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DEARBORN - March is National Women's History Month and is an excellent opportunity for Ford Motor Company to recognize one of the strengths behind its rich history – women and minority business owners and suppliers.
On Wednesday, March 12, Ford held its first annual National Women’s Month Celebration event at the Ford Product Development Center in Dearborn, Mich.
The inaugural event was geared to celebrate Ford’s more than 35-year commitment to diverse suppliers and its 50 percent increase in spend with tier-one, women-owned suppliers – from $1.2 billion in 2012 to $1.8 billion in 2013. Ford currently works with more than 150 women-owned suppliers, 7 of which have been suppliers to Ford for more than 25 years.
“To hear today that Ford has spent $1.8 billion dollars with women-owned business says so much about Ford’s commitment to diversity, especially to women owned business. I applaud Ford Motor Company for making that type of investment in so many companies and making them successful,” said Rhonda Walker, Local 4 News Morning Anchor and emcee for the event.
Ford Futurist Sheryl Connelly’s trends presentation, “Female Frontier,” offered an overview on the changing roles of women and men. Connelly says the advances women are experiencing are not happening just because of the women. “Men are changing as well,” says Connelly. “Men are also rethinking their roles in society, the work place, family and childrearing, Connelly said. Connelly says in the last decade the number of men who have left their full-time jobs to become stay-at-home dads has more than doubled in the United States.
For the third-consecutive year, Ford was recognized as one of America’s Top Corporations by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). The award honors the company’s best-in-class practices to proactively integrate women-owned businesses into its supply chain at all levels. The award was presented by Pamela Prince-Eason, president and CEO, WBENC to Birgit Behrendt, vice president, Ford Global Programs and Purchasing Operations. Ford was the first automaker to earn this honor in 2011.
Ford and WBENC honored Roseville, Mich.-based Atlas Tool and its owner and CEO, Elizabeth Schmidt, for 50 years of service as a supplier to Ford. To commemorate the longstanding partnership, Schmidt was presented with a 50-year anniversary model of the 1965 Mustang GT signed by Bill Ford, Ford executive chairman, and Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO.
“I would like to thank Ford Motor Company for everything they do for women business owners,” said Schmidt. “When I arrived at Ellis Island as a teenager with my parents, I never imagined that I would be standing here today.”