Bashar Cholagh, Gregory Hawkins, Scott Thiele, Teresa Thiele and Marvin Washington each have had a hand in diversity efforts within Stellantis’ massive purchasing operation, and they are being collectively honored in Automotive News‘ inaugural Notable Champions of Diversity listing.
“Everyone internally is held to our procurement goal. This year it’s 20 percent diverse spend,” said Cholagh, senior manager of supplier diversity development. The target is “one out of every $5 goes to a diverse company, and we’re exceeding that.”
On top of the internal directive, the automaker ensures that its Tier 1 suppliers are upholding a similar standard with their own transactions. Stellantis expects up to 12.5 percent of the spending at its Tier 1 suppliers be sourced to certified minority, women and veteran-owned businesses.
If those suppliers miss their targets two years in a row, it could affect how Stellantis spends with that company moving forward, and it has to go on an improvement plan. This approach, Cholagh said, ensures that the suppliers Stellantis works with are aligned with its mission.
The networking and outreach that has been a staple of the manufacturer’s supplier diversity and purchasing strategy for years continues even as the health crisis has reshaped the world around it.
The automaker’s Matchmaker program, which brings together scores of diverse suppliers and executives from Stellantis and other companies each year, has taken on a new look. Traditionally, about 2,000 people would gather at Stellantis’ U.S. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich., for the event, but that was no longer feasible given the pandemic.
This led to Stellantis partnering with the Original Equipment Suppliers Association to take Matchmaker online the past two years. The automaker says this setup allows diverse suppliers to have virtual exhibit spaces for networking, educational programming and one-on-one matchmaking meetings.