Introducing WE Local Detroit 2023 Keynote Speakers

Introducing WE Local Detroit 2023 Keynote Speakers - We Local

Telva McGruder

Chief of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at General Motors

Telva is the chief of diversity, equity, and inclusion at General Motors (GM) and leads the development and execution of strategies that ensures positive change toward a high-performing, inclusive culture. Her work at GM includes shepherding global impact in diversity and creating collaborations and partnerships that promote equity inside and outside of the company. Within this role, she directs corporate workforce strategy, where the focus is building the agile workforce of the future while creating new pathways of entry and career development. She is also a member of the General Motors Inclusion Advisory Board. She has held several influential roles throughout her career. Most recently, she was director of Workplace Engineering and Operations Solutions in the Sustainable Workplaces organization at GM. In that role, she supported the global footprint for facility engineering, technologies, energy strategy and multiple facility management strategies.

At WE Local Detroit, Telva’s session, General Motors: Driving DEI Towards an All-Electronic Future, will be focused on the ways General Motors is contributing to an electrified future that is both inclusive and sustainable. 

Cheryl Thompson

Founder and CEO of  the Center for Automative Diversity, Inclusion and Advancement (CADIA)

Cheryl Thompson is the founder of the Center for Automotive Diversity Inclusion & Advancement. CADIA supports Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Automotive Industry by providing professional development for individuals, along with resources, programs and tools that drive organizational evolution. A veteran of the automotive industry, Cheryl has over 30 years of experience at Ford Motor Company and American Axle and Manufacturing in positions ranging from skilled trades, operations, engineering and global leadership. ​ She is trained in diversity and inclusion, career and leadership coaching and is Six Sigma trained and certified as a Black Belt. Cheryl has been recognized as a 2019 Influential Women in Manufacturing Honoree, a 2019 Corp Magazine Salute to Diversity award winner, Marketing and Sales Executives of Detroit Platinum Award, and is the recipient of two Diversity and Inclusion Awards from Ford Motor Company.

At WE Local Detroit, Cheryl’s session, “ When Opportunity Knocks: Should You Answer the Door?” is centered around how to assess and leverage opportunity to change your future, AND the future of the world. You can watch a former keynote talk from Cheryl here.

Aurelia Gooden

Production Way Specialist at Stellantis

Aurelia is a long-time resident of Detroit and an engineer currently working in Michigan, with specialties in process improvement, process engineering, industrial engineering, engineering design, plastics, and polymers. She is also a Ph.D. student studying psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. In addition to her corporate ambitions, Aurelia is also a freelance pianist and chamber music composer. During her time at Jacksonville State University, where she studied piano for several years as well as percussion and composition, she received several academic scholarships and music scholarships. She was an active member of the Birmingham Art Music Alliance from 2010 until 2015. She enjoys studying and performing piano music from the Romantic Era and cites her compositional style as Neo-Romantic. Aurelia is extremely interested in the relationship between neuroscience and musical aptitude. As a synesthete and a person who experiences cross-modal perception, she dedicates her free time to exploring topics of this nature as well as polymer science. In addition, music theory and Late-Romantic theoretical analysis are also among her avid interests. Aurelia is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Pi Kappa Lambda, Omicron Delta Kappa, the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the Golden Key International Honor Society. She was selected as one of Plant and Control Engineering Magazines ‘40 Engineering Leaders Under 40’ and Oakland County’s ‘Elite 40 Under 40’. She is currently developing “The Amygdala Society”, which is one of the first high IQ societies exclusively for women.

At WE Local Detroit, Aurelia’s session, “How to Recognize and Prevent Microaggressions toward Women in Engineering” will be focused on microaggressions that affect women in engineering on a daily basis. Many of these actions occur due to stereotypes, and particularly, unconscious bias. Nonetheless, many microaggressions are covert in nature. Sometimes, such behaviors may lead to discrimination or exclusion. In this session, Aurelia will discuss how to spot different microaggressions and how we can overcome these situations for the future.

Candies Llorence

Vice President of Marketing at Nestle

Candies Llorence joined Nestle in 2010. Over the last decade she has held a variety of roles including project development, cost management, goal alignment, and factory management. Her focus has ranged from project execution and project management to strategy development. Candies was promoted to Vice President of Manufacturing supporting Bakery Sweets and Nestle Professional in December 2021. Her current responsibilities include developing the strategy to drive manufacturing transformation to deliver exceptional results, creating business partnerships to deliver the “must win battles” in the MBS, and coaching/developing future leaders within the organization. Candies graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Chemistry & Food Science. She started her career as a product developer with Kraft Foods supporting their Pizza division.

At WE Local Detroit, in her session, “Finding your Voice and Finding the Confidence to Take your Seat at the Table” Candies will talk about how she ignited change and found her voice throughout her career as a minority, and a female, in male-dominated, technical manufacturing roles. As Candies moved into leadership positions at Nestle, her voice changed and adapted. Throughout the keynote, Candies will talk about how women in STEM can find their voice, and use it to ignite transformation within their own organization. It’s not about being given a seat at the table – sometimes you have to bring (and manufacture) your own chair.

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