As the first state-sponsored mentor-protégé program in the U.S., the Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection (MPC) currently administered under the Georgia Education Foundation in partnership with the State of Georgia and the Georgia Technology Innovation Institute gives emerging firms one year of exclusive mentorship with the nation’s leading corporations. MPC alum and CEO Sidd Ahmed of VDart, Inc. and his 2012-2013 corporate mentor, Karmetria Burton of Delta Air Lines, share their firsthand experiences with the prestigious capacity building program, as well as the value it brings to the Georgia small business community.
Veronica Maldonado is the program director of the nation’s first mentor protégé program: the Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection (MPC). Through the MPC, Georgia small businesses are matched with the nation’s leading Fortune 500 corporations for one year of exclusive mentorship. The program is based on one premise: that while emerging firms build relationships, explore new technologies, and learn best practices to take their business to the next level, corporations help lead a path to sustainability, progress and economic growth for the Georgia business community.
Ms. Maldonado is uniquely qualified to lead the MPC program. She is a dynamic Latina community business leader, and on all counts is an expert in fostering strategic alliances, creating win-win negotiations and implementing effective marketing strategies to increase brand value throughout the pipeline. Further applying her expertise, Ms. Maldonado also works as the director of strategic alliance and partnerships for the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC), where she barters relationships between GMSDC and other minority/small business development associations, chambers and organizations in Georgia.
Karmetria Dunham Burton/Delta Air Lines, Inc.
Touted as one of the Top 25 Women Impacting Diversity by DiversityPlus Magazine over the past two years, Karmetria Burton is igniting an inspirational fire among women AND men in the corporate world. The Houston, Texas native currently serves as General Manager of Strategic Programs with Delta Air Lines.
In her challenging professional role, Karmetria functions as an advocate for minority and women-owned businesses, ensuring they are afforded competitive opportunities to service the international airliner. Her ultimate goal is to develop a quality best-in-class supplier diversity program that continues Delta’s legacy as an industry leader.
Syed (“Sidd”) Ahmed is the President & CEO of VDart, Inc., a leading information technology staffing firm headquartered in Atlanta, GA. In little more than five years, it has transformed from a brand new firm to a major player on the IT services landscape. Touting nearly 440 employees, with offices in Atlanta, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK and India, VDart provides IT staffing solutions to clients all over the globe.
Founded in 2007, VDart is laser focused on the core objective of finding the right IT professional with the perfect mix of skills and experiences to meet the client’s business objectives. As a result of that commitment and Sidd’s leadership, VDart has received numerous awards and honors recognizing its rapid growth and high achievement including being a Inc 500’s fastest growing privately held firms in U.S. for the past two years, earning ACG Fast 40’s 9th fastest growing company in Atlanta in 2013, and claiming rank on the Pacesetter Awards list for being the fastest growing privately held company in Atlanta for the past two years. Without question, VDart, is doing great things and is a shining example of how a certified MBE can leverage its resources to achieve exponential growth.