From the Detroit News, May 1, 2014 at 1:00 am

THE AUTO INDUSTRY

Getting Ford to ‘lean in’

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140501/OPINION01/305010008#ixzz30YupDE9a

“Sheryl Sandberg will visit Ford Motor Company today. As a former Ford employee, I truly hope that this is a real step toward advancing more women to the executive ranks of the traditionally male-dominated company and industry.

The mere fact that Sandberg is visiting does not necessarily mean Ford has embraced a more enlightened view of women in the workplace or is encouraging its female employees to ‘lean in.’ Based on Ford’s track record, that would be a big leap. What happens as a result of Sandberg’s visit will reveal if it was just a “feel good” event to temporarily give hope to Ford’s female employees and, perhaps, throw a bone to female consumers in response to General Motors naming Mary Barra as the first female CEO in the industry.

As recently as 2013 when I was still with Ford, I suggested that the company sponsor or participate in forums designed to empower women. My requests were declined because the programs were considered nice and not must. Meanwhile, GM was sponsoring, attending and providing speakers for these same events. More recently, GM retained a Chief Diversity Officer, Ken Barrett, who reports directly to the CEO and is independent of Human Resources. GM has taken a must-do approach to the advancement of women.

Too many companies still consider diversifying leadership and the workforce as a nice to do not a must do goal. Sandberg’s visit gives Ford leaders the opportunity to choose between nice to do and must do, and if the latter, back up their stand with real action.”

see the rest of the article here

From The Detroit News