Director, supplier diversity and relationship management, Adient
Sherry Diccion believes that Adient’s supplier base should mirror the folks who sit in the automotive seats the company manufactures: people of all genders, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations and ages, including veterans and those with disabilities.
But not only does Diccion believe in doing business with a diverse group of suppliers, it’s her job as Adient’s director, supplier diversity and relationship management, to make DE&I a reality.
“Diversity brings new ideas, innovations and new perspectives, which leads to better decisions and makes the organization stronger,” said Diccion, who manages Adient’s portfolio of diverse suppliers that represents revenue exceeding $1 billion annually. “It has a positive impact on our communities as well as the customers we support.”
Adient is headquartered in Plymouth, Mich., near Detroit and makes seating for all major automakers.
In 2021, Diccion oversaw a new Tier 2 supplier initiative under which all Adient supplier partners were encouraged to create and implement their own diversity goals.
That initiative and other assistance resulted in Adient’s suppliers increasing their year-over-year spending with diverse companies by 73 percent, Diccion said.
“In my opinion, that’s where we are going to make our greatest impact in promoting diverse suppliers and contributing to the success of their businesses,” she said.
“There’s only so much we can do as a Tier 1 supplier — what about Tier 2 and Tier 3? They can have a diverse supplier base as well.”
Diccion is co-chair of Adient’s Women’s Resource Network and helped develop several of its programs that were designed to be held in-person at the company’s office but moved to a virtual platform because of the pandemic. The events are still being conducted virtually.
One such program is held on the third Friday of each month. Those sessions provide a forum for Adient employees to hear insights, experiences and opinions from panels of people in leadership roles within Adient and outside of the company.
One popular event this year, Diccion said, featured a candid conversation between two women — one from Ford Motor Co. and the other from Stellantis.
Diccion credits Adient’s executive leadership team with making all of this possible.
“Our executive leadership is completely committed to not only a diverse work force, but also to a diverse supplier base,” she said. “They give me the responsibility to make that happen.”
— Arlena Sawyers