Meet Marliz Copado: SCM's Anchor Institution Initiative Professional

As part of the Anchor Institution Initiative, UCSF and Supply Chain Management (SCM) have made a commitment to diversify our suppliers and spend to bring in more small/local/diverse businesses. Spearheading this initiative for SCM is Strategic Sourcing Professional Marliz Copado. In this Q&A we chat with Copado about her influences, motivation and vision for her work on this project.

Q: Talk about your background and what influenced you to choose this line of work?

A: Growing up in Gilroy, California I learned a really good lesson at a young age about how community mobilization works. As a requirement in high school and being on a sports team – gymnastics and cheerleading – we had to volunteer at the garlic festival every year. It was a great, positive, impactful way for people to come spend their money and for that money to be distributed back into the community so that our sports team can fund expenses. That’s really where I first understood how developing communities is attributed to economic security. This experience is one strategy that I want to build from in this line of work.

Q: What made you want to pursue this position?

A: I went to Dominican University in San Rafael and got an MBA in Sustainable Enterprise. It was marketed as a “green MBA” because we look at a triple-bottom-line approach in business – people, planet and profits. My values in business come from a profit-for-purpose and business-as-mission framework. I’ve lived here in San Francisco about eight years and struggled with finding the right role where I can bring in my values, academia and creative passion. Then I began to hear exceptional things about UCSF in my network.

What Can You Do? 

  • Support small/local/diverse suppliers by procuring your goods and services from them whenever possible.
  • Join SCM’s Marliz Copado for a monthly virtual brainstorming meeting to discuss implementation tactics. We invite all to join. Email Copado to get involved and receive an invitation. The first session is January 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

When I saw the UCSF role it really struck a chord with me – being able to influence decisions on spend and help build a program with strategies to source within the community that is extremely impactful work that aligns with my values. New to the public sector, I didn’t realize I could manage, track and measure efficiencies in supply chain, do all of those strong tactical skills, while also help create strategies to enable supplier diversity to address economic and health inequities in the larger base community. Working alongside departments and business units within an organization to strategically match needs with small/local/diverse businesses and suppliers is a true dream job. If you are curious, yes, I am a person who likes puzzles.

Q: Tell us about the Anchor Institution Initiative. What’s it all about?

A: The Anchor Institution Initiative is a network of 50+ health systems and supporting institutions collaborating to align internally, partner with the community, and advance inclusive and sustainable local economies that sustain health and well-being. At the core, this initiative seeks to address the root causes of economic and racial inequities that create barriers to health and thriving as a person living in that community. 

Because of the inequities seen in healthcare this initiative and network started in healthcare but is rolling out into the community because there’s more than just the health inequities, there’s also institutional- and organizational-level systemic inequities within corporations and organizations.

UCSF is one of the city’s top employers and a powerful and well-respected institution in the community. We want to continue to live up to that legacy of being an involved and engaged neighbor in the community by creating a bridge of opportunity for small/local/diverse businesses to conduct business with the UCSF and UCSF Health.

This initiative is important because we really have to conduct business better. When we think about moving forward outside of this pandemic and how it’s ruined people’s livelihoods, key players, – large organizations, health institutions, powerful corporations and government – these all have a very important part or role to play. I think it’s become a responsibility to show up and help make a difference. This project is important because it’s going to help rebuild the local economy as well as the greater Bay Area.

Q: What is your role and that of SCM?

A: In Procurement, we want to focus on the spend. Currently, UCSF has a very small percentage of spend that goes to supplier diversity at about less than 8 percent. We see that as an opportunity in the procurement/contracting department to address this as a need to help small/local/diverse businesses that are going out of business permanently as our way to address economic inequity. I’m that dedicated resource that’s going to be working on this day in and day out.

To start, I met with the president of the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce (SFAACC) to identify, assess and find ways to build strategies and metrics around creating this bridge to conduct business in construction work at UCSF. It’s taking these external stakeholders, assessing their needs, evaluating what the needs are internally at UCSF and to see where the opportunities for spend are, who those decision-makers are so that we can begin to align with the goal of diversifying that spend.

I will need to build relationships and allies across the organization in various sectors and levels to reach campus, research and health. I will meet with departments where needs are identified in large spend categories, discuss their spend, build a framework that aligns goals and introduce them to the small/local/diverse businesses that we sourced. In order to divert the current spend, we will focus on building a program framework that will operationalize a system to encourage and promote the use of small/local/diverse businesses and suppliers.

I would love for people to get involved and to advocate for their department in spend. (See the box for information on joining Copado for her upcoming “mastermind” session.