Auto Service World
News   December 2, 2020   by Christine Hogg

Cox Automotive Canada takes a stand against workplace racism with Black Employee Network


As part of its commitment to diversity and inclusion, Cox Automotive Canada (CAC) supports the Black Employee Network (BEN) and its efforts to take an active role in combatting systemic racism through education, celebration and inspiration. From L-R are CAC team members and BEN co-chairs Emiliano Void and Pako Tshiamala and CAC CFO, and BEN Executive Sponsor, Anna Giagkou.

Cox Automotive Canada is taking a stand against racism in the workplace, with the establishment of its newest employee resource group (ERG) called the Black Employee Network (BEN) .

The company is also the first in the automotive industry to sign the BlackNorth Initiative’s CEO Pledge, and hopes to encourage its team members and others within the industry and community to take a stance and drive positive change.

“As leaders in our industry and communities, we have a responsibility to champion positive change. We need to set an example by providing equal opportunities and ensuring everyone feels welcome and comfortable to bring their true self to work without any form of discrimination,” said Maria Soklis, president, Cox Automotive Canada & Brazil. “By sharing our efforts and leading, I hope that we can encourage others to do the same.”

About BEN

Inspired by the organization’s Women With Drive (WWD) ERG and developed earlier this year, the Black Employee Network is a Cox Automotive Canada ERG for any team member interested in better understanding and combatting anti-black and systemic racism.

Through its three pillars of education, celebration and inspiration, BEN will provide a safe and positive environment to discuss ideas and thoughts around inclusion and equality, and to play an active role in creating a better and more inclusive workplace and society for future generations.

“As part of our learning, we are engaging our team members and are proud to support the Black Employee Network in their efforts to combat systemic racism through education, celebration and inspiration,” said Soklis. “I am confident that BEN will generate intuitive ideas and initiatives that will continue to have a real and lasting positive impact on the opportunities for Black people within Cox Automotive Canada, the industry and our community.”

With its structure and goals now in place, more than 50 team members are already contributing to BEN’s efforts with several initiatives launching in the coming months.

What is the BlackNorth Initiative’s CEO Pledge?

Led by The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism, the BlackNorth Initiative is on a mission to end anti-Black systemic racism in Canada by utilizing a business first mindset.

As part of its efforts, the BlackNorth Initiative is asking Canadian business leaders to sign a pledge as a formal commitment to several actions and goals that will build more truly diverse and inclusive workplaces. To date, approximately 400 companies have signed the CEO pledge.

“The automotive sector plays a key role in Canada’s economy and employs over half a million people across the country, so the introduction of programs like the Black Employee Network, not only benefit employees of Cox Automotive, but the industry as a whole,” said Dahabo Ahmed Omer, executive director of the BlackNorth Initiative. “It is promising to see industry leaders such as Ms. Soklis lead the charge in developing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives such as these to ensure current, and future BIPOC employees are provided a safe and supportive work environment.”

“On behalf of our team at Cox Automotive Canada, I am proud to take this pledge and to join so many other Canadians that are leveraging their leadership role as an opportunity to set an example in creating a more inclusive future,” said Soklis.


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