The first female CEO of a major global automaker was appointed just five years ago. In Silicon Valley, 95% of the tech workforce is white males. Fifty-four percent of employees believe their employers could do more to promote gender equality.
Diversity and inclusion are issues that permeate all industries, not just automotive. At DENSO, we are taking active steps to change that narrative.
That’s why today, we are thrilled to announce we have named Denise Carlson, vice president, North American Production Innovation Center and Safety, Health and Environment, as Executive Lead of North American Diversity and Inclusion (D&I). Carlson, who was one of the first female engineers hired at DENSO, has been a part of DENSO for nearly 25 years.
We spoke to Denise on her new role and how D&I will help us reach long-term goals and shape the future of mobility.
Why is diversity and inclusion important?
First and foremost, accepting and respecting people of all races, ages, genders, ethnicities, backgrounds and cultures is the right thing to do.
Second, embracing D&I is one of the best ways to spark innovation. When we bring together diverse groups of people, it opens our eyes to the fact that there is always more than one way to achieve the same goal. Diverse groups offer unique perspectives to difficult challenges, break the cycle of inside-the-box thinking and bring great new ideas and opportunities to the table, which is critical for a company wanting to innovate.
This is particularly important for DENSO. We’re undergoing tremendous change – from a shift in business strategy to a focus on software-based solutions. Constant innovation is crucial if we want to remain competitive and best serve our customers.
What are you most excited about in your new role?
To start, I want to say that creating this position is a significant and symbolic moment at DENSO and I’m honored to be a part of it. Yes, we have D&I efforts already in place, but this shows the world we have a stake in the ground to truly progress in this area.
I am looking forward to working closely with our manufacturing facilities across North America to align on what D&I is, our goals and why it needs to be an integral part of daily functions. My hope to eventually create a work environment where diversity and inclusion is no longer a topic of discussion – because it’s engrained in the way we do business.
What does DENSO currently do for its D&I efforts?
In 2016, DENSO established the North American D&I Council to develop a three-year strategy to create and implement a culture of inclusion that promotes the diversity of all associates. We currently have D&I training for leaders at every level to strengthen understanding of D&I. At DENSO, our leaders are the champions behind this effort. They are committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse environment.
Other action items include:
Finally, it’s important to point out that diversity and inclusion are two separate things. Diversity is the collection of our similarities and differences based on characteristics that we are born with, experiences we have had and choices we have made. Inclusion occurs when people are welcomed, valued, respected and heard.
There’s more to do to be sure, and I look forward to working with associates around the country to lead that charge.
To read the press release announcing Denise’s new role at DENSO, click here.Tags: Company Direction Milestones Leadership Perspectives Personnel Announcements