“We’re just trying to get the best value for our members. And that’s not necessarily the lowest price, it’s how can you bring value?” – Wayne Shanks

Wayne Shanks is a military leader, planner, and diversity advocate who adapts to solve complex issues and strives to keep giving back. With twenty-eight years of military leadership experience, Wayne was a second lieutenant then a colonel in the US Army. He has seventeen years of communications experience, developing and implementing effective strategies to achieve complex goals. Wayne leads USAA’s Military Family Supplier Diversity program. This unique program focuses on enhancing opportunities for qualified veteran- or military spouse-owned companies. This program allows these specific groups of people      to compete for supply opportunities, as well as other diverse categories of businesses.[1]  With their military family focus, USAA’s goal is to facilitate veteran- or military spouse-owned business use and aid in establishing veteran and spouse hiring initiatives.

“You need to be able to know what you do well. Don’t worry about your other revenue streams. Pitch that one revenue stream that value proposition to the corporate, and then your other revenue streams, the other things you do, your ancillary products and services will come to light as your relationship blossoms.” – Adam Moore

Wayne joins us today to share his perspective on the Supplier Diversity Program at USAA. Wayne reveals some of the difficult areas USAA has finding suppliers and how to connect with major businesses. He talks about the difficulty of working with larger businesses due to their lengthy decision-making processes, and how to prepare for proposals with companies like USAA. Wayne explains why you want to work with USAA and provides examples on how USAA has helped its partners and suppliers in the past.  Wayne also emphasizes how value creation is key to connecting with and establishing meaningful partnership with businesses like USAA.

“Really interested to see recent movement within military spouse entrepreneurs out there growing in the section, because I think as a traditional employment standpoint, Military spouses are a vastly underserved community.”– Wayne Shanks

“It’s not, you know you call me one day and we’re going to have a contract the next day. It’s a long-term process. It takes probably several months.” – Wayne Shanks

Topics discussed in this episode of Breaking Barriers, Building a Hire Ground:

  • Building relationships with reciprocal insurance exchanges
  • What Wayne looks for in a new supplier
  • Using strategic partnerships to navigate regulatory requirements
  • The advantages of using a veteran-owned firm
  • Hang-ups for suppliers during the contracting phase
  • How the pandemic has shifted priorities for businesses
  • Why value creation helps create meaningful connections

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