DETROIT, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- If you are an innovative professional woman with talent, enthusiasm and vision, there has never been a better time to consider a career in the U.S. auto industry. But will American women recognize that opportunity and heed the call?
Inforum, Michigan's leading network of professional women has launched a new group to help women learn about – and prepare for – some of the new jobs emerging as the auto sector adapts to a re-made competitive landscape, new technologies, the problem of creating sustainability in a crowded world, and other challenges.
The group, called AutomotiveNEXT was established to help women in the industry to lead and succeed, and assist top automotive companies in their efforts to retain top talent and form a deeper connection with consumers. It will comprise Inforum members from all parts of the automotive industry – including foreign and domestic original equipment manufacturers and suppliers of all kinds.
"The American auto industry can't afford to leave anything on the table as it regains its footing in the global marketplace," said Terry Barclay, president and CEO of Inforum. "That means leveraging the very best talent and creating world-beating products that customers really want. For a lot of reasons, old assumptions are being cast aside and a new industry is emerging. For young women searching for the next generation of cool careers, the automotive industry will be one of the best places to look."
Colleen Haley, president, US OEM Business Unit for Yazaki North America Inc. and a member of the AutomotiveNEXT steering committee, said the change in the auto industry presents great opportunities for professional women.
"This is a time of tremendous, positive change in our industry," Haley said. "Women in automotive companies are innovating in vehicle design, product engineering and business process. We are positively influencing society and the environment with our products and services, and we are improving the bottom line and growing our companies. But we can do more – with a strong network of today's automotive women and by bringing talented and driven women to join us as we move forward. AutomotiveNEXT has gathered incredible women leaders from across the industry to make this happen."
Jay Iyengar, head of electrified powertrain programs, Chrysler Group LLC and a member of the AutomotiveNEXT executive steering committee, said the global nature of the auto business makes gender diversity more important than ever.
"The U.S. auto industry is not an insular marketplace," Iyengar said. "It is now part of a worldwide economy with strong competition coming from nearly every continent. Maximizing and capitalizing on skills and talent of women is an invaluable competitive asset that our industry cannot afford to ignore. Simply put, our industry's performance is strongly linked to its ability to successfully attract, retain and develop talented women in the employee population.'"
Over the next few months, the executive steering committee will be working to bring together the top minds in the automotive and manufacturing fields to find fresh ways to recruit and retain talented women. Among its planned activities will be a special breakfast event during press week for the next North American International Auto Show. The date and location of the breakfast will be announced soon.
Inforum is one of the largest business forums for women in the nation, with more than 1,800 members from a cross-section of Michigan's business community. The mission of the organization is to strengthen the business environment by creating opportunities for women to lead and succeed. Founded as the Women's Economic Club in 1962 in Detroit, Inforum has affiliates in Grand Rapids and Lansing, Michigan. For more information, visit www.inforummichigan.org or call 877.633.3500.
Note to Editors and Reporters: Interviews with the AutomotiveNEXT steering committee members may be requested by contacting James Melton, communications manager, Inforum, (w) 313.578.3244 or (c) 313.580.8423 or email JMelton@inforummichigan.org .