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Driving Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in Canada’s Automotive Sector

March 9 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Businesses with a diverse workforce are up to 36% more profitable that the least diverse companies. Equity, diversity and inclusion is important for automotive companies – and essential to their competitiveness. Join Lauren Tedesco, Senior Vice President, APMA along with Cheryl Thompson, Founder and CEO of the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion and Advancement (CADIA) and Garth Bobb, Partner and Managing Director of KEDZ Consulting as they discuss how to drive equity, diversity and inclusion in companies big and small in Canada’s auto sector.

Cheryl Thompson, Founder and CEO of the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion and Advancement (CADIA)

Cheryl Thompson is the founder and CEO of the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement. CADIA was launched in 2017 with the idea that diverse talent had long been overlooked and undervalued in the automotive industry. A member-based organization, CADIA provides Diversity, Equity & Inclusion tools, networks, insights, and practical advice to companies in the auto-mobility space.

A veteran of the automotive industry, Cheryl has over 30 years of experience at Ford Motor Company and American Axle and Manufacturing in positions ranging from tool and die, operations, manufacturing engineering and global leadership.

She is a Certified Diversity Professional through the National Diversity Council, a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt and is trained in Leadership Coaching. She received her undergraduate degree in Manufacturing at Siena Heights University, and her MBA from Michigan State University.

Cheryl has been recognized as a 2019 Influential Women in Manufacturing Honoree, a 2019 Corp Magazine Salute to Diversity award winner, Marketing and Sales Executives of Detroit Platinum Award, and is the recipient of two Diversity and Inclusion Awards from Ford Motor Company.

A sought-after voice and speaker in the automotive, manufacturing and aerospace & defense industries, Cheryl has performed keynote addresses, workshops, and breakout sessions for many member companies and events, including Women in Automotive, Automotive News Leading Women Conference, Beyond the Wrench, TEDx Windsor, Women in Manufacturing (WiM), the American Automotive Summit, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and CADIA’s annual Rev Up 2030 event.


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Garth Bobb, Partner and Managing Director of Kedz Consulting

Garth is an experienced consultant, keynote speaker and government relations expert who specializes in providing diversity, equity and inclusion training for senior leadership and governance boards.

Garth has been advocating for social change since he was 19. During the resurgence of Black culture in the early 1990s, he founded an organization devoted to equity and empowerment that was featured by CBC. He studied business and immigration law in college, did social activism work for his church in Toronto’s Jane-and-Finch neighbourhood and grassroots organizing for a local city councilor. More recently, he and Charline founded Skillz Basketball Lab to provide affordable training and court rental space for their community.

Garth has served as a representative and advisor to prominent city councilors and political party leaders on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. He was an executive assistant to a provincial party leader, and a member of the campaign and debate-preparation teams for a federal party leader.

In his role with a government relations consulting firm, he was instrumental in drafting successful engagement plans that cut through bureaucracy to help Indigenous groups and community groups effectively lobby governments. He’s an expert at navigating government structures and policy to serve the needs of his clients and community. A recognized leader on the subject, Garth has been invited by media and top universities to present keynote addresses on racial justice in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.


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