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Debra Jennings-Johnson

Interim President & CEO at ChicagoMSDC

Advocating for diverse businesses has been her calling since early in her career. Debra is now leveraging her over 30 years of experience that promotes diversity and inclusion in corporate procurement to continue the ChicagoMSDC legacy.  


Debra's goal is to create leadership that adapts to an ever-changing business ecosystem and prepares Chicago MSDC for the next five years and beyond. Having dedicated 23 years of service to bp America as its Senior Director of Supplier Diversity, she maximized the inclusion of diversity in the supply chain through the development of innovative initiatives such as the Diversity Growth Initiative and the Partnership Exchange. 

Debra is Valued as an advisor for combining the "old school" spirit for minority business development with current procurement practices.  

As an outspoken advocate who has been chairman of the board of directors for the Women's Business Development Center in Chicago and the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council, served as a board member of the Women's Business Enterprise National Council, and a former board member of the National Minority Supplier Development Council. Additionally, she has been an active member of Chicago United, the Chicago Urban League, the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.


She has received numerous awards for her achievements, such as the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (Applause Award), Advocate of the Year by Southern Regional Minority Supplier Development Council, ChicagoMSDC Legacy Award, and recognition from the Women's Business Development Center, Chicago United, and the Minority Business Development Agency.  

MBN USA recognized Debra's supplier diversity work in 2018 with Best of the Decades in Supplier Diversity. She led the efforts for bp to achieve the Corporate Champion Award from the Women's Business Development Center in 2016 and Corporation of the Year from the Women's Business Enterprise Alliance in 2017. 

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