Honda Women’s Summit Draws Record Attendance

American Honda Motor Co. (AHM) held its Women’s Summit last month in three locations across the nation encouraging its female associates to explore their career aspirations, discover actionable skills, build relationships and pursue their dreams.

This year’s summit was a collaborative effort by Honda Women’s Business Resource (BRG) groups in Alpharetta, Ga.; Troy, Ohio; and Torrance, Calif., which brought together nearly 600 men and women across the organization.

Workshops challenged participants to “Take the Wheel” by designing their own roadmaps for career development. Action-oriented activities, including an interactive personality test in Torrance and a “Hashtag Comedy” workshop in Troy, led by improv performer and educator Sarah J. Storer, sparked authentic relationship-building among peers. In Alpharetta, participants received resume tips and conducted mock interviews.

Powerhouse speaker Thomais Zaremba, global head of Auto Strategy at Facebook, led a popular discussion on women empowerment and equality in the automotive workforce. Zaremba encouraged women to tackle their greatest fears, build a supportive network of accountability partners and leverage men as allies.

“These men are fathers, brothers, sons and husbands,” Zaremba acknowledged. “They understand the need for equality, and many of them are in the room with us today. Women make up only 24 percent of the workforce in the automotive industry, and we can’t make progress without these men.”

The summit also brought together internal keynote speakers and panelists including AHM Assistant Vice President of Marketing Susie Rossick, Honda North America (HNA) Assistant Vice President of the Office of Inclusion and Diversity Yvette Hunsicker and Honda of America Mfg. Vice President and Division Manager of the Business Division Pam Heminger, among others.

A “Q&A with Honda Leaders” in Torrance, piloted by Will Walton, assistant vice president of Honda Marine and Power Equipment Sales at American Honda (AHM), created a space for dynamic women at Honda to share their journeys to leadership and perspectives on diversity in the workplace.

Cathy McEvilly, senior vice president of Law and Audit Divisions and Compliance Officer at HNA, shared a personal anecdote about how overcoming fear and being authentic helped win her first trial.

“All of us feel fear,” said Gina Jorge, head of National Advertising for Acura at AHM, echoing McEvilly’s message. “The difference for those who are successful is that they push through the fear and try anyway.”

AHM Manager of Automobile Product Planning Tomo Yokoi inspired women to embrace their strengths and confront their weaknesses.

“Balance confidence with humbleness,” said Yokoi. “Build on a skill you can say you’re proud of and can bring to a team; that’s how you gain confidence. But, don’t be overconfident. Once you know what your weaknesses are, work to overcome them.”

“I’m most excited about how people will translate what they’ve learned and incorporate it into their career growth,” said Allie Coulter, assistant manager of social media at AHM. “The Women’s Summit is only one day long, but we have 364 days to leverage the tools and inspiration we gained today for our continuous development.”

This year, summits in Torrance and Troy collaborated with local charities Dress for Success and Clothes that Work to donate gently used professional attire for women who are developing their careers and striving to achieve economic independence.

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