Stop overlooking hidden talent with these inclusive hiring initiatives – Cheryl Thompson, CADIA

Questions have been raised in the automotive industry that have many leaders taking a step back and reevaluating their organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts, which are crucial for the industry’s advancement. On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome Cheryl Thompson, Founder and CEO of the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion, and Advancement to talk to us about the Center and what car dealers can start doing today.

Across the auto industry, many leaders have focused on ways to improve diversity and inclusion within their organizations. Thompson started the CADIA after a career working for Ford Motor Company. She began at the company in the late 1980s washing dishes in the corporate office’s basement. When Ford offered Thompson a spot in its engineering training program, as part of their diversity hiring initiatives, she lept at the chance to earn more money. This lead to a decades-long career in manufacturing engineering and operations at the OEM level.

Thompson says that women especially find themselves working in support roles for automotive retailers, like HR, marketing, and accounting. However, it’s imperative that women also be given opportunities on the operations side of the business. That was her motivation for launching CADIA. In this segment, Thompson and Jim Fitzpatrick tackle these issues and more, including:

  • Why there is a need for something like CADIA
  • What changes need to be made as an industry for it to become more diverse and inclusive
  • The benefits of having a more diverse and inclusive workforce
  • The big factors and obstacles that minorities come up against in the automotive industry
  • The solutions CADIA provides dealers in terms of making changes in their operations
  • CADIA’s goal in regards to diversity in automotive for the next 5 years

To hear more from Cheryl Thompson, be sure to watch our entire interview above.

Did you enjoy this interview with Cheryl Thompson? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic with host Jim Fitzpatrick at

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