LN Westgate, LLC is a procurement and supplier diversity consulting firm headed by principal consultant Lisa Westgate. Lisa is a subject matter expert with over 25 years of experience of driving impact and change in procurement and supplier diversity.
At LN Westgate, LLC, we are committed to understanding and assisting with the individual goals of your organization, whether your diversity programs are compliant-based, you are attempting to make social impacts at a granular level, or you are still in the early stages of planning your supplier diversity program.
Our mission is to drive change through business by assisting companies to increase their supplier diversity spend while showing savings and innovation through procurement.
During the certification process I was asked to reflect on starting a consulting firm. I realize that though the firm was founded in 2023, my journey into the world of DEI began almost 20 years ago, on one day in 2004, when I was working as the Director of Procurement and Vendor Management at a large consulting firm. A request came in from the sales team, who were responding to an RFP that was requiring that we be able to define and report that 10% of our annual revenue would be allocated to minority- and women-owned businesses. I had never heard of such a request and had no idea how to make it happen. We had two weeks to respond, and within the time frame, we duct-taped a program that was outside of the standard process. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t strategic, and it hurt the bottom line--but we had an answer.
We didn’t win that contract, and it would be some time before we won our first project with compliance requirements, but the seed had been planted. Slowly but surely we changed the narrative, dialed in the process, and were able to execute with a strategic lens.
The journey to LN Westgate, LLC, continued years later, working for the Commonwealth of MA when I got to see diversity programs at their best. My primary function was creating strategic statewide contracts that held a diversity requirement, ensuring that Tier 1 and Tier 2 diversity was represented and aligned with goals. This is absolutely where I was bitten by the diversity bug. I saw firsthand that value, community, innovation, savings, and equity were all wrapped up in not only the requirement, but the benchmarking, tracking, and, if necessary, punitive damages. It is also where I began to understand the value of a compliance-based program as well as a social justice program; regardless of where the program starts, they both follow the same path: driving diverse suppliers into the market.
During a procurement event in 2016, I was introduced to the CEO of TealBook, a data platform SaaS company supporting the procurement world. What immediately caught my attention was the ability to aggregate supplier diversity companies for strategic sourcing preparation, but also the ease for supplier diversity Tier 1 and Tier 2 reporting. This was what I was looking for! A few years later I was brought on at TealBook, and as a Solutions Optimization Engineer, I was able to assist hundreds of people with their companies’ supplier diversity programs, from initiating their programs to increasing diversity. It was a dream-come-true role, allowing me to talk about procurement and supplier diversity all day long - without ever writing an RFI.
I had the opportunity to create trainings and overview programs to support customers on how to think about their Supplier Diversity program, and understand what roles the procurement team needs to play to both create these programs and help them grow and succeed. I know that my extensive experience in both procurement and supplier diversity is a bit unique, and I feel lucky to have seen the growth of this sector throughout my time in procurement. I fear the gap will continue to grow as contractual diversity programs increase, along with seeing companies laying off more professionals from both procurement as well as DEI; my goal is to use my experience and passion to empower others to close this gap.
I recognized however that as part of a SaaS company I’d be limited to the depth of process and policy discussions as they didn’t relate t the actual product. I wanted a more substantive customer-facing position that connected any tech stack to the customer’s procurement, DEI, and ESG-supplier diversity processes, going out on my own allows me to be focused on the parts of the process that I was most passionate.
My goal in starting LN Westgate, LLC, is to create a Small-, LGBTQ+- and Woman-owned firm that is open and encouraging businesses of all sizes. I want to encourage companies to gain an understanding of the processes required to not only initiate a diversity program but to energize their processes with good policy, efficient actions, and robust goal setting. This is how we’ll continue to change the world through business.