2022 ALL STAR | DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION
CEO, Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion and Advancement
Since founding the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion and Advancement in 2017, Cheryl Thompson has been a unifying force in the automotive industry.
Her organization’s goal: double the number of the industry’s diverse leaders by 2030.
Thompson, 56, and her colleagues have rallied some big names around that cause. As of November, CADIA had 62 organizations as members, including automakers such as Ford Motor Co., Stellantis and Toyota Motor Corp., suppliers such as BorgWarner and Robert Bosch Corp., and retailers such as AutoNation and Lithia Motors, as well as other influential companies in the automotive industry.
Among the center’s accomplishments:
- Developing a 13-week accelerator program that teaches participants the fundamentals of diversity, equity and inclusion; how to build and implement a DE&I strategic plan, and how to approach complex organizational problems.
- Creating open forums for DE&I practitioners at automakers, suppliers and auto retailers to exchange ideas and share best practices.
- Maintaining a year-round calendar of gatherings to discuss topics in the DE&I space.
- Establishing the CADIA Impact Awards, now in its second year. The ceremony in suburban Detroit brings together people from many corners of the industry and celebrates the accomplishments of difference makers.
DE&I can be a thorny issue for some, while others want to commit to it as they work to build their talent pipelines but are not sure how. Thompson has led the way.