© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

08/12/08 6:00 PM ET

Diversity the star in Harlem celebration

MLB, Diverse Business Partners fete vendors, execs at party

The 2008 All-Star Game was set as a commencement of farewells to Yankee Stadium. Major League Baseball's Diverse Business Partners came together in Harlem's River Room for an annual celebration to kick off the week's festivities.

This year, a record number of guests, including Office of the Commissioner personnel, club representatives and Diverse Business Partners vendors were in attendance. These guests gathered to express their support to the DBP program and to the vendors who have consistently made the program successful.

Following a welcoming by Clayton Judge, director of supplier diversity, and words of appreciation by Wendy Lewis, senior vice president for diversity and strategic alliances, guests were then treated to a pulsating performance by jazz vibraphonist and three-time Grammy nominee Stefon Harris.

A scenic view of the brightly-lit George Washington Bridge was the backdrop to a night that genuinely extended gratitude. Vendors chose to extend their thanks to Major League Baseball and its hard work in ensuring that Diverse Business Partners prove to be the most successful supplier diversity program in the professional sports industry.

Carol Philp, president of CWI Creative, and Dan Perkins, publisher of diversityinbusiness.com, chose to acknowledge Lewis with an unannounced award for her continued dedication to Diverse Business Partners. Perkins presented Lewis with diversityinbusiness.com's distinguished leadership award.

While presenting the award, Perkins shared, "I have had the pleasure of knowing Wendy Lewis for more than 10 years, and I can truly say that Wendy is among a handful of supplier diversity-program leaders that exhibits what I call 'inspired leadership.' Anyone who has worked for Wendy Lewis knows she has very high standards and expects excellence from her suppliers, however, what distinguishes Wendy from so many other program leaders is the fact that she gives as much as she demands, and oftentimes gives more."

Ronald Bright, president of priority enterprise, also shared his sentiments on the evening, noting, "As an African-American business owner, I felt extremely proud and honored to be a part of such an historical event. I commend MLB, Ms. Lewis and Mr. Judge for their tireless efforts and support of all its Diverse Business Partners."

A feeling of pride in Major League Baseball for initializing and continuing the success of DBP was shared in the room by all. The large turnout combined with the sentiments of the many accomplishments of Diverse Business Partners made the night one to remember.

Josephine Martínez is a student at Le Moyne College and a MLB Diverse Business Partners intern. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.