As the senior manager of Supplier Diversity at CDW, Kristin Malek drives CDW’s strategies to achieve supplier diversity objectives. She is responsible for CDW’s $2+ billion annual Supplier Diversity spend initiatives. Kristin is the architect of the CDW’s diverse supply chain, which today is defined as more than 1100+ suppliers that serve the needs and offers solutions to CDW and their customers.
She is a member of the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council (NMSDC), Board Member of the Chicago Minority Supplier Diversity Council, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) and TIG (Technology Industry Group), sharing her voice and best practices on inclusive business strategies.
Under Kristin’s leadership at CDW; the supplier diversity program at CDW has been named a finalist for Corporation of the Year with NMSDC in 2018 and 2019. In 2019, the supplier diversity program was named the Best of the Best Supplier Diversity Programs for veteran-owned businesses.
Earlier this year, Kristin was named one of Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity. Under Kristin’s leadership, CDW was inducted into the prestigious Billion Dollar Roundtable in October.
Professional WOMAN’s Magazine (PWM) spoke with Malek about her career.
PWM: Describe a moment you felt like a Wonder Woman and made a difference.
Malek: To describe a moment in which I felt like a Wonder Woman is hard to define, as every day I hold myself to high levels of accountability, being available to my family, teams, customers, and friends, and live with integrity. To find a day in which I perhaps elevated myself and pushed myself out of my comfort zone presented itself this spring when the world was sheltered in place. I found myself being tasked to support my third-grader with learning from home and getting her through fractions, having the responsibility to be a special education teacher for my fifth-grader who while in school received 1:1 paraprofessional support and lost that when distance learning presented itself while leading the Supplier Diversity program at CDW. Many days, I felt it was an overreach for me, but staying true to asking for help, staying honest with my capabilities and being able to set boundaries maybe made me Wonder Woman for the day – title or no title, it’s OK to ask for help.
PWM: What values do women bring to the workforce?
Malek: Competitiveness, leadership, empathy, solution thought leadership, and perspective, but I think men bring the same things; the more we separate skills by gender the farther we get away from inclusion.
PWM: What are your tips to keep growing professionally?
Malek: Take opportunity of changes; changes create needs, and needs create opportunities. Embrace Change. Second, compete with yourself only.
PWM: What are some things you think women can do to advocate change in the workplace?
Malek: Advocate from a place of respect, authentic gratitude and confidence in your abilities.
PWM: What lessons have you learned that you would like to share with our readers?
Malek: My lesson that has come to be reoccurring is that courage doesn’t always roar but can be the quiet voice that says I will try again tomorrow.