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Heather Ostis

Vice President of Supply Chain, Delta

At Delta, we know the strength of our company comes from incorporating different ideas, influences and backgrounds. We are fully committed to seeking diversity and promoting inclusion in every aspect of our workplace, partnerships and business strategy.

Planes of success

That’s why diversity and inclusion for both employees and suppliers is core to Delta’s roadmap of success and annual goals that determine our corporate priorities.

As one of the world’s largest airlines, we’re focused on international growth. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is also reflected on a global scale, partnering with diverse worldwide suppliers and seeking unique perspectives found in international employees.

We’ve also established a supply chain management standard requiring at least one diverse supplier be considered for every procurement opportunity we source, to ensure that diverse vendor engagement remains top of mind in our sourcing efforts.

As a global company with a multi-cultural focus, the Delta board of directors has long sought to reflect the dynamic perspectives and cultures of global communities where we live, fly and serve.

To empower entrepreneurs to create opportunities and pursue larger-than-life goals, I want to share some insights into what it takes to succeed.

On taking off

Successful entrepreneurs need to have clarity of vision and persistence. The business owner has to have a clear concept of the “fit” of his or her company in the marketplace, and a sense of purpose that drives the company’s culture and daily decision making. Statistically, the majority of business startups fail, for any number of reasons, but the ones that succeed are those with a clear direction and effective leadership that can help transform great ideas into profitable products and services.

An entrepreneur must also develop the ability to persevere through obstacles and adversity. Mistakes will be made, investors will say no, talent will choose to work elsewhere and promising deals will not always close. But, the ability to regroup and keep charging forward is grounded in a big picture vision to drive company culture. A leader who will not quit cannot be defeated.

Business owners should strategically take advantage of resources. For instance, at Delta, we offer supplier development, mentoring and matchmaking programs to help entrepreneurs build capacity and facilitate business opportunities. In addition, governmental agencies like the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Small Business Development Centers and the Minority Business Development Agency provide coaching, funding and other vital resources.

One of the best resources that exists today is SCORE (the Service Corps of Retired Executives), an organization that offers coaching and mentoring from successful senior executives who wish to give back after they retire.

Good mentors can help you avoid career obstacles and smooth the pathway to success. Seek them out and learn all you can. Find the path that works for you and fits your personal goals. Focus on the priorities that drive you both professionally and personally.

Communicate well and work collaboratively with others. Always strive to be a positive team member. Finally, learn to trust your instincts and have courage in your convictions. Your business plan can help you soar to success.

Kristen Castillo, [email protected]

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