The New York and New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council’s 40th annual Partnership Awards Gala, held recently at the New York Marriott Marquis, honored outstanding minority entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Con Edison and Ernst & Young, for outstanding accomplishments in creating business collaborations.

The council presented the National Corporation of the Year Award to Johnson & Johnson. Con Edison received the Regional Corporation of the Year Award. Theresa Harrison, director of supplier diversity at Ernst & Young, earned the Advocate of the Year Award. In addition, the council presented the Chairperson’s Award to Emmett Walker, president and CEO of Walker International Transportation and chair of the council’s Minority Business Enterprise Input Comittee.

For distinguishing themselves in business and service to their communities, the council presented the prestigious Supplier of the Year Awards to the following multicultural businesses: Impacto Latin News for Class 1; Architectural Flooring Resource Inc. for Class 2; Eclaro International for Class 3; and Pride Technologies LLC for Class 4.

The Partnership Awards Gala was an inspiring, glamorous evening celebrating the success stories of supplier diversity. “Through the impact of corporate members and council-certified MBEs [Minority Business Enterprises], the council is considered the leading supplier diversity organization in the New York and New Jersey region,” said Pauline Gebon, chairperson of the council and vice president of supplier diversity at Adecco Group North America. “The work of minority business development is a Herculean job, one that is done through partnership and teamwork.”

The celebration commenced with a VIP reception sponsored by JPMorgan Chase, followed by the Partnership Awards Gala. A dancing flash mob led the attendees into a glamorous ballroom. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, N.J., and former secretary of state for New Jersey, delivered an inspirational invocation. Harrison was the corporate co-chair and Noorali Sonawalla, founder and CEO of Sunrise Systems, was the MBE co-chair.

Council board member I. Javette Hines, senior vice president of supplier diversity and sustainability at Citi, sang a rousing rendition of the national anthem. Joset Wright-Lacy, president and CEO of National Minority Supplier Development Council, brought greetings from the national office applauding the work done by the council over the past 40 years.

The evening’s emcees were Howard Cross, formerly of the New York Giants, who is now both a Giants Radio reporter and a noted real estate executive, and Doug Melville, chief diversity officer at TBWA Worldwide.