Rainbow PUSH Global Automotive Summit focuses on economic parity


Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr


GM President of North America Mark Reuss and Toyota Engineering & Manufacturing

President and CEO Simon Nagata to Discuss Diversity

DETROIT, MI – With more than 22 percent of the new vehicles purchased by ethnic consumers, economic parity has become more important than ever in the sustainability and growth of automotive suppliers, dealers and vendors.  Economic parity redresses the relationship with the automotive industry and its consumers, and builds the business case for reciprocity with OEMs.

The Rainbow PUSH Automotive Project, an initiative of the Citizenship Education Fund (CEF), proudly announces its lineup of speakers at the 14 Summit occurs Wednesday, October 2, 2013, at the MGM Grand Detroit Meeting & Events Center, 1777 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48226.

Automotive leaders from around the globe will assemble to share expert insight, strategies, trends and solutions regarding the economic impact of diversity. The Rainbow PUSH Global Automotive Summit is the only conference that delves deeply into the automotive industry as it relates to people of color, with emphasis on African American concerns.

In January 2013, the Rainbow PUSH Automotive Project released an Automotive Diversity Scorecard to provide a snapshot of each manufacturer’s success of building and sustaining diversity and inclusion.

The Diversity Scorecard establishes the standards for unbiased diversity in the automotive industry; and provides Rainbow PUSH a resource to understand, monitor and acknowledge best diversity practices in the automotive industry.  Since the Diversity Scorecard announcement, Rainbow PUSH has held several productive meetings with automotive manufacturers.

“The auto industry is returning to its glory years – and, as it does, the issue of diversity and inclusion must become an action rather than a corporate talking point,” says Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., founder and president, Rainbow PUSH Coalition.  “Each time minority consumers purchase vehicles they are creating a socio-economic paradigm with the auto industry that cannot be ignored. Diversity is the foundation of our nation. Auto companies that embrace diversity will reap the economic benefits; those who reject diversity will suffer long term economic consequences.”

Rev. Jackson will host Mark Reuss, president, General Motors North America; and Osamu (Simon) Nagata, president and CEO, Toyota Engineering & Manufacturing North America at the Business & Education Awards Luncheon.  These industry leaders will share the business case of an inclusive cultural environment, as it relates to employment, suppliers, dealers, advertising, marketing and philanthropy in the marketplace.  Judge Greg Mathis, chairperson, PUSH Excel and TV personality, will present scholarships to deserving college students.

The morning session begins with a thought-provoking panel moderated by award-winning journalist Ed Gordon, entitled, “Assault on Diversity.” A Leadership Town Hall Panel Discussion featuring Dr. Julianne Malveux, economist and former president Bennett College for Women; George Fraser, founder andCEO, FraserNet, Inc.; Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, senior vice president, public Affairs and government relations, The Nielsen Company; and Ted Childs, thought leader and senior management consultant will discuss the impact of diversity in the Black community. They will share the strategic approaches that companies use to eliminate diversity and offer growth solutions with diversity and inclusion as business imperatives.

Several minority-owned suppliers were among the hardest hit during the economic recession.  Jim Lowry, senior advisor, The Boston Consulting Group, will lead a morning discussion on “SupplierDiversity: The Plan for Growth through Commitment, Innovation and Partnerships,” with Grace Lieblein,vice president, global purchasing and supply chain, General Motors; Robert Young, vice president, purchasing, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America; Burt Jordan, vice president, global vehicle and powertrain purchasing & supplier diversity, Ford Motor Company; and Jim Wehrman, senior vice president, Honda of America Manufacturing. These procurement leaders collectivelypurchase more than $300 billion.

The U.S. Census has confirmed that America is trending toward a more diverse population. Therefore, when auto companies envision what it takes to maintain success, only those that leverage diversity will have a clear, competitive advantage. Without a strong, corporate strategy that inherently promotes theintegration of diversity and inclusion, many auto companies are doomed to fail, when targeting ethnic consumers.

Other panel and roundtable discussions will focus on professional services; human resources; rethinking business strategies and transforming for success; and women of color business owners and leaders. The day will end with a special awards reception honoring Living Legends and Emerging Leaders in the automotive industry.

The Summit sponsors include (but are not limited to) Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Toyota, Chrysler Group, Honda North America, Nissan of North America, Volkswagen of America, Kia Motors America, Subaru of America, Mercedes-Benz USA, BMW, MMSDC, NAMAD, NNPA, among many others.  

For additional information, visit www.rainbowpush.org.

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunities.

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