LAS VEGAS — Diversity initiatives don't have an end date. They can't be viewed as a one-time task. And automotive industry leaders should realize those initiatives must be at the core of their respective organizations to work well.
That's the advice of executives and dealers who participated in a Cars.com panel discussion about diversity, equity and inclusion at the NADA Show.
More industry leaders need to do the "heart work" — as in leading with their hearts and initiating change within their own walls, said Marita Thomas, chief communications officer of Cars.com.
"It's not about putting a black box up on social," Thomas said. "It's not just about writing a check to an organization."
DE&I was one of the first topics that came up when Cars.com CEO Alex Vetter interviewed Thomas years ago, she said. Before Thomas even stepped foot in the door, she and Vetter discussed how the company drives representation within itself, she said.
"We sit at the intersection of both automotive and technology, two industries that are not diverse," Thomas said. "So how do you go out and preach the good word if you're not doing it?"