"WBCS provides the best networking opportunities for WBEs to connect with corporations, as well as WBE to WBE. Over the course of our 20-year membership, I can easily say that close to 82% of our growth has come from these connections."
Kim Sissen is President of CFJ Manufacturing, LP, which has been a certified WBE and WBCS member since 1997. She is currently involved in the Toyota Mentorship Program and shares how WBCS networking opportunities has helped her business grow.
Tell us a little about your story and how you came to work for CFJ?
I started my formal internship with CFJ Manufacturing while obtaining my MBA from Texas Christian University. I loved the idea of working in an environment where I could contribute to multiple projects, across a variety of internal disciplines. Every project provided a 360-degree vantage point. The company moves so quickly and with such great care for its customers; I knew I was making the right decision to officially join the organization full-time upon graduation. This year I celebrated my 23rd company anniversary.
How has WBCS membership benefitted CFJ Manufacturing?
WBCS provides the best networking opportunities for WBEs to connect with corporations, as well as WBE to WBE. Over the course of our 20-year membership, I can easily say that close to 82% of our growth has come from these connections.
How has being a part of the Toyota Mentorship Program helped you?
The Toyota Mentorship Program has been a wonderful sounding board to bounce ideas and discuss potential plans we have going on at CFJ Manufacturing. The Mentors bring vast amounts of knowledge, expertise, and resources to the conversation; they are always willing to sharing the Toyota Way, and its rich heritage in process improvements.
What is the best reason for another WBE to get certified?
WBCS membership will expand your visibility at every stage of your business. Simply stated, our membership has grown as we’ve grown. It has served us from a local perspective in the southwest region to global outreach opportunities via WEConnect International.
What is one thing you wish you knew about WBCS before joining?
If I had known the value membership would bring prior to joining, I probably wouldn’t have waited so long to get engaged.
Have you volunteered with WBCS? Which events/committees?
Service leadership is the heart of who we are as an organization. Numerous associates at CFJ Manufacturing have served on several committees and assisted at a variety of WBCS and WBENC events. We have employees who actively serve on the certification committee, as well as others who have volunteered at Table Topics and Power to Potential. I was honored to speak on a panel discussion regarding Global Business at a WBENC national convention, as well as serving as a recent panelist for the Toyota Mentorship Program at the BusinessWorks Keynote Luncheon. This year I served as Co-Chair of the BusinessWorks Expo event, as well an Ambassador for newly certified WBE’s.
What is your favorite WBCS event and why?
BusinessWorks is an event that I look forward to attending every year. We are very fortunate to have some of the world’s greatest corporations right in our backyard and actively involved in the Council. BusinessWorks offers the perfect environment to display our capacities and connect with local corporations and WBEs. The format allows participants to connect one-on-one, delve into possible procurement opportunities, and build business relationships in a relaxed atmosphere. Where else can you get this level of personal availability and connectivity from some of the greatest corporations and fellow WBEs?