MLB Supplier Diversity Director Corey Smith Increases Opportunities for Minority Businesses
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Name: Corey Smith

Profession: Senior Director of Supplier Diversity and Strategic Sourcing at MLB

Corey Smith, Major League Baseball (MLB) Senior Director of Supplier Diversity and Strategic Sourcing, always had a passion for sports. Half way through his professional career in procurement, cost analysis, and strategic sourcing, he stumbled upon an idea of working with entrepreneurs and minority-owned businesses. Marrying his knowledge of procurement and sourcing, Smith implemented strategies to help companies save money. Not only did he save money, but he did this by enlisting minority-owned businesses in the process.  

There are many men of color making incredible strides around the globe, but not too many in an iconic American Sport that was at the forefront of racial segregation. With the exception of the USTA, The MLB organization is the only sports league with full-time dedicated supplier diversity professionals. 

“Integrity, loyalty, and character are very important to me,” Smith tells BE Modern Man. “In my case these traits are not going to be compromised. Often times in corporate America you are constantly being challenged to sway on your beliefs, but I am remain steadfast to my principles.” 

While other major sports leagues all have their unique ways of making strides in supplier diversity, MLB has a dedicated staff, budget and operational process for supplier diversity. At MLB, supplier diversity is a year-round priority and for Smith enabling minorities to have an opportunity to increase their chances of purchasing transaction is also a priority.   

“At this juncture in our society and country we see the media portraying images of ourselves that are not in the best light,” says Smith. “I speak to kids at the high school and college level who do not know much about my actual job, but when I talk about sports and money it resonates! It’s imperative that we display more alternatives for our young people. It’s about providing the information and communication. This is my year-round priority and passion. I let them know that they have options and opportunity.”   

Smith was once told he had limited options to further his education, but now he is furthering options for minority suppliers. 

“I remember being a senior in high school telling my guidance counselor I want to apply for an ivy league school, but she told me I might want to reconsider,” Smith tells BE Modern Man. “Not only did I get accepted to Columbia University School of Engineering, but I was the only black man in the program to graduate. Outside of raising my two beautiful teenage daughters, this was one of my greatest personal accomplishment.”  

During the annual MLB Winter Diversity Summit, events and engagement opportunities are created between diverse suppliers, MLB procurement and key decision-makers to increase the possibility for purchasing transactions.

“My goal is to make sure we are utilizing minority businesses, and I can honestly say there is no better feeling than helping a minority business get a contract in a major corporation,” Smith tells BE Modern Man. “I can distinctly remember handing out my first $1 million contract to an African American business. It doesn’t get any better than to help your own.”

As the Senior Director of Supplier Diversity and Strategic Sourcing at MLB, Smith’s job is really about economic impact. 

He says, “Black Enterprise has an incredible history and legacy. Being a BE Modern Man is about taking that legacy, putting it on our backs and taking it into the future. Being a BE Modern Man is about carrying on the tradition of strong folks who did not stop or give up. There is a lot of work to do, but we have to carry the tradition forward. It’s an important cause that I do not take lightly and I champion.”

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