General Motors CEO Mary Barra is looking to set up an ‘Inclusion Advisory Board’ within the company amid protests against racism and police brutality in multiple U.S. cities including Minneapolis, New York City and the automaker’s hometown of Detroit.
Barra will serve as the chair of the new Inclusion Advisory Board, which will also include high-level GM executives and outside community leaders. She says GM hopes to become “the most inclusive company in the world,” after setting up the new advisory council.
In a letter announcing the new advisory board, which was sent to GM employees this week, Barra also said GM plans to implement new policies to drive change in the wake of the protests.
“In this moment, we each must decide what we can do – individually and collectively – to drive change… meaningful, deliberate change,” she wrote. “As one of the largest global companies, there is much we can do.”
GM was one of just two car companies to be included on the 2020 DiversityInc Top 50 list, which identifies companies that are making an effort to promote corporate diversity. The automaker was also ranked number one in the world in the Global Report on Gender Equality back in 2018, according to The Detroit Free Press, which ranks companies based on their gender equality practices.
Barra’s letter also identified a number of ways it was served as a leader in equality in the automotive industry over the years. For example, GM was the first Fortune 500 company to have an African-American on its board of directors in 1971 and became the first and only automaker to have an African-American vice president of global design in 2005 with Ed Welburn. Barra also became the first female CEO in the auto industry when she took the reigns at GM in 2014.
“My personal commitment is to ensure that the leadership of General Motors, and by extension, the entire GM family, consistently remains aware of our responsibility to bring awareness to injustice,” Barra also said in her letter. “Because awareness leads to dialogue … dialogue leads to understanding… and understanding leads to change.”