MICHauto and the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement (CADIA) are partnering to drive change throughout the automotive industry. Historically considered a homogeneous industry, barriers are being broken down across OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers in recognition of the importance of employing a diverse and inclusive workforce. New momentum is emerging to force a change that has been talked about for decades with minimal action.

CADIA presents diversity, equity, and inclusion as an organizational evolution across five phases, with companies coming to the table at various stages, asking what needs to happen next. So, where does your company fall? And what do you need to do now to achieve a sustainable and embedded culture of diversity?

A roundtable of 12 automotive CEOs met with Cheryl Thompson and Margaret Baxter of CADIA and Glenn Stevens Jr. and Carolyn Sauer of MICHauto on July 8 to explore this dialogue.

In an industry driven by numbers and metrics, it was an interesting discussion about how to shape change and measure it, with some leaders being able to quantify progress in this area to date and others focusing on a softer message to “center on diversity of thought” to maximize their team’s impact. Some key takeaways from this conversation are:

  • Every supplier is at a different stage in the journey, and that is okay. It is important to first recognize where your company lies across phases one to five, so that you can identify the next appropriate action steps.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion do not happen overnight and are not necessarily numbers to achieve, but behavioral shifts across the organization that allow people of all backgrounds to be heard and valued on a sustainable basis.
  • OEMs are leading by example and setting the path for racial equity, and suppliers are on board with advancing their thinking and establishing plans.
  • There are a number of resources available to help companies on this path, regardless of their level. Learning from each other is key.

We still have work to do before the automotive industry is more reflective of the world around it in terms of diversity, especially within leadership ranks, but OEMs and suppliers are committing to make change. And commitment is just the first step we need.

For more on diversity, equity, and inclusion, register for CADIA’s Rev Up Now sessions, featuring an OEM town hall, to hear what your customers are doing.