DENSO has appointed Denise Carlson, vice president, responsible for its North American Production Innovation Center’s (NAPIC) Manufacturing Foundation Group and Safety, Health and Environment Group, as executive lead of its North American diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives.
Carlson was one of the first female engineers hired at DENSO and has been part of the company for nearly 25 years. She will lead the development and implementation of DENSO’s North American D&I strategy and will collaborate with leaders of every level to ensure a more inclusive work environment across DENSO’s offices and manufacturing locations.
“Companies need diverse talent to increase knowledge, strengthen teamwork and set the stage for innovation. New ideas, goals and opportunities are born when diverse groups of people can collaborate, while feeling welcomed, valued, respected and heard,” said Kenichiro Ito, senior executive officer for DENSO Corp. and CEO of DENSO’s North American headquarters. “I am confident in Denise’s ability and dedication to lead DENSO’s efforts to strengthen diversity and inclusion, as we believe it is essential for our sustainable growth and our mission to be a global leader in mobility solutions.”
Carlson joined DENSO in 1995 as a materials engineer. She will continue her role as DENSO’s vice president of NAPIC’s Manufacturing Foundation Group in addition to her responsibilities as executive lead of the D&I initiative. As the lead of the NAPIC production and facilities planning teams, she works collaboratively with DENSO’s Global Production Innovation Center to align resources to support North American manufacturing. Her role as lead of the North American Safety, Health and Environment Group includes overseeing DENSO’s safety, health and environmental operations at all facilities.
Earlier in her career, Carlson spent time overseas at DENSO’s global headquarters in Japan, where she focused on talent development and engagement. Outside of work, Carlson serves as a year-round mentor and coach for a FIRST Robotics High School team and provides mentoring to future STEMinistas. She earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in chemical engineering from Michigan State University.
“The creation of this position is a significant and symbolic moment at DENSO, and I’m honored to be a part of it. We have D&I efforts underway already, but we are truly committed to progressing in this area,” said Carlson. “I am looking forward to working closely with our manufacturing facilities across North America to align on what D&I is, our goals and why it needs to be an integral part of daily operations. My hope to eventually create a work environment where diversity and inclusion is no longer a topic of discussion – because it’s engrained in our mindset and how we do business.”
In 2016, DENSO established the North American D&I Council to develop a three-year strategy to create and implement a culture of inclusion that promotes the diversity of all associates. Other action items include DENSO’s annual engagement survey that featured D&I indices so the company could measure associates’ impressions of D&I at DENSO and the establishment of business resource groups focused on expanding D&I opportunities.