The Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion and Advancement held its second annual CADIA Impact Awards in suburban Detroit last month. The ceremony recognized individuals and companies making noteworthy contributions to DE&I efforts in the industry. There were nine winners within five categories.
2022 CADIA Impact Awards recognizes industry's difference makers
The Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion and Advancement held its second annual CADIA Impact Awards last month, recognizing individuals and companies making noteworthy contributions to industry DE&I efforts.
CHAMPION FOR DIVERSE TALENT
Individual: Mae Smitherman-Smith, controller, global manufacturing, material planning and logistics, and warranty, Ford Motor Co.
- Mae Smitherman-Smith has led several initiatives to improve diversity recruiting and talent development within Ford's finance organization, including a three-year program that connects ethnically diverse employees with senior management, a deep-dive talent review of Black employees and a focus on increasing the diversity of the finance internship program. She is the first Black woman in the finance organization to rise from entry level to senior management in the history of Ford, opening the door for other underrepresented employees.
- A chance meeting between Derrick Mitchell, who had managed Lear's supplier diversity program for more than a decade, and Chief Administrative Officer Tom DiDonato led to the creation of Together We Grow. The merit-based program invites diverse, high-potential employees to commit to accomplishing specific steps in a customized career road map. All 31 members of the first cohort, formed in 2021, have been promoted. Lear plans to expand the program globally.
CREATING INCLUSIVE CULTURES
Individual: Victoria White, HR business partner, Denso
- Victoria White's primary role at supplier Denso is hiring and supporting expatriates. She has participated in the Japanese culture school education program at elementary, middle and high schools; joined Denso Women in Manufacturing, fostered engagement and connections opportunities via a karaoke club and brought 21 exchange students from Japan to the U.S. last summer.
Team/Company: Vitesco Technologies
- To bolster inclusion, German supplier Vitesco Technologies created Engagement Matters, which touches every layer from top management to low-level employees; trained 120-plus North American executives in unconscious bias; baked DE&I goals into all employees' development plans; and instituted a flexible work policy that lets workers choose a format that aligns best with their personal lives.
Individual: Chad Morley, senior vice president, automotive and transportation, Jabil Inc.
- Chad Morley is one of Jabil Inc.'s early adopters to champion DE&I — he was recognized by CEO Mark Mondello for his dedication to empowering others. After participating in the supplier's Igniting Inclusivity unconscious bias training, he scheduled a session solely for his team. In addition, he has conducted a company fireside chat to promote being an advocate for women, sponsors a committee focused on military veteran recruiting and supports the Greenlight Detroit Fund II, which is dedicated to helping youth and families who live in poverty.
- Bosch has created a DE&I leadership guide to support the supplier's strategy. The goal of the resource guide is to enable leaders to develop DE&I goals and actions for their respective business areas that will cascade into their part of the organization. Also, leaders have spoken during Bosch's podcast, "Beyond Bosch: Can We Talk about Race at Work?," and the company has a reverse mentoring programs developed by the AfricanAncestry@Bosch business resource group.
Individual: Andreas Douglas, director of engineering, Bosch
- Starting with establishing open, honest and raw one-on-one coffee talks between members of the AfricanAncestry@Bosch business resource group and executive leadership, Andreas Douglas has worked to support development and implementation of a reverse mentoring program on diversity. Additionally, he is a member of the company's DE&I and part of the "I Am Amazing" program, which helps young people develop toward their interests.
Team/Company: Nissan Americas
- Nissan Americas has identified three pillars of DE&I: people, culture and partners. In 2021, the automaker named Chandra Vasser its first DE&I head — 16 members of her team are solely committed to DE&I work. Nissan revitalized its executive diversity council and its interview process is standardized, ensuring a diverse slate of candidates and requiring a diverse interviewer panel.
POWER OF ONE
Ashwini Balasubramanian, group chief engineer, Harley-Davidson
- Ashwini Balasubramanian is involved in initiatives to advance the engineering careers of others and dedicated to making the profession more diverse and inclusive. A member of CADIA's advisory board, she has recruited companies to join the organization as members. When she was at supplier ZF, she started women-focused employee resource groups. At Harley-Davidson, she is the executive sponsor of the Asia Pacific Islander and Creating Relationships Empowering Women groups.
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