Women's Conference Empowers Female Leaders to Connect and Inspire
All Cummins employees - men and women - deserve equal opportunities to succeed in the workplace. This emphasis on equality is at the heart of Cummins’ values and was the driving force behind the company’s inaugural Women’s Conference.
The first of its kind conference took place on Friday, March 11 in Columbus, Indiana where over 260 female leaders had the opportunity to connect, share, grow and learn from one another. Although these attendees represented the Americas, the broader goal is to replicate this conference in other regions of the world.
The day-long conference included opening remarks from Tom Linebarger, Cummins Chairman and CEO, who recently signed a letter in support of the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principals.
“We compete on talent,” Linebarger stated in his opening remarks. “If we are going to win on that, we know talent is not concentrated on gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. We all believe that investing in women is right for the company and right for us personally.”
This sentiment was echoed throughout the day from various panelists and special guests, including Cummins Board of Directors member Georgia Nelson; Jill Cook, Chief Human Resources Officer; Jennifer Rumsey, Chief Technical Officer; and Tracy Embree, Vice-President and President-Components Group. Panelists offered their own perceptions of gender diversity at Cummins, including how the company is succeeding and where it can improve.
Participants also had the chance to hear remarks from Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO of General Motors. Named CEO of GM in January 2014, Barra was named number one on the Forbes Most Powerful Women CEOs list in 2015. She shared pieces of her own path to leadership, a journey shaped by one of the most influential woman in her life.
“My mom grew up in the depression and didn’t have the opportunity to go to college, so she was determined that we would have a better life,” Barra told attendees. “I think it’s that determination that still guides me today.”
With women comprising 26 percent of the Cummins workforce, the issue of gender diversity will continue to be a topic of conversation. Open and thoughtful dialogue is fostered through events such as the Women’s Conference, and an environment of inclusion will continue to help lead to the company’s success.
Perhaps Marya Rose, Cummins’ Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer said it best in her closing remarks: “If we use this energy…our power…we can make Cummins succeed, we can change lives and we can make the world a better place – all by advocating for women.”