Dr. Monica Curry, Ed.D, Head of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, Subaru of America

November 30, 2022
ASOTU was on the ground with Dr. Monica Curry during the 2022 NAMAD Annual Conference.
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Dr. Monica Curry, Ed.D
is the Head of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Subaru of America.

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Kyle Mountsier: 0:00This is In The Dirt with ASOTU. All right, I am standing here at NAMAD 2022 with Dr. Monica. Monica Curry. I've been talking a lot. The doctor monitor Monica Curry. So with Subaru of America, you are the head of what I'm now calling DEIB. Which explain what that means for the people.Dr. Monica Curry: 0:23

It is diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, which is key.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:28

Okay, see, you did something there for me. Right? Yeah, you just you've done. I want to talk about belonging. So tell us because when you know, we've heard diversity, and then it was kind of like DEI, and a lot of people got used to that. But now you've added this, like last part to the acronym and belonging. And you said that that's really key. What does that mean to you in the way that you're encouraging retailers?

Dr. Monica Curry: 0:52

It's interesting, you ask that because I've had the honor. You know, I came from, from financial services, right. And so it was I was, I've always been in homogeneous spaces. And so with that, I was always the only at the table. And so here in automotive, I'm a little bit older now, and a little more mature and comfortable in my space.

Kyle Mountsier: 1:13

Like I can get my elbows out a little bit, I got my doctorates degree

Unknown: 1:17

got a little more confident in myself. And so at Subaru belonging means to me, I can go in, in the morning, I'm in the cafeteria, I got music playing, I'm singing and dancing. I'm wearing sneakers in the office, because it's about what I bring to the table, not necessarily what I look like what I'm wearing on my feet, the suits. That for me is that sense of belonging, I can just be

Kyle Mountsier: 1:41

like, scrap the front of your title at this point, because that, to me seems like the trump card, right? That's like the one that you lay at the end that says like, no, actually, the real heart of dei diversity, equity and inclusion is actually that everybody that comes to the table can be comfortable in their own shoes absolutely can come to work and provide value based on their personhood, not any level of like their skin race, equity background, any sort of, or sexuality or anything, they don't have it, they're not actually defined by that. Right? Right. They're actually redefined as just belonging as a part of an organization that I have value to add, not because of like, any sort of status or relationship to an external marker, right? Right, that now I'm, like, marked by your welcome.

Unknown: 2:27

But there's a couple of things that play a key factor in that sense of belonging, it is being in an organization that creates that psychological safety, I can mess up a deal, I could mess up. But I know my executives have my back and aren't gonna hold me hold it against me. So it's that psychological safety, I can go to I can report directly to the CHRO. And so I can go to her and I can say what I need to say. And it's that that safety that she's created, that has allowed me to be ingenious about the solutions, it has allowed me to be ingenious about the partnerships. It has allowed me to be ingenious about their partnerships that we've already had, but expanding them deeply, such as NAMAD just being able to be here and invite different people to show up at the next gen. First time super was ever set with the next generation. And so it was because I asked, I don't know, I would if I would have had the courage, maybe 10 or 15. Elsewhere without that psychological safety to even ask, Hey, like we've had this relationship with NAMAD for at least a decade.

Kyle Mountsier: 3:34

How do we press in?

Dr. Monica Curry: 3:35

I said, What was crazy is I just asked him and I was like, Hey, how do I get in front of the next gen? He's like, Yeah, he's like, Oh, wow. But again, it's that psychological safety that allows that sense of belonging, which allows creativity, innovation, and just fun, like having a blast,

Kyle Mountsier: 3:55

you're having a blast now. So that's, that's important for you for an especially as an OEM representative. There's the onus that you have to have that internally at the OEM at the at the company level, the organization level, but you also get to encourage the dealer. So how are you balancing that communication? Where it's like, we're taking action, and we're encouraging action? How are you balancing that among internally and then with your retailers?

Unknown: 4:21

That's a great question. And so let me if I can, let me give a little bit of context around Subaru. So we are one of the few automotive industry organizations that our brand is about emotion. We are the love promise organization. We are more than a car company. And so diversity is yet another active ingredient in the love promise. And so a couple of things that we've done just recently and again, this is about psychological safety, being willing to ask I went to our head of sales, SVP of sales and I said I want to do a DEIB retailer summit where we brought some of our retailers to headquarters for the first time, I had an opportunity to introduce myself. Tell them about the commitment internally and externally that super was made to diversity. We actually made not actually, we made to external goals, their external facing representation goals. Yeah. And it's about, you know, if I see it I can be, that's also true for the retailer side. Absolutely. So we actually covered the cost for these retailers to spend, they ended up spending three days one day travel one full day with me, and then a full day travel home, so that they could learn the commitment that we as an OEM have to diversity, the expectations that we have for them, but also, you know, Tom doll, our CEO, what resonates with me, he always says something along the lines of it's not just about being good people in business, no, sorry, not good. It's about more than being people in business. It's about being good people. So it really is just about it makes sense. And there is a business case for

Kyle Mountsier: 6:04

it's not good. It's not just good business people. It's good people in business.

Dr. Monica Curry: 6:08

I'm saying last week. Thank you for cleaning that up for me.

Kyle Mountsier: 6:12

Well, I love that that's, you know, as a brand marketer at heart. Right, right, right. You're like, oh, no, this actually goes across the thing. So we don't have to recontextualize it. And I think that any initiative that we have, especially when it has to do with people, and I'm stealing your belonging thing, by the way, I don't know if there's anyone with that title out there in the world have a trademark, right. But but for people to belong in any organization, is it you have, it has to go through the whole thing. And so I appreciate what you're doing. I'm encouraged. I'm encouraged by your energy around it. I hope people can catch fire around that. And I appreciate you having this conversation with so yeah, Dr. Monica Curry, you are an amazing light. Thank

Unknown: 6:51

you for allowing me to be here. I watch you guys all the time. I'm a fan.

Kyle Mountsier: 6:56

Thank you for listening to In The Dirt With ASOTU. We love the automotive industry and the people who make it run day in and day out. We would love to connect with you more through our daily dose of fun, a free email that you can sign up for at asotu.com That's a s o t u.com. We put our heart and soul into it every day. Thanks again for listening. Join us next time for more Conversations In The Dirt With ASOTU.

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