When General Motors employees Heather Cochran and Maureen McKay decided to adopt their daughter, they faced the new challenge of balancing their already hectic career schedules with all of the responsibilities of parenthood. Fortunately, they did not have to face this challenge alone. They embarked on their new adventure with the full support of their coworkers at GM, as well as the company’s leadership.
A year after they adopted her, they participated in an internal employee video contest, and their family was chosen to represent GM as brand ambassadors during LGBT Family Week 2015 in Provincetown, Mass. A diverse team of their GM colleagues joined them in Provincetown to host a ride and drive, as well as many other family-oriented activities.
“Our global customer base today includes every race, religion, orientation and nationality, so a diverse team that understands these markets is essential to our long-term success,” said Maureen McKay, who serves as a director of supply planning. “If someone doesn’t feel comfortable bringing their entire self to work each day, their performance is going to suffer, and ultimately that impacts our teammates and our customers.”
“Some might think that these efforts are part of the latest diversity campaign, but this is nothing new at GM,” said Heather Cochran, who works in hybrid vehicle engineering. “In fact, the company has been a strong supporter of the issues that matter to the LGBT community for more than 30 years.
Recognizing the importance of a welcoming work environment, GM embraced many progressive policies long before they were considered by other automakers.
Key Milestones 1993 – GM formed an employee resource group to provide a community and support network for its LGBT employees.
2000 – GM was the first automaker to offer domestic partner employee benefits to its employees.
2011 – GM was the first automaker to submit a video for the “It Gets Better Project,” which was launched in 2010 as a response to LGBT teen suicides caused by bullying.
2015 – The Human Rights Campaign—a leading independent nonprofit organization for the LGBT community—recognized GM as a top LGBT employer in its 2015 Corporate Equality Index. This was the fourth non-consecutive year since 2010 that GM earned a perfect or top percentile score.
“With their commitment to excellence both at home and at work, Heather and Maureen exemplify the core values our diversity efforts seek to promote,” said Ken Barrett, GM chief diversity officer. “Their story is an inspiration and a reminder of the importance of sharing your true self each day at work.”