Release Date: March 29,2021
City of Akron Continues Progress on Equity and Fiscal Health Strategies
First Contract Compliance and Supplier Diversity Officer is hired; City joins Bloomberg Philanthropies Fiscal Health and Equity Initiative
Akron, Ohio, March 29, 2021 — In June of 2020, Mayor Horrigan released the City of Akron Procurement and Inclusion Report. The report was the result of 18 months of research and comparative analysis aimed at developing strategies to increase access to opportunity for minority-owned, women-owned, disadvantaged, and local businesses looking to do business with the City of Akron. One recommendation stemming from the report was to recruit and hire a Contract Compliance and Supplier Diversity Officer to develop a business program that would reflect municipal best practices on obtaining equity in City contracts and diversify suppliers. Mayor Horrigan has filled this position with Sheena Fain, an Akron native with HR and small business consulting experience.
“The goal of Sheena's position is to help increase access to opportunity and eliminate some of the institutional barriers that previously existed in our procurement and construction contracting processes,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. “Sheena brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role and I am confident that under her guidance, we can create lasting, equitable change in our community and in our City government.”
Sheena Fain is a proud Akron native. She received her MBA from the University of Phoenix and also obtained certification from Cornell University in Women’s Entrepreneurship. Sheena is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. She brings over 12 years of HR experience as well as several years of project management and business consulting experience to her new role. She has also previously been an entrepreneur herself. Sheena has one son, is an avid sports fan, and loves to travel.
“I view supplier diversity as an inherently logical and smart business strategy, not a social policy,” Sheena said about her position. “Diversifying suppliers naturally leads to job creation, drives competition, attracts qualified suppliers, and also increases investments in local communities. I’m excited to join the City of Akron team and looking forward to bringing my skillset and experience to this new endeavor.”
In her role, Sheena will establish and direct the overall Supplier Diversity program direction in both the Purchasing and Engineering Divisions. She will also manage the review of contracts, projects and plans, and development of policies and programs to enhance opportunity for small, local, and minority businesses. She will establish goals and other metrics for procurement, contracting and subcontracting with the City of Akron’s Disadvantaged/Minority/Women Business Enterprise (D/M/WBE) programs.
In addition to filling the Contract Compliance and Supplier Diversity Officer position, the City has also joined the Bloomberg Philanthropies new Fiscal Health and Equity Initiative. In October of 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced Akron as one of 30 U.S. cities selected for their "What Works Cities" City Budgeting for Equity and Recovery program, an effort to help cities confront budget crises while strengthening their commitment to equity in the wake of COVID-19.
As part of this initiative, Akron has identified two goals for the program. These goals are meant to advance equity through a deliberate and systematic approach to embedding fairness in the City’s decision-making processes. The first goal is to utilize the resources provided through Bloomberg to continue to work on advancing equity in the City's procurement processes. The second is to develop and implement a budget equity assessment tool. This tool could be used during the budgeting process to evaluate and insure that decisions being made are evaluated through an equity lens. The City is getting technical assistance from the Harvard Performance Lab to further work in this area.
Mayor Horrigan adds, “Improving equity is crucial to creating beneficial, long-term change and development at the City. Equity is central to Akron's efficiency, growth, and cohesion and we will continue to put it at the forefront of our decision making processes.”