“If we’re facing a challenge and all get together, having those diverse backgrounds, experiences and points of view makes for such a stronger product in the end,” said Conn, 36. “It makes a big difference having many different voices in the room.”
Ford has been working to add more voices.
The automaker has long encouraged and supported women to pursue careers in STEAM fields (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) through programs such as FIRST Robotics, Girls Who Code and Ford Girl’s Fast Track Races.
“We are not where we need to be as it relates to women taking the lead,” Kim Pittel, who retired last month as Ford’s vice president for sustainability, environment and safety engineering, told an audience earlier this year. “Women are underrepresented in our industry.”
At Ford, female leaders include Joy Falotico, who was CEO of Ford Credit before becoming chief marketing officer and head of the Lincoln luxury brand last year; Elena Ford, a great- great-granddaughter of Henry Ford who serves as chief customer experience officer; and Kiersten Robinson, chief human resources officer.