It’s a good thing that the Detroit Free Press prints “good” news once in a while! This was an excellent front page story about Louis Green winning the “Eleanor Josaitis Unsung Hero Award” and his commitment to increasing diverse business across the state.
“The thing I like most is we get to make a connection with talented business owners and help them make their dream a reality,” said Louis Green.
Congrats to Mr. Louis Green, President/CEO of Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council.
Louis Green was one in a group of 12 children who lived in a south-central Los Angeles neighborhood during the rise of gang violence.
“Out of them, there are seven who are dead, two sentenced to life in jail, one serving 86 years, and I don’t know where one is,” Green said.
But Green, president and CEO of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, said the tough circumstances of his childhood allowed him to excel.
“It drives me all the time,” he said.
That drive has helped him change lives by getting corporations throughout the state and minority business leaders to work together.
It’s also one of the reasons Green was selected to receive the Eleanor Josaitis Unsung Hero Award.
Off to Ohio
Green, 50, escaped the streets of Los Angeles when he accepted a full scholarship to Oberlin College in Ohio. There, he received bachelor’s degrees in political science and communications.
Green later attended the University of Michigan, where he received a master’s degree in public policy.
From there, Green worked in the state economic development office under then-Gov. Jim Blanchard and was hired as an economic adviser for then-Gov. John Engler.
Green has been a chief deputy director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, served as a national director of supplier diversity at NBC TV and was on New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s minority business team.
Six years ago, Green joined the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council. In the past four years, it has twice won the Council of the Year award.
The privately funded nonprofit is one of 37 Minority Supplier Development affiliates in the country. The organization offers programs and services for its corporate members and minority-owned business owners, as well as networking opportunities.
Each year, the 1,500-member organization facilitates more than $16 billion in purchases from minority businesses.
“The thing I like most is we get to make a connection with talented business owners and help them make their dream a reality,” Green said.
Focused and flexible
Mable Jones, public affairs director for AAA Michigan, said she nominated Green for the award because of his ability to stay focused and flexible, come up with strategic plans and advocate for the membership.
“Mr. Green works with our program, and I got to observe his behavior and I was very impressed,” said Jones, who also nominated him last year.
Jones said Green offers encouragement and often works quietly behind the scenes. “He knows how to work cooperatively,” she said.
Green acknowledged he believes in working behind the scenes to make things happen. He said he thinks the connections in his organization happen because he and his staff try to reach out to the members and corporations.
Helen Ford, director of supplier diversity with AAA Michigan, said Green’s ability and dedication to connecting members and corporations from the eastern and western parts of the state makes him essential to building economic growth.
Last year, the council was part of a group that put on a job fair for 5,000 people. And although that’s not what the organization typically does, Green said the event helped build more connections.
“I never believe in staying in my lane,” Green said.