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How the power of networking creates more opportunities for women in automotive – Diana Kennedy, General Manager

We all want to keep and retain top talent in our organizations, but are we also doing the work required to attract that top talent? To be attractive to many employees, experts say fostering a company culture of inclusiveness is key. And that’s exactly what Diana Kennedy, General Manager of Volvo Cars Marin, is doing. 

Kennedy co-founded Price Simms Women’s Circle, a networking and resource group for women in the group, and she joins us now to discuss the group and to give us her perspective on what else can be done as an industry. 

At 20-years-old Kennedy joined Price Simms with the goal of getting to the highest level she possibly could. It’s been eleven years since she’s joined the company and it took her about six and a half years to get to the general manager position.

Kennedy and two of her colleagues shared an appreciation for the automotive industry and how it has changed their lives. She says oddly enough, none of them had women mentors, and with their good fortune, they felt the need to pay it forward. Their mission is to educate on opportunities, and inspire personal development through mentorship, discussion and experiences within the community to better serve the lives of women throughout Price Simms.

Related: Sales Manager Erikka Wells discusses the need for more diversity efforts in the auto industry

Overall Price Simms is 22% male to female ratio versus the industry at 17.9%. In mid-level management, they’re at 19% versus the industry at 18%. Senior-level management is at 27% versus the industry at 17%. We know we can grow amongst these numbers and continue to close the gap says, Kennedy. She says the biggest resource they provide is the network that they have. It’s about the power in connections.

women in workplaceA study said the reason for a female to male disparity was due to an unattractive work environment, lack of work-life balance, and lack of flexible schedules. Kennedy believes we have control of all those issues, including perception. She says the most important thing is to not treat women differently. Allowing women to have an equal opportunity at any position, Kennedy encourages everyone to be a part of someone’s story.

It’s important that we all work together says, Kennedy. She says it’s going to take all of us to make a difference and an impact. It’s also about creating a work environment that’s safe and inclusive and breaking those traditions. Kennedy says to think outside the box, and ask yourself, how can we make our industry more attractive?

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