Lee Fleming is Multnomah County’s Supplier Diversity Officer. He is Multnomah County’s primary expert on business equity, supporting the county’s goals of sustainability and maximizing contracting opportunities for all vendors, including minority-owned, women-owned and emerging small businesses.
How did you become interested in Multnomah County?
Purchasing managers knew of the work I was doing in this area and I was recruited. The Supplier Diversity Officer (Finance Supervisor) is a specialized role and I seemed to have the right skills. My job is centric to marketing, outreach, dealing with supplier concerns directly, and working with minority and women-owned businesses. It involves reaching out to various communities of color and chambers of commerce.
I really wasn’t thinking about leaving my previous position and was enjoying the work I did. I shared that with the interview panel. The recruiter, Tony Jenkins, told me I was the top candidate. He asked, “How do we get to yes?” I was floored, I really was. It was very humbling to know the county wanted me to come and continue this work.
Why did you choose to work for Multnomah County?
This is a great organization. I’ve been impressed since I’ve been here. The team that I work with makes this a great experience. There are a lot of people working hard to make the county the best that it can be. I’m just glad to be a part of the effort here.
What sets Multnomah County apart in your view?
The county is really working hard to make a difference. It’s not just business as usual. Staff are really working to impact the citizens of the county where they live and where it matters most. Multnomah County carries a great reputation. We’re looked at as leaders in what we do. I really appreciate the confidence that my manager has in me. He’s so supportive. He trusts my judgment and knows I’m not going to make a decision without making sure we’re in sync.
What keeps you engaged?
The work keeps me engaged. My work crosses the lines between business equity and professional procurement services. So bringing that together, the laws and the rules, and driving toward achieving equity in our business practices is exciting. I can bring that broad perspective to the table.
In my role, I get to challenge business as usual. I can ask: “So how do we engage small, underutilized firms? Who are the underserved among us? And how do we better engage them?” No two days for me are ever the same. Having the ability to serve the community so directly is really exciting. I love what I do.
Our promise to employees and applicants is "This Work Matters." Why does This Work Matter to you?
Being here at the county, I know the county is serious. I’ve watched people adjust their thinking on the fly and call me up and ask my opinion on business equity. It takes a communal effort to begin to drive that kind of change throughout an organization, especially one as big as the county.
Are there challenges in an organization like the county to the work? Of course. But I believe the overall sentiment of the county is to ensure that this work does matter and that we engage the community in very real ways.