Connectus Worldwide, LLC is a professional business consulting firm specializing in the delivery of certification and coaching services to Minority, Woman-owned, Veteran, and LGBTQ+ Business Enterprises and Majority organizations. We strongly believe when entrepreneurialism engages the entire community, the result is a dynamic and innovative environment abundant with opportunities and growth potential.

Our beliefs are supported by a mission, a vision, and a set of core values that is key to our thinking and provides the focus for our business defining how we approach everything that we do.

Meet Mary Shannon, Founder of Connectus Worldwide::

Importance of a Certification:

  • Leverages small businesses in a highly competitive marketplace
  • Identifies and validates minority, woman, Veteran, or LGBTQ business ownership.
  • Increases visibility and attracts new customers.
  • Shows credibility and a level of commitment to prospective customers.

Ready to obtain a small business certification? 

Connectus Worldwide works with diverse businesses to identify targeted certifications. We have the knowledge and expertise to help you navigate the certification process.

Needing to build a sustainable supplier diversity program? 

Connectus Worldwide will analyze and identify opportunities for integrating a supplier diversity program into your corporate strategy. We believe that the return on investment will positively impact the bottom-line. 







Below are the top 5 most common diverse business certifications:
  • Minority Business Enterprise (MBE): An organization that is: at least 51% owned and operated by a member(s) of a minority group such as African American, Asian American, Hispanic American and Native American U.S. citizens. 

  • Woman-Owned Business Enterprises (WBE): An organization that is at least 51% owned, controlled, and administered by a woman or women who are U.S. citizens.

  • Woman-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB): Woman-owned small businesses must meet all the WBE requirements plus meet the small business size standard for primary NAICS codes.

  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE): A business that is at least 51% owned by an individual(s) who the federal government considers to be socially and economically disadvantaged.

  • Veteran Business Enterprises (VBE): A VBE is defined as a business that is at least 51% owned, controlled, and administered by a veteran or a group of veterans.

  • Connectus Worldwide leads in empowering diverse businesses by simplifying the process with our 24/7 dashboard portal for uploading required documents into a secure environment.



(Filling out an online Business Intake form)

  • Meeting the certifying agency’s requirements


(Gathering business intel)

  • Thorough review of required documents requested by the certifying agencies.


(Coaching available during the 60 to 90-day certifying agency approval window)

  • Leveraging your certification

Get Started Today:

A staff member will contact you within 48 hours.

Corporate Services

Corporations have supplier diversity goals, strategies, and even challenges. As you navigate the complexity of having your organization recognize the business value of supplier diversity, it’s time to make sure your company has the right guidance, direction, and support to tailor a prescriptive playbook specific to your environment and needs. 

We also assist corporations in their quest to get their top-tier suppliers certified.

Get Started Today:

A staff member will contact you within 48 hours.

About Us


Our vision is to become the “go-to” experts for minority entrepreneurs seeking to grow their customer base and business opportunities within the public and corporate space. We partner with minority and disadvantaged business owners by being a resource and guide for obtaining a specialized business certification, as well as partnering with corporations to achieve their supplier diversity goals.


Like the Tree of Life, we are deeply connected to the world around us and dependent on each other to succeed. Our purpose is to connect minority and disadvantaged businesses to a broader customer market through awareness, certifications, and services.


We are an inclusive organization built on honesty, commitment, and integrity.


Mary Shannon

Founder | Consultant | Speaker

Mary Shannon, Founder, and Consultant of Connectus Worldwide is a leading professional in supplier diversity and brings a unique level of expertise to those in her reach. As a recognized diversity leader. Mary brings passion, enthusiasm, inspiration, and a deep understanding of diversity and inclusion.

Ms. Shannon managed the supplier diversity program for Hallmark Cards, for several years. She developed a proactive program for supplier identification, supplier growth and development, strategic planning, and program measurement which resulted in increased and effective utilization of diverse suppliers throughout the corporation.

  • Member of the leadership council for the National Small Business Association, Washington, D.C.
  • Founding member of the Kansas City SCORE Community Strategic Alliance
  • Board member for the Prospect Business Association
  • Jackson County, Missouri Commissioner to the Ethics, Human Relations, and Citizens Complaints Office.
  • An inductee into Marquis Who’s Who in America
  • An inductee of the Black Achievers Society
  • Hallmark Cards, “Hall Legacy Award” for establishing supplier diversity as a standard of business within Hallmark and the Kansas City, MO business community.
  • A philanthropic member with the Sister's Circle of Greater KC
Karen Slaughter
Managing Partner

Authentic, innovative, patient and determined are a few of the words used to describe Karen Slaughter. As Managing Partner, Karen brings a combined forty years of civil, community and corporate service experience to Connectus Worldwide. Proficient in analyzing problems and identifying solutions, she is dedicated to finding the solution that best fits your organization's needs.


As Technical Liaison and Product Owner in a Fortune 500 Company, Karen relied on skills acquired from Agile Methodology and Scrum training to implement technology changes. Karen has extensive experience gaining alignment and mitigating concerns between cross-functional teams. She believes the exchange of clear and concise communication is important for building consensus. Effective communication is a strong suit.

  • President, Key Coalition Inc. Not for Profit
  • Commissioner, Jackson County Monument to Freedom, Justice, Courage
  • Recipient, Good Neighbor Award City of Kansas City
  • Former Board Member, High Aspirations Mentoring Program
  • Former Co-Chair, Hallmark African American Leadership Council Social Committee
  • Former Committee Member, Heart of the City Area Plan
  • Former Committee Member, Vine Street Economic Development Committee

Contact Us

Contact Us

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your organization, please Contact Us today.

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