business Expo at the
Company`s Corporate Headquarters in Boca Raton, FL. The event, which will take
place October 15-16, 2009, 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. Additionally, Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel will attend the
opening of the Business Expo on Friday morning.
"We are truly proud to partner with the Women`s Business Development Center of
Florida in putting on this critically important event for women small business
owners," said Monica Luechtefeld, Executive Vice President of E-Commerce and
Direct Marketing 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 millions of small business
customers take care of business and succeed."
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. The WBDC Annual Conference &
Expo serves as the Women`s Business Development Center`s annual trade show,
which brings 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 (WBEs).
Participants at the WBDC-FL Conference & Business Expo 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, and network with product
"We are happy to return to Office Depot again this year for this important and
exciting conference," said Nancy Allen, President and CEO of WBDC/Florida
Regional Partner of WBENC. "We expect to see a lot of innovative ideas at this
conference. Tough economic times call for new ideas and strategies. Our
workshops will focus on growing your business and will offer new ways of looking
at marketing and business challenges. This could be a golden opportunity for
women in business."
Vendor Open House To Showcase Products
In addition to the WBDC Conference and Expo, Office Depot will host a Vendor
Open House at its headquarters on October 16 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
"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, learn about the needs of the corporate
world and network with potential future partners."
About the 2008 WBDC Conference
At the 2008 WBDC Conference and Expo also held at Office Depot`s headquarters,
female entrepreneur and WBENC-Certified business owner Wendy Steele traveled
from Michigan with hopes of meeting with a large retailer and introducing her
innovative product - the Tape Wrangler Tape Gun. Steele did have her meeting and
less than one year later her product was being sold in Office Depot retail
stores and online at OfficeDepot.com.
"The conference was amazing," Steele said. "To have direct business immediately
following the event, and to be selling your product in a national retailer`s
store within a year, was unexpected and is truly a testament to Office Depot and
the Company`s commitment to vendor and supplier diversity."
Steele offers the following advice for women-owned businesses considering
attending the WBDC conference this year:
* Don`t just show up. Attend the conference but do your homework beforehand and
understand if the potential customer will fit your niche and if your product or
service will fit the customer`s needs.
* Establish an attainable goal. Target a specific company or distributor when
you attend the conference. Then make it your goal to meet the customer, present
to the customer or just get the person`s business card. If you don`t begin with
the end in mind - you won`t get there.
* Be compelling, not pushy. Present your product or service by telling the
company what they`ll get out of it. If they say "yes" or "maybe" - follow-up. If
they say "no" - don`t be a pest.
* Be a sponge, sorta. The mistake I often see small businesses doing when
attending these conferences is just taking in the information like a sponge and
not doing anything about it. Definitely be a sponge - but carry out the actions.
Your goal is not to be a repository of information but a business creating
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 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`s 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 - and identified and
defined those values that guide, inform and influence every area of our
operations. One of those core values was 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
Office Depot works with partners like WBENC 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
About the Women`s Business Development Center
The mission of the Women`s Business Development Center (WBDC) is to assist in
the establishment and growth of women in business. THE WBDC offers 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. Its goal is to change the
face of business, one woman at a time.
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 1,593
worldwide retail stores, a dedicated sales force, top-rated catalogs and a $4.3
billion e-commerce operation. Office Depot has annual sales of approximately
$14.5 billion, and employs about 42,000 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 47 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
Melissa Perlman, 561-438-0704
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