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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 vendors.

"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 merchants.

"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 solutions.

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 minority-owned suppliers.

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 www.officedepot.com/diversity.

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 Melissa.Perlman@officedepot.com

About DiversityBusiness.com
Launched in 1999, DiversityBusiness, with over 50,000 members, is the largest organization of diversity owned businesses throughout the United States that provide goods and services to Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies, and colleges and universities. DiversityBusiness provides research and data collection services for diversity including the "Top 50 Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities", "Top 500 Diversity Owned Companies in America", and others. Its research has been recognized and published by Forbes Magazine, Business Week and thousands of other print and internet publications. The site has gained national recognition and has won numerous awards for its content and design. DiversityBusiness reaches more diverse suppliers and communicates more information to them on a more frequent basis then all other organizations combined. We also communicate with mainstream businesses, government agencies and educational institutions with information related to diversity. Our magazine reaches over 300,000 readers, a monthly e-newsletter that reaches 2.4 million, and website visitors of 1.2 million a month. It is a leading provider of Supplier Diversity management tools and has the most widely distributed Diversity magazine in the United States. DiversityBusiness.com is produced by Computer Consulting Associates International Inc. (CCAii.com) of Southport, CT. Founded in 1980.


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