GM Diversity:
Recognizing African-American Heritage

Education Shines at Buick Sponsored UNCF An Evening of Stars

General Motors and the Buick brand proudly sponsored the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) An Evening of Stars® taping in Pasadena, Calif. on Dec. 1. UNCF plays a critical role in enabling more than 60,000 students each year to attend college. UNCF and Buick’s common focus on education made the event a particularly special sponsorship to showcase Buick’s dedication to educating young people.

Buick hosted five Buick Achievers scholarship recipients to attend the live taping at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. The students, Morgan Grayned; Stone Mountain, Ga. (Hampton University); Ty’Quish Keyes; Philadelphia, Pa. (Morehouse College); Shalyn Brangman; Union, N.J. (Rowan University); Donovan Colquitt; Southfield, Mich. (University of Michigan) and Kenya Ansah; Chicago, Ill. (University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign), enjoyed the opportunity to engage with GM Foundation President Vivian Pickard and President and Managing Director of GM Canada Kevin Williams during the trip. This once in a lifetime experience included many memorable activities for the students and reinforced the importance of higher education. Buick’s sponsorship included branding throughout the high profile event, along with vehicle displays accompanied by product ambassadors.

UNCF An Evening of Stars® formerly the Lou Rawls Parade of Stars®, first aired in 1979, and since that time has become one of the longest-running televised events in the country. Over its history, the program has raised more than $200 million that has helped hundreds of thousands of students attend college and graduate. For this year’s event, UNCF joined forces with the BET Networks to produce the television special in which some of the biggest names in entertainment, education, politics and sports shared the stage with students whose lives have been positivity changed by education made possible by UNCF. The An Evening of Stars® taping will air nationally in syndication and on the BET Network, Saturday, January 26 and Sunday, January 27, 2013. 

For more information about the Buick Achievers Scholarship Program, please visit

GM’s New Chief Diversity Officer Gives Keynote Speech at the GMAAN All People’s Meeting

The General Motors African Ancestry Network’s (GMAAN) “All People’s Meeting” featured networking, presentations and a keynote presented by Kenneth J. Barrett Jr., GM’s Chief Diversity Officer.

The event started out with a “human” scavenger hunt where participants were given a list of 27 interesting facts about the executive team and released into the Heritage Center where they engaged in conversation and networked with others to receive clues. Participants tried to determine various things about the executives including who was the proud parent of seven children, who played video games for relaxation and who had met the president of the United States. This imaginative exercise created an engaging and fun environment for all to get to know the GMAAN leadership team.

When the networking activity concluded, Ofori Agoboka, the newly appointed GMAAN Vice President, welcomed attendees and talked about GMAAN's rich history. After, Arvin Jones, Manufacturing Manager, distributed committee chair awards and thanked GMAAN’s longstanding out-going president, Gail Harris, for her steadfast commitment, service and passionate leadership.

The excitement continued as Gerald Johnson, Manufacturing Manager, presented feedback on how GMAAN can effectively relate to the new millennial employee. Gloria Smith, MSIE, then recognized GMAAN members who have received advanced degrees and promotions in the organization since 2011.

Next, Eric Peterson, Vice President Global Diversity, introduced the keynote speaker - Kenneth J. Barrett Jr. Mr. Barrett discussed GMAAN’s commitment to community and its role in leading the fundraising efforts for the United Negro College Fund throughout the past 15 years. He also mentioned the GMAAN mentoring program and a new e-mentoring program which he plans to launch in the fourth quarter through the employee resource groups. After welcoming GMAAN members’ ideas to move the workforce forward, Barrett concluded by saying, “Diversity is not simply counting heads but making heads count. Having a workforce that mirrors our customer base is the connection that is critical to our success at GM.”

After the keynote speech, the meeting came to a close with five speed networking sessions for the attendees and leaders.


General Motors African Ancestry Network (GMAAN) Hosts 6th Annual Black History Month Celebration

The General Motors African Ancestry Affinity Network (GMAAN) held its 6th Annual Black History Month Celebration on February 24, 2012 at the Grand Ballroom inside the Greektown Hotel in Detroit, MI. 

The joint event was sponsored by the UAW, GM and Cadillac. It was attended by more than 275 people including UAW and GM Employees, GM Retirees, Chrysler employees and guests. The event included a VIP reception, buffet dinner and live entertainment from Jazz Singer Barbara Ware, Saxophonist Darron McKinney and Psalmist, Lynn Johnson.

Eric Peterson, U.S. Vice President of Corporate Diversity, kicked off the program by providing the Welcome, Invocation and Executive Leadership acknowledgements. This was followed by the keynote address, award presentations and closing remarks.

This year’s theme was “Influencing A New Generation” and GM’s own Mr. Ed Welburn, Vice President of Global Design, was the Keynote Speaker. Ed spoke about his love and passion for designing vehicles and how it was influenced by GM at a very early age and he was absolutely determined to work for the company that inspired him. He manages 11 Global design studios in eight countries and over 1,800 creative people that continue to design the best award-winning vehicles around the world. Ed is the 6th person to lead GM Design in the company’s 100 year history and the first to lead a united GM Global Design organization.

Rex Blackwell, Executive Director of Labor Relations, presented Ed with the prestigious Trailblazer Award, noting that he exemplifies leadership excellence through his courage, initiative and innovation. In addition, Ed continues to influence others by being a true pioneer and blazing the trail for others to follow.

Other honorees included Ms. Jasmine Guy, Mistress of Ceremony for the program, dancer, actress, singer, director and writer, who received the Culture Arts Award, and Mr. Roy Roberts, Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager and retired GM Group Vice President for North American Sales, Service and Marketing, who received the Community Service Award.

Gail Harris, Director of Global Human Resources and GMAAN President shared how this year’s theme, “Influencing A New Generation” reaffirms GMAAN’s charter and launches their 2012 initiatives which focus on Employee Development, Community Outreach and Product Ambassador.

Gerald Johnson, Manufacturing Manager for North America and GMAAN Chair thanked the Black History Month Celebration Committee for planning a wonderful event and guests for taking time out of their busy schedules to support the event. In closing, he challenged everyone in attendance to think about who has influenced and inspired them in their lives, professionally, personally or spiritually, and who they could influence or inspire in a positive way to pay it forward.