If you work in the automotive industry or you’re interested in pursuing a career in the field, here’s an event you’ll definitely want to mark on your calendar. The Center for Automotive Diversity (CADIA) kicks off its annual conference (all events will take place via Zoom) with a special advance workshop on April 9, starting at 1:00 p.m.
Spearheaded by CADIA founder and CEO Cheryl Thompson, individuals and leadership teams will define why diversity, equity, and inclusion are important to them personally and to the organization. They will explore the priorities and measures required to set themselves and the organization up for true transformation and sustainable success.
The main conference takes place April 12, beginning at 8:30 a.m., and continues throughout the day until 3:30 p.m. “Progress Over Perfection — Rev Up 2030,” includes participation from WCX 2021, North America’s largest mobility engineering event. This series of ongoing conferences will feature industry experts, panel discussions, representatives from auto manufacturers and case studies in Diversity and Inclusion.
Of CADIA’s relationship with the LGBTQ community, Baxter says: “We are seeing a lack of inclusive culture where LGBTQ+ individuals, people of color, the differently-abled or other underrepresented groups do not feel as included and welcomed as they could in order to bring their authentic and best selves to work every day. That is what we strive to change — to bring awareness and understanding of equity and inclusion so that everyone can be themselves at work, feel included and be able to bring their talents to the table.”
The need for these conversations came to light long before COVID-19, but was further exacerbated by the lack of business hours/resources for the automotive industry. “[After COVID-19] we quickly found our footing by providing a forum for professionals in the automotive industry to find community while working remotely, and in some cases, feeling otherwise very isolated,” Baxter explains. “That ‘community’ has sparked so many great ideas and conversations, and when George Floyd was killed last spring, we already had a safe space for people to talk about race, racism, inclusion and diversity, so we felt very fortunate to have such a strong and trusting community to allow people space to process, share and learn.”
Outside of the annual conference, those wishing to participate in future CADIA events are welcome to join in on CADIA Connects Zoom conversations on Tuesdays from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. These sessions will be hosted by various CADIA employees and community partners.
“We recently hosted a session featuring Stan Kimer, president of Total Engagement Consulting discussing ‘Gender Identity and Gender Expression — The Latest Diversity Frontier,’” Baxter explains. “Stan is an expert on gender and the workplace, and we had a great conversation.” There is also an individual CADIA student membership, which is open to anyone who is interested in business and DE&I (their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative).
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