Named one of FORTUNE Magazine’s Most Admired Companies and one of America’s Best Employers by Forbes, Continental continues to reinforce its commitment to diversity and leadership. Yesterday, the company hosted a “Women in Unique Roles” lunch experience at its North American headquarters location in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
Moderated by Vickie Thomas, City Beat Reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950, four of Continental’s female leaders held a discussion about the state of women in technology and engineering management. Aruna Anand, head of Continental Engineering Services North America; Catherine Loss, head of retread worldwide for Commercial Vehicle Tires; and Beyza Sarioglu, head of hybrid electric vehicles, North America, candidly discussed their career journeys. Mary Reardon, head of talent acquisition for Continental in North America, also discussed how Continental is fostering flexible work practices and actively increasing diversity and inclusion in management.
“As a leader in technology, Continental’s growth is fueled by diversity and inclusion. We are committed to fostering opportunities for women and minority leaders in STEM and plan to continue to increase the percentage of women in technology management,” said Reardon. “We are successful with this by creating and maintaining an inclusive culture with a positive work environment.”
An article on ASME.org reveals that currently 18 to 20 percent of engineering students are women, compared to the early 1980s when less than six percent of engineers in the U.S. were women. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women accounted for 14 percent of full-time wage and salary workers in architecture and engineering in the U.S. in 2016.
Continental actively supports various affinity organizations such as the Women of Color STEM conference and the Society of Women Engineers. At yesterday’s event, the company announced a $2,000 donation to assist Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiatives for Project Excel students in the Pontiac School District. Twelve female students from the school district participated in the lunch experience and gleaned motivating career advice. Continental also made a $1,000 donation to the National Association of Black Journalists Ethel Payne Fellowship. Named after the first female African-American commentator employed by a U.S. television network, the Fellowship provides opportunities for journalists to gain international experience.
To help attract and support women in leadership roles, Continental has expanded its range of flexible work practices. The company now provides employees a longer paid maternity leave and offers dads paid paternity leave. Telecommuting – the most utilized flexible work option at Continental – allows employees to perform their work offsite. Continental also offers part-time positions and the option for employees to apply for an unpaid sabbatical for up to one year.