International Partnership - Global Professional Services International (GPSI)

Certified Suppliers partner with Canadian Minority Supplier to form global consultancy practice

The Connection

Supply Nation Certified Suppliers, Gordon Cole and Dean Jarrett met Canadian-African Cynthia Dorrington, when they were introduced at the Supply Nation Delegation to the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) annual Business Opportunity Fair and Conference in Denver, Colorado in October 2012. Upon meeting Cynthia, they recognised a gap in the market for a cross-cultural, strategic consultancy practice with an international approach.

Gordon and Dean were already operating their own consultancy firms; Gordon established G-Cole Consulting, specialising in mentoring, coaching and the impacts of leadership and culture on performance. Dean owns Bizdigenous; an enterprise focused on developing a tailored approach to meet the requirements of a variety of clients. Both are heavily focused on Indigenous community engagement, and bringing about positive and lasting change. Through their individual organisations, they aim to encourage young Indigenous Australians to believe in their capacity to reach their fullest potential. Dean and Gordon initially met at the Connect 2012 Tradeshow. 

Cynthia is a member of the Canadian Aboriginal Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC), and Vice-President of Vale Associates, a consultancy and HR management firm based in Halifax, Canada. The Vale team focus strongly on organisational strategy, mergers and acquisitions and change management. They have clients in a range of industries and locations, including Canada, the US, Africa and the Caribbean. Cynthia’s African-Canadian heritage enables her to collaborate very effectively with Gordon and Dean, and provide a fresh and insightful international perspective. She says of their initial introduction: “We were introduced at the Denver conference and we found the synergy was there immediately; we just gelled. We had at least three meetings over the space of the conference, to determine how we’d work together, and what we could achieve.”

The Concept

Since their initial meeting at Denver, Cynthia, Dean and Gordon have established Global Professional Services International, or GPSI. They’ve combined elements of their three organisations and each play to their unique strengths. Dean focuses on research and development, and Gordon is interested in training and education. Cynthia’s experience in strategic organisation and change management are also applied to GPSI. Collectively they’ve had over 80 years of combined industry experience, in a range of areas including government, education, communication, technology, and community services.

They have a broad approach, as they aim to develop products and services that will be appropriate for any organisation wishing to incorporate supplier diversity frameworks. Cynthia explains: “It’s what we call a globally Indigenous culture. There are economic and social issues that are in existence, all over the world, that need to be alleviated. In North America, it’s more than just Indigenous minorities; they are known as ‘Visible Minorities.’ We hope to enable people to think globally, as more minorities enter the workplace and it becomes globalised.”
Dean and Gordon find Cynthia’s perspective to be invaluable. She believes that Australian Indigenous communities have become part of a bigger picture; a world-wide change.
“Supplier diversity has been the whole catalyst. We’re really pleased that Australia’s corporates are turning it into a real opportunity, and making the effort to be part of a culture that is conducive to change. It’s going to set the pathway for others – especially the younger generations – to work hard and do the same. Soon we’ll start to see many more Aboriginal contractors” says Dean.

GPSI is still only in its early stages, but the foundation is strong. As Cynthia is based in Canada, long-distance travel, Skype and teleconferencing are all part of the planning process. They aim to develop products and services that are transferrable, so they can branch out to companies based in Europe and the UK.  They are currently developing a business health check, which will determine whether or not a company has healthy finances, operations, and a strong focus on engaging with Indigenous communities. The health check will provide an indication of where the company requires assistance, and GPSI can tailor a suitable plan to get them back on track.

GPSI has recognised that large corporate companies may experience some difficulty when engaging with Indigenous communities. “There are cross-cultural competencies that we need to develop. We’d like to assist the corporates with their engagement strategies so they can work effectively with Aboriginal people” says Dean. GPSI hope to provide assistance from both angles: the corporate and government buyers and the Indigenous suppliers. “We’d like to provide Indigenous communities with some encouragement and a clear strategy. They may lack some resources, but we can assist them in getting a leg-up to connect with the major companies” says Gordon.

The Outcome 

In comparison with Australia, supplier diversity in North America is a more well-embedded and encompassing. NMSDC was first established in the late 1960s, and many organisations in the US have large-scale supplier diversity programs, incorporating second-tiering. The GPSI team are committed to ensuring that supplier diversity becomes just as well ingrained in Australia. Australian corporations and government are continuously working toward increasing diversity within their supply chains, and GPSI are interested in assisting companies that need advice on implementing and maintaining supplier diversity frameworks.