Of Like Minds

The  Northern California Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC –NC) was revitalized in the spring of this year — with ­  MWIS President and CEO Ingrid Merriwether at the helm.

As President, Ingrid encourages all contractors and agencies interested in expanding the pool of capable, informed contractors to join in NAMC’s mission. “This revitalized chapter gives us a vehicle through which we can help identify and develop the minority contracting community in Northern California,” she says.

Since the April 23rd Kick-Off Dinner at the Claremont Hotel, the Chapter has been going ahead full force. They’ve sponsored two outreach events, a training event and engaged in public policy discussions related to small business development at the Oakland Army Base and within the City of Oakland.

This has sparked a flood of interest by contractors and potential sponsors, with many new members breathing new life and enthusiasm into the organization.

The group is focused on education and empowerment. A perfect example is the NAMC co-sponsored free workshop with the Doyle Drive Replacement Project, “Increasing Your Competitive Edge: Creating an Effective “Line Card” that took place in June. Designed to help DBE/UDBE/SBE/DVBE companies, the workshop offered advice for communicating key information in the first few minutes of meeting prime contractors; helped participants develop “line cards” to convey  the most important aspects of their businesses; and taught key marketing concepts.

Each participant met one-on-one with a business development specialist from the Doyle Drive Project prime contracts as well as prime contractors from the Caltrans Calmentor and Mentor/Protégé Programs.  After meeting with the primes, the participants were able to work with graphic designers (on-site) who helped them produce their actual “Line Cards”.

NAMC plans to focus on similar events in the future. For more information about NAMC, visit the Chapter’s website at

“What’s in a number?” asks President and CEO Ingrid Merriwether.

“The $500 million number we’re celebrating is opportunity and contracts awarded to small community-based contractors with public agencies who support inclusion and business growth. Public agencies who’ve recognized that removing barriers to create access to public contracts is good business and saves taxpayer funded contracting dollars, good for small local firms who hire local workers, and good for the community who benefit from local economic activity.

On behalf of the community, we’d like to say thank you to our bonding assistance sponsors who’ve made $500 million of opportunity a reality for their community based businesses.”

Ingrid Merriwether accepting 100 Black Men of the Bay AwardIn June, over 100 people gathered at the San Francisco City Club to honor President and CEO Ingrid Merriwether with the 2011 Women of Color Achievement Award. The award, sponsored by the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area, Inc. and Women Presidents’ Organization, recognized Ingrid’s impressive record of success as a distinguished business leader and community visionary.

More accolades came our way this summer. Out of over 2,000 nominations, MWIS was selected for the Inner City 100 List, which was published in the May issue of FortuneIngrid Merriwether accepting ICIC award. CEO and President Ingrid Merriwether was acknowledged for this achievement at the Inner City Advisors Brunch in Oakland. In May, our COO Rick Williams accepted the award at a Gala Awards Dinner in Boston, with more than 600 people in attendance.

The Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) and Fortune Magazine partnered together to create the Inner City 100 List, which spotlight and support growing companies in urban areas; highlight the importance of a healthy economy in developing healthy urban communities; explore how the advantages of inner cities, such as a diverse workforce and strategic location, can combine to create explosive growth; and change perceptions about inner city business.

Congratulations to our hard-working team for making a huge impact on communities and lives. We’re proud to get acknowledgement for our efforts in business and the community.

At the heart of Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services is the motto “Of Like Minds”. It’s about bringing together people “Of Like Minds” in Community, Business and Collaboration to create fairness, equity and a positive impact that ripples out through the community and beyond.

That’s why we named the part of our company that brings individuals and organizations together through social and fund raising events “Of Like Mind Productions” (OLMP). OLMP has come to life as a representation of the Merriwether and Williams passion for fairness, equity and their connection to smart business. OLMP is a way to bring together outstanding individuals and organizations throughout the year who share Like Minds to:

  • Highlight the positive impacts that have been made in our communities by those who are willing to step beyond their comfort zone for the sake of others.
  • Celebrate these contributions and achievements.
  • Convene discussions to share insights and innovative approaches to removing systemic barriers to diversity and inclusion.
  • Connect the dots – bringing “doers” together for the sake of community growth and development.
  • Spur direct engagement with policy makers to increase opportunity and inclusion of diverase communities.

Of Like Minds Productions is also a way for Merriwether & Williams to say Thank You to our clients and give back to our community through social and fund raising events. We will periodically select an organization or charity that aligns with the principles Of Like Minds to be the recipient of our fund raising efforts.

We strongly believe that it takes a village to help each other create thriving communities. Of Like Minds Productions is an engaging way for us to seed collaboration and further fuel the passions of equity and fairness for the sake of growth in the communities we serve.

We hope you’ll bookmark the Of Like Minds Blog so you can continue to receive interesting, relevant and exciting news of various insurance and surety bonding programs available throughout the state of California.


Ingrid Merriwther, CEO

Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services