Jennifer Barnes a Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 under 40

In recognition of her tremendous work helping strategically lead the University of Pittsburgh to support more diverse suppliers, Jennifer Barnes has been recognized as one of Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 under 40 in 2022 (alongside one other Pitt employee & many alums). Learn more about her important work below!

“The University of Pittsburgh is an economic engine in the Commonwealth, generating a $4.2 billion impact in Pennsylvania each year. While this is great news for communities across the state, Pitt is doing even more by committing to address racial disparities and economic inequities as well.” 

At the helm of this effort is Jennifer Barnes, Supplier Diversity & Sustainability Coordinator in Pitt’s Purchasing Services.

Barnes collaborates with leaders around the University to establish institution-wide spending goals to increase the number of diverse vendors that Pitt partners with for everything from office supplies to food services. Diversity in this case includes both racial and gender minorities.

“Pitt already had a goal of 10% diverse, non-construction spend, but we have exceeded that goal for the past three fiscal years, so it was time to update it with a new goal of 15% by 2025,” said Barnes, who joined Pitt in 2019. “Also, for the first time, we set a goal for spending with Black-owned businesses. We know that the University spends an average of 2.5% of our eligible non-construction spend with Black-owned companies. Through analysis and work with stakeholders, we created a plan to establish a goal of 5.5% by 2025.”

Sustainability topics are at the center of the diverse supplier initiative as well, with each new request aligning with Pitt’s Climate Action Plan.

“We want to make sure that any new supplier agreements reflect those goals as well,” said Barnes.

In her personal life, Jennifer has been a mentor for Amachi Pittsburgh since 2016, mentoring children with one or both parents incarcerated, to help them build confidence; improve school performance; and make healthier lifetime choices. She has also been a member of the Urban League Young Professionals of Greater Pittsburgh since 2013 and regularly donates menstrual products to Sisterfriend. Over her career and at Pitt, Jennifer has worked to create systemic, positive change, advancing towards a just community where all can thrive together.

Earlier in 2022, Jennifer was recognized as a Fab40 by The New Pittsburgh Courier.

Read Pittwire article about Jennifer’s work. (Original story by Kara Henderson)

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