“In large blue-chip companies, we’re accustomed to working with other blue-chip companies,” said Flemmich, vice president, Enabling Services Procurement, who has been mentoring one of Bristol Myers Squibb’s (BMS) small, diverse suppliers. “We get used to the way things are done, the way to gain influence within an organization, the way to conduct a polished pitch or presentation. Smaller companies that haven’t been exposed to the big-business approach don’t always understand how to navigate those bigger companies. And that can lead to missed opportunities,” said Flemmich.

Flemmich always wanted to help small businesses—especially diverse suppliers, who are a priority for BMS—make those crucial connections and, once made, capitalize on them. He had been offering ad hoc advice and feedback to small businesses for some time. Then he met Al Limaye, founder, CEO and president of LSInextGen, a global minority owned business providing integration services in technologies such as Qualtrics, Veeva, AI/Machine Learning, BlockChain; reselling for SAP, Oracle; IT staff augmentation and more.

Tony saw potential and decided to formalize the habit of partnering with purpose into a regimented, consistent mentoring opportunity. In LSInextGen, Flemmich saw a company with an abundance of ideas for the IT business. “Al is always trying to find problems to solve,” Flemmich said. “Is there some need in the supply chain, or for sales force engagement? Where else might he find a niche to fill?” Currently, for example, Limaye is working with Rondu Vincent, Executive Director, Global Supplier Diversity & Sustainability, on a supplier diversity reporting solution.

Flemmich and Limaye meet every four to six weeks to discuss Limaye’s latest ideas, the status of his business and areas for growth. The two set up an agenda before each meeting to ensure the most important topics are covered, said Limaye.

“I’m an Excel and process guy,” said Limaye, “so our agenda also includes a spreadsheet with details we need to tackle.” Limaye uses his conversations with Flemmich to gain insight into whether his company is meeting a unique need, ROI or what its services cost.

For his part, Flemmich dispenses enough advice to get things started. “I give the company an opening, and then Al goes after it! I also provide advice on how to present to and influence those stakeholders solely based on problems it will solve,” Said Flemmich. Limaye then identifies the problem he’s trying to solve and determines how that resonates with the business unit.

Flemmich and Limaye’s mentoring relationship started in early 2019 and has yielded numerous results for LSInextGen. “Specifically, introducing a new concept on product recalls and cost savings-based services for Veeva to BMS stakeholders. His advice also helped us gain more insights in the pharmaceutical industry helping us onboard another big pharmaceutical client in these COVID-19 times,” Limaye said.

Limaye would love to see the mentoring program grow even more within BMS. “Why not expand this concept? Such relationships are win-win not only for the suppliers being mentored, but also what we can give back to the organization in terms of white glove service. We get to know the organization better. Instead of providing generic services, we are able to customize it for client’s business problems,” Limaye said. “As per 2019 SBA data, small businesses add as many as 1.6M jobs each year and responsible for major portion of innovations. I hope other mentors jump onboard.”

Flemmich says he loves mentoring for purely altruistic reasons. “I do it for the benefit of the recipient,” he said. “My personal reward is seeing a small and diverse business grow. There is nothing better.”

LSInextGen has been a supplier to BMS for over three years, and the relationship has since blossomed. Not only has Limaye’s network within BMS grown, but today, he is a key participant at various BMS supplier diversity community outreach events. He has also accompanied our Government Affairs team to talk about supplier diversity on Capitol Hill during the “We Work for Health” summit in coordination with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). During this time, Limaye also interacted with CEO Giovani Caforio.

As the BMS supplier diversity team continues its journey towards spending $1 billion with small and diverse businesses, mentoring forms a strong part of its core strategy. Through meaningful partnerships, the program continues to make a transformative impact while building trust and supplying change.

About LSInextGen and Al Limaye:

Al Limaye founded LSInextGen in 1993, and since then he has turned it from a small startup into one of the fastest growing private companies in America. It has received numerous recognitions including being listed 25 on Deloitte & Touche list of the fastest 50 technology companies in New Jersey. LSInextGen is a certified MBE and a corporate member of NMSDD.

Limaye brings with him years of experience including two MS degrees in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering and managerial experience working with AT&T and Lucent Technologies prior to forming his own company.

Limaye has served on several boards including the Pace University’s Ivan G. Seidenberg School of Computer Science and the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce in NJ, where he spearheaded its Information Technology Committee. Limaye currently serves as an Executive Board member of TiE, a global network of entrepreneurs and professionals heading its expansion in New Jersey.  He is also currently serving on the board of Diversity Alliance for Science, focusing on promoting economic growth of small and diverse suppliers within life science and healthcare industries.