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Mary Kay advocates for supplier diversity programs and gender-responsive procurement as powerful strategies for inclusive sustainable growth

Dallas, Texas (October 19, 2022) – A long-standing champion and global advocate for women’s empowerment and gender equality, Mary Kay shared with transparency its gender-responsive procurement (GRP) global journey at the Diversity Summit in Prague, Czech Republic. Hosted by Startup Disrupt on September 13, 2022, at the newly renovated Clam-Gallas Palace, the summit was the largest European hybrid conference on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), bringing together more than 50 keynote speakers from the non-profit, government, and business sector. The event is held under the auspices of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Capital City of Prague, and the US Embassy in the Czech Republic.

Speakers and thought leaders included the American space enthusiast Alyssa Carson, Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality, Lenka Simerská from the Czech Republic Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Denisa Linhartová from the Czech Olympic Commission, economist Danuše Nerudová, Lea Lundblad from Apple, Rebeca Grattan from Avast, and Virginie Naigeon-Malek from Mary Kay Inc., sharing insights on key topics such as:

  • Leveraging DEI Ecosystem with Business Goals;
  • Developing and Sustaining DEI Company Culture;
  • Inclusive Design and Innovation;
  • Women’s Empowerment.

“The purpose of the Diversity Summit was for us to bring together some of the brightest minds in the private, public, and government sectors and to unite their voices in our unyielding rally towards gender equality not only in the Czech Republic and Europe but also all around the world. We know that reducing inequality boosts economies and develops lasting and robust societies that give all individuals – women and men – the opportunity to fulfill their potential.”

Patrik Juránek, Founder and CEO of Startup Disrupt

Virginie Naigeon-Malek, the Global Head of Sustainability and Social Impact at Mary Kay Inc., was one of the featured keynote speakers on the topic of women’s economic empowerment in which she built the business case for the inclusion of women suppliers of services and products into the global value chain as a powerful strategy for companies to drive sustainable growth and social impact.

UN Women defines gender-responsive procurement[1] as “the sustainable selection of services, goods, or public works from women-owned or women-led enterprises and also gender-responsive businesses – those having gender-responsive policies and practices for employees and supply chains.” In the Europe region, women account for less than a third of entrepreneurs. Studies show that even though women get half the investment capital compared to men, their companies deliver twice as much revenue for each dollar invested.[2]

“Investing in women-owned businesses and including them in the global supply chain is not only the right thing to do it is also the smart thing to do for corporations. As women suppliers win more business, their families, local communities, and national economies benefit. Studies show that women entrepreneurs tend to reinvest up to 90% of their earnings in their families and communities, thus linking inclusive economic growth directly to development. Women businesses need to have an equal footing while competing for contract opportunities.”

Virginie Naigeon-Malek, Mary Kay Inc. Global Head of Sustainability and Social Impact

Watch the video to learn more about Mary Kay’s commitment to Supplier Diversity & Inclusion (SDI) and gender-responsive procurement. 

“Building on the success of the Sustainable Future International Conference, we were delighted to partner once again with Startup Disrupt who’s putting Diversity at the top of the global agenda, fostering dialogue across all stakeholders, and engaging our communities. We all need to work collectively with an innovative mindset to remove barriers to women’s empowerment and equality.”

Edita Szaboova, General Manager of Mary Kay Czech Republic and Slovakia

Did you know?

  • Globally, 1 in 3 businesses are owned by women.
  • Yet – on average, women-owned businesses globally win less than 1% of all procurement spend by large corporations and governments. 
  • Estimates suggest that corporate procurement offices manage an average of 64 percent of a company’s total enterprise spend.

Source: Vazquez, E.A & A.J. Sherman. (2013). Buying for Impact: How to Buy from Women and Change the World. Charleston, South Carolina: Advantage.



Startup Disrupt was founded in 2020 and is dedicated to helping businesses and tech disrupters to change the ‘old’ way of thinking in industries, products, and services. We are a future-oriented group of passionate startup enthusiasts who want to help a new generation of startup founders, engineers, developers, tech innovators, and others to succeed. The purpose of Startup Disrupt is to become a startup platform designed to provide knowledge, inspiration, and connection to entrepreneurs, startup founders, technology innovators, and startup communities all over the world. For more information, visit https://www.startupdisrupt.com/.  

[1] UN Women. (2022).“Procurement’s Strategic Value: Why Gender-responsive Procurement Makes Business Sense.” New York: UN Women.

[2] “Funding Women Entrepreneurs: How to Empower Growth.” (June 2020). Prepared for: The European Commission By: Innovation Finance Advisory.