Joe Coe, Boyd Gaming’s Director of Diversity, works diligently to connect minority-owned and women-owned businesses and organizations with opportunities, supporting Boyd Gaming’s goal of a more diverse, equal and unified community.
Coe has cheered from the sidelines as non-profits received needed funding he facilitated and stepped back as businesses stepped up to make a noticeable difference in the community. His hard work did not go unnoticed.
He was chosen as the first recipient of Western Regional Minority Supplier Development Council's (WRMSDC) Unsung Hero Award. He will be honored today, May 6 at WRMSDC's virtual gala.
“This award acknowledges Joe’s immense impact on our minority business community and our Council, as well as his tireless work within the field of diversity,” said Cecil Plummer, WRMSDC's President & Chief Executive Officer.
The honor surprised and humbled Coe.
“It’s still very surreal to me,” Coe said. “I’ve never sought the spotlight.”
But when the team at WRMSDC began to discuss who should receive this inaugural award, Coe was a unanimous choice.
“His commitment to communities of color spotlights Boyd Gaming within our network and beyond,” Plummer said. “Whenever called upon, Joe has graciously found a way to further support our mission and vision. Joe’s behind-the-scenes dedication, passion, honesty, and humble spirit of service make him a true Unsung Hero.”
WRMSDC created the new award category to shine a light on hardworking professionals who fight tirelessly behind the scenes for communities of color and often go unrecognized.
“There was no question that Joe must receive the Unsung Hero Award in its inaugural year,” said Christine Liwai Garcia, Vice President of Program Development and Minority Business Service at WRMSDC.
Coe has played a major role in WRMSDC events, including Supplier Diversity Best Practices and the Las Vegas MBE Showcase and Road Tour, as well as fundraising events, and offers critical development for diverse suppliers.
“Joe continues to move the needle for Supplier Diversity by ensuring Boyd Gaming’s procurement teams stay engaged in providing opportunity and inclusion for diverse suppliers in the supply chain,” Garcia said. “When asked to pitch in, whether it’s to straight talk minority-owned businesses, open doors for WRMSDC that otherwise would be shut, or tackle tough jobs behind the scenes that don’t come with much or any visibility and recognition, Joe Coe, our Unsung Hero, rolls up his sleeves and gets to work.”
Coe’s passion for helping people thrive within their community stems from a moment more than 20 years ago when he left Maryland for a job in Seattle.
“One individual who looked like me asked me a question, ‘Why are you here? We don’t need you.’,” Coe said. “I had to ask myself, ‘What part of the civil rights movement did this individual miss?’ There are people thriving to succeed despite societies’ opinion of how they look. That situation reaffirmed my calling: My mission in life is one of servant leadership.”