A not-for-profit organization named Accelerate Auto is launching today with a mission to increase representation of Black professionals at all levels of the Canadian automotive industry.
The group is chaired by Emiliano Void, national operations manager at Cox Automotive Canada, and will have 12 additional representatives on its board of directors. They will come from four different automotive manufacturers, two dealership groups, two industry associations, and four suppliers.
Accelerate Auto’s mission is to attract Black talent to the industry by creating awareness of career opportunities, establishing mentorship networks, and initiating networking opportunities for Black candidates, according to statement.
Accelerate Auto evolved from an internal program at Cox Automotive Canada called the Black Employee Network, Void told Void told Automotive News Canada. That led to discussions among his peers at other companies, demonstrating an appetite for an organized, industry-wide initiative.
“We started doing outreach to Black professionals that we had direct connections with, and immediately we were able to grow a working collaborative of Black professionals,” Void said.
In addition to establishing career paths and working with post-secondary institutions to increase awareness for existing opportunities, the group also plans to address the systemic anti-Black racism that remains present within the automotive industry, said Void. Accelerate Auto will position itself as an industry resource to provide education on anti-Black racism from the point of view of Black individuals employed within the industry, he said.
“It gives the industry as a whole a vehicle to get on board with us to help champion the change,” Void said, “not from the perspective of somebody who has not lived this experience or this hardship, not from somebody that’s outside of the Black community, but [from] within the most comprehensive representation of the Black perspective and experience in the automotive space.”
The group today launched a website, accelerateauto.ca. On Feb. 12, Void met with the executive directors of the Global Automakers of Canada to discuss the organization’s mandate.
Its next phase, a series of consultations to test how well Accelerate Auto’s planned initiatives fit within various industry organizations, will take place beginning in March.