The Coalition of Minority Professional Engineering Societies (COMPES) held a professional development conference hosted by Nissan Technical Center North America (NTCNA) on Saturday, April 13, 2013. The theme of the conference was “Thriving on Diversity”.
NTCNA has operated for more than 20 years in Farmington Hills and serves as the headquarters for Nissan research and development in the Americas.
Keynote speaker, Carla Bailo, Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Nissan Americas provided a warm welcome and set the stage for an open and enriched day of learning. Many participants wanted to know her secret of obtaining success as a married female engineer with four children ranging from 29 to 16 years of age.
Carla states that, “she expects a lot from her staff as well as her family and believes in a strong work ethic.” She noted that as she climbed the corporate ladder an au’ pair was retained for three years to help her achieve balance in her professional and family life. Carla provided the advice, “Always challenge the normal way of doing things to open up the door. Debate leads to the best decisions.” She encourages her team to communicate, and feels that diversity can bring about the best ideas because engineering is about creativity.
Carla conveyed the message of Nissan’s commitment to diversity through several initiatives aimed at increasing female and minorities in management positions to 20%.
Bailo’s presentation quoted Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn, who said, “The richest solutions are found when diverse groups of people work together to address needs or develop innovative solutions.“ For a sustainable future, Nissan is committed to zero emission mobility with vehicles like the all-electric LEAF, and is currently working through collaboration in the joint development of the common fuel cell. The collaboration of Ford, Daimler, and Nissan sets the stage to launch the world’s first affordable, mass market fuel cell electric vehicle and sends a clear signal to suppliers, policymakers, and the industry on the need to encourage further fuel cell development.
The benefits of the COMPES Professional Development Conference are networking opportunity with target audience of 300 professional, attend breakout sessions on technical topics, and access resources to aid in career planning and development. The breakout sessions were well developed and afforded the opportunity of participants to gain insight on maintaining technical strength, soft skill development, and understanding challenges of diversity in the workplace.
The Motivational Speaker, Glenn Carver, Author, Speaker, Ambassador of Attitude, Heat Ventures, LLC touched on the ways in which professionals can thrive in diversity. The Capstone Speaker, Greg Daniels, Senior Vice President Retired, U.S. Manufacturing Nissan North America recapped the overall theme of the conference and provided participants with words of encouragement to take from the conference. COMPES PDC includes: National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and Society of Women Engineers. COMPES would like to thank their hosts of Sponsors: Jessica Mattis, Vice President of Professional Development for Society of Women Engineers (SWE), planned the event with Sena Hermiz, Co-Lead COMPES for SWE and would like to thank their host of sponsors: Platinum—Nissan and Yazaki North and Central America; Gold—Valeo and Chrysler; Bronze–Denso International America, Mahle, General Motors; and Silver–Consumers Energy, FANUC Robotics; and Kelly Services and ALC Hosted Telecommunications.
Opportunities to get involve with COMPES abound. Save the dates: National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is holding a fundraiser on April 23, 2013, at BD Mongolian in Royal Oak, MI and the National Alumni Extension Summit in Puerto Rico, May 23-27, 2013, for more information visit: http://nsbe-dae.org/ ; Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) The Detroit Chapter has ongoing activities at MEZ with High School Students in the area of robotics and is hosting the national chapter’s 2014 Conference in Detroit, for more information on events visit: www.shpedetroit.org; and SWE Detroit membership events include a networking lunch, April 19, at Macaroni Gill in Auburn Hills, Royal Oak Book Club meeting on April 21, at Vinotecca in Royal Oak and Outreach at the Markers Faire Booth on July 27-28th at Henry Ford, for more information visit: www.swedtroit.org .
Author: Michelle Abd’Elaziz, Reporter on Urban Planning, representing GreeningDetroit.com