News & Opportunities

2020 AWAF Awards Honorees

Posted by [email protected] on 11/18/2020 11:02 am  

The AWAF Awards are designed to celebrate and honor the achievements of women and change champions who live the AWAF mission of advancing and empowering women in the automotive industry. 

Linda R. Taliaferro will receive the Industry Achievement Award for an individualThis award honors a woman who has made an outstanding contribution for at least ten (10) years in the automotive industry while also making a difference by promoting and supporting her fellow women to achieve their automotive career aspirations. Linda is Vice President Global Quality at Meritor and founder of The TEE -The Extra Effort.  Linda Taliaferro is strong, confident, relentless, admirable and an excellent role model. She has 35+ years in the auto industry, and currently is a senior-level executive of a $4 billion company. After seeing people, especially those who looked like herself, deal with various obstacles, Linda turned her passion to helping them flip the script so that more well-deserved people are seated at the table. This passion propelled Linda to create The TEE - The Extra Effort. Linda has been a strong supporter of girls and women through her volunteer leadership. She is a board member of the Greater Southeast Michigan Girl Scouts and a member of the Automotive Women's Alliance Foundation (AWAF) Executive Advisory Council and served as the President of AWAF from 2017 - 2019.  She has received several awards due to professional achievements and civic engagement including the Savoy's 2019 Most Influential Women in Corporate America, the Alternatives for Girls’ Role Model Award and the Women of Color STEM Special Recognition in Career Achievement in Industry segment. In 2017, she was selected as one of the Profiles of Diversity Journal's Women Worth Watching in STEM.

Allison Kender will receive the Emerging Leader Award: This award honors a woman who has been in her career 10 years or less and has demonstrated outstanding performance, as well as leadership in her professional work and the community, Allison is the Director, Technical Services at Transportation Research Center Inc.(TRC). Allison was one of three founding members of TRC's first employee resource group, TRC WOMEN (women offering mentorship, expertise, and networking). This ERG has brought female CEO's and other leaders to speak with our employees on various topics. This group has not only brought female and male counterparts closer together it has spurred other ERG's at TRC. Allison has also initiated a Culture Improvement plan involving members of TRC from various business areas to clearly define what TRC's culture is and where it may need to change or improve or highlight. Something that in over 45 years at TRC, has never been done. Along with these initiatives that Allison has led, she continues to be a leader for over 100 employees that support her as well as use her engineering background to improve the functions and business processes at TRC.

Kevin Wong will receive the Change Champion Award. This award recognizes a man or company who has contributed significantly to the acceptance and advancement of women in the automotive industry. Kevin currently is the Executive Director for Vehicle Motion Embedded Controls for General Motor’s Global Electrification, Controls, SW & Electronics (GECSE) organization. Through Kevin’s thoughtful behaviors, he has successfully led and cultivated an inclusive organization where women thrive. Kevin leads an organization of almost 1,000 people and has a direct executive staff of approximately 10 people. When Kevin first started as the Executive Director, only one member of the Executive team was female, however, in 4 years and through multiple development moves his Executive staff became 50% female. Similarly, he is a personal mentor to many of the women on his teams across working levels. A proof in point of this is the first 2 women to ever be elected to a level known as 9T (basically a Technical Executive) in the GECSE organization came from Kevin Wong’s organization where he had a personal hand in mentoring, coaching and fueling these women’s technical aspirations.

Also awarded this year is an Honorable Mention in Group Achievement to The Women of Magna Employee Resource Community (ERC) . This is given to a group of 4 to 6 women who working together have made an exceptional contribution to the automotive & mobility industry. This includes exemplary teamwork and leadership exhibited and the significance of the accomplishment.  The ERC leadership of Shaun Hintz, Chair; Stacey Burroughs, Vice-Chair STEM; Lisa Ross, Vice-Chair; Christina Pace-Bonello, Treasurer; Tara Sangster, Secretary; and Anna Jozkowicz, Europe Liaison. ensured this group was started in July 2020 despite obstacles caused by COVID-19. This ERC group strives to empower, develop and recognize its female employees and attract new female talent to Magna. Through mentorship, career development and networking opportunities, this community will promote an inclusive environment to enable women to advance their skills and leadership potential in all functional positions with a focus in science, technology, engineering and math areas (STEM).

The awards were presented at the 2020 AWAF Virtual Holiday Affair.

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