About Us


The Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC) is the state of Georgia’s leading advocacy organization for small business development and supplier diversity. Our primary focus is simple – to certify Minority Business Enterprise firms, help them prepare to engage global supply chains, and then facilitate partnerships with corporations and governments in need of their goods and services. We also advocate on behalf of our community in the halls of government and the overall community.

Recognized as the NMSDC Council of the Year in 2022, the GMSDC continues to facilitate new opportunities for its stakeholders and a level playing field for all. Constantly working to add value to your GMSDC investment is what drives us every day – it is the essence of the promise we make to the business community here in the great state of Georgia.


In 1975, a small but influential group of progressive Georgia Corporations – AT&T, The Coca Cola Company, Cox Communications, Delta Air Lines and RockTenn (now WestRock) – saw the need for an organization to champion the inclusion of minority suppliers into corporate supply chains. Atlanta had been the epicenter of the American Civil Rights movement of the 50s and 60s, and was the home base of dynamic proponents of equal opportunity like Martin Luther King, Jr and Maynard Jackson. What began as a governmental initiative to engage minority business owners in city contracts evolved into a powerful force that came to be known as supplier diversity. The Atlanta Regional Minority Purchasing Council (ARMPC) created a set of standards for identifying, engaging and utilizing minority suppliers in projects all across the metro Atlanta region. The Council’s influence played a large role in the evolution of supplier diversity, as evidenced by unprecedented levels of minority participation in corporate procurement and major projects, both public and private, throughout the region.

As the membership and influence of the Council continued to grow, the scope of the organization was eventually expanded to encompass the entire state of Georgia. The ARMPC board decided to affiliate with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) and subsequently changed the name of the organization to the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council, a move that significantly raised the profile of the Council and provided access to resources and relationships nationwide. Over more than 4 decades of service to the business community in Georgia, the GMSDC has facilitated business partnerships that have created tens of thousands of jobs and generated many billions of dollars in revenues. A four-time winner of the NMSDC’s Council of the Year award now serving some 400 corporations and more than 1,000 Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) firms, the GMSDC is one of the top performing councils in the NMSDC network and among the most influential supplier diversity and small business development organizations in the nation.

The Four Pillars of the GMSDC Promise...


The GMSDC verifies ethnic minority ownership of qualifying business entities and validates the credentials and documentation required to do business with Corporate Supply Chains. We offer free pre-certification information sessions to interested companies wanting to learn more about certification.


The GMSDC enhances the corporate readiness of certified MBEs by delivering a comprehensive slate of educational programs, workshops, conferences and other activities that constituent businesses for growth. The GMSDC Academy offers a specialized curriculum and customized programs designed to meet the needs of stakeholders.


The GMSDC facilitates essential relationships between Georgia corporations and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) firms. The calendar provides many networking and matchmaking opportunities where key players in corporate procurement and qualified suppliers may meet and engage one another.


The GMSDC is a thought leader and a key influencer in legislative, political and community circles. The focus of the Council’s advocacy efforts is the implementation of laws, regulations and business practices the foster a healthy business climate.


Vickie Irwin-Avery
Board Chairman
Southern Company

Keith Ambersley
Board Treasurer
Ernst & Young

David Braxton
Bank of America

Douglas Burrell
Board Legal Counsel
Chartwell Law

Tracy Copeland

Lauren Costley
Cox Communications

Tremese Davis
Southern Company Gas

Nedra Dickson

Fernando Hernandez
The Coca-Cola Company

Stacey Key
Georgia Minority Supplier
Development Council

Valerie Nesbitt
Norfolk Southern

Jack McPherson

Raven Smith
Lockheed Martin

Ken Taunton
The Royster Group

Clovice Vaughn
Board Secretary
Grady Health System

Adam Walker
Summit Packaging Solutions


Stacey J. Key
President and CEO
Florena Oliver
Vice President of

Vanessa Lane
Executive Director
Georgia Education Foundation

Michael Payne (3)
Michael Payne
Director of Corporate Services
Reginald Phams
Associate Director
Georgia Mentor Protégé
Sonji Franklin
Director of MBE Services

Angie Vernet
Certification Specialist

Emily Yang
Director of Communications
and Marketing


The GMSDC is a non-profit business advocacy organization that relies on the generosity of constituents and stakeholders to fulfill its mission. Your donations are fully tax-deductible and will help to create jobs and strengthen communities all over Georgia. Click here to learn more about sponsorship and in-kind donations…

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