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Those objectives can range from smaller actions — such as allowing new mothers to remain in the loop during maternity leave by not automatically suspending their email accounts while they’re away, if they choose — to larger initiatives such as insisting a slate of women and minority candidates be included in executive succession planning.
“In my mind, policy is inextricably linked to progress,” said North American COO Lisa Drake, who is executive champion for the group.
Drake was chosen to lead Women of Ford late last year, succeeding the retiring Marcy Klevorn.
Her first step was to unify the group’s chapters around the world. While all of them fell under the Professional Women’s Network umbrella, they often operated independently.
The group was called Voices of Women in India, for example, while the U.S. had a chapter called Women in Manufacturing.
“They all had high energy, high passion in their chapter, but it was clear the progress was not commensurate with the effort,” Drake said. “It was very clear to me we needed to organize and harness the global power together, and we needed an identity.”
The group’s board of 26 women leaders met and brainstormed names, ultimately choosing Women of Ford. They tapped James Sommerville, a former vice president of global design at Coca-Cola who led the drink brand’s 2006 redesign, to make a logo. It’s made up of a series of small Blue Oval logos that connect to form a flower, or starburst, design. Different chapters use different colors while the main logo features different shades of blue, as well as pink.
Drake said both the name and logo were purposeful.
“It was a sense of belonging, that we’re part of the company, we’re part of the progress and we’ll be part of the solutions,” she said. “It’s really giving us an identity and brand inside Ford.”
There are now 34 chapters, each with a standardized name such as Women of Ford, Manufacturing; Women of Ford, Racing; Women of Ford, Canada. The organization hosts a number of events throughout the year, although most have gone virtual because of the pandemic.