AT&T Operation Hand Salute Mentees Graduate from National 11-Week Entrepreneur Program
Graduation serves as phase one in three-pillar process to mentor and develop service-disabled veteran business owners
Dallas, Texas, September 18, 2012
AT&T* announced today the graduates of the education pillar of Operation Hand Salute (OHS), provided through the Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership (IEL) at John F. Kennedy University. CEOs participated in the 11-week entrepreneur course via AT&T TelePresence Solution®. The IEL program was led by Dr. Raul A. Deju, Director of the Institute and featured guest lectures from IEL’s Assistant Director, Dina Finta, and Bill Wiersma, best-selling author of "The Power of Professionalism". Topics included developing a competitive assessment, preparing a business and management plan, and developing a sales and finance strategy. The graduates also extensively interacted with world class CEOs that acted as mentors. In addition to the completion certificates, graduates received a formal recognition from the City of San Francisco and a Congressional Recognition from Congressman George Miller.
The groundbreaking supplier diversity program mentors and develops Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Enterprises (SDVOBEs). The year-long program invites SDVOBE business CEOs to go back to school and learn from the best to improve their business and enhance their ability to win valuable corporate contracts.
AT&T and JFK University assisted the Operation Hand Salute participants in addressing the challenges faced in the marketplace and provided them with the necessary tools to improve business operations – including a strategic redefinition of their business, website redesigns, realignment of business objectives, and a detailed business plan.
OHS consists of three pillars for success—education, mentoring, and opportunity. First, CEOs attended the 11-week Entrepreneurial Leadership Program. In the second pillar, CEOs were paired with mentors and suppliers with successful worldwide operations including face to face meetings and events. Finally, the CEOs will have the opportunity to participate in AT&T Matchmaker event “Fast Pitch” sessions with a panel of experienced CEOs and AT&T executives.
AT&T is committed to developing and promoting service-disabled veteran-owned businesses – while acknowledging their service to our country – through Operation Hand Salute. AT&T’s goal is to spend 1.5 percent of its total spend with SDVOBEs, a group of businesses that have historically proven to be valuable business solution providers in AT&T’s supply chain.
In 2011, AT&T spent $12 billion with certified diverse businesses— 23 percent of the company’s total spend and has been answering the call since 1993 to address the challenges service-disabled veteran business owners face in the marketplace. Operation Hand Salute is an initiative of AT&T's Global Supplier Diversity organization. Other AT&T supplier diversity initiatives include the Prime Supplier Program, which aims to increase the use of diverse businesses through subcontracting and value-added reseller arrangements, and the Meet the Primes Matchmaker Program, which provides a forum for qualified prospective diverse suppliers to meet with and discuss contract opportunities with AT&T suppliers and business leaders.