How Diversity and Inclusion Power Both Target and Tesla to Success

December 12, 2018, 8:58 PM UTC

On the surface, it can seem like the similarities between Target and Tesla start and end with the fact that they both begin with a ‘T.’ But looking deeper, it’s easy to see an important similarity between the two: Both businesses are major hybrid-tech companies that share a mission to have a diverse workforce.

“We are at our best when we are inclusive for all,” says Stephanie Lundquist, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Target, said at Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif. “85% of the U.S. shopped in a Target store last year. So it really is about creating an environment of inclusivity.”

Lundquist adds that Target is making strides to make sure there’s diversity in its hiring by taking “deliberate and focused efforts” and by “setting bold goals.” Last year, Target set out to make sure 50% of engineering hires were female—a goal that they’ve accomplished, she notes. For Lundquist, it’s a top down effort and that the responsibility should not lie solely with a CEO, human resources leader, or a head of diversity and inclusion.

“Too often we look to the single female leaders or the single diverse leaders and we put so much weight on the solution coming from there. And I think one of the things that’s so important is recognizing that every single person in your organization, from the top to the bottom, plays a role, from every entry level to how you create teams in the environment plays a role in solving this.”

Felicia Mayo, came in full speed a year and a half ago to launch diversity and inclusion efforts at Tesla. While Tesla’s CEO and former chairman Elon Musk often captures the spotlight, Mayo, vice president of diversity and inclusion at Tesla, ensures that the company’s leader is good and often present around the workplace.

“He’s in our factories. He’s also in our hubs,” Mayo says.

She’s also got the ear of Musk, whom she meets with every week to discuss diversity and human resources, which allows her to make sure those goals are a priority throughout the company.

“We want to make sure we allow diverse individuals to come into Tesla. That is our focus, regardless if you are female, African-American, Hispanic, Latina,” Mayo says. “We want everyone to come and be a part of our mission.”

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