Volunteering on an AIAG committee or work group gives your company a seat at the table and an influential voice in the discussion. The support of thousands of members and industry volunteers working together in a cooperative environment makes it possible for AIAG to create the guidelines and tools that result in streamlined processes and solutions to our industry’s pain points and challenges. But finding time is harder than ever. So why do people make the extra effort required to do it?
Gina Weber has taken on many tasks and many hats on her way to becoming a risk compliance specialist at Honda Trading America Corporation. After spending 11 years as a stay-at-home mom to four kids, she went on to earn multiple college degrees, and now, almost a decade later, she is still hungry to learn and grow.
When Marisyl Guevarra, project manager for conflict minerals for Lear Corporation’s Global EHS Department, graduated from the University of Southeastern Philippines, she knew education would be important to the rest of her life. Straight out of college, she began teaching, but quickly realized she wanted to expand and hone her experience, skills, and knowledge in the industrial arena.
As our interview series continues, Weber and Guevarra share their perspectives on why busy people find fulfillment and benefit in volunteering.
AIAG: What are your current role and responsibilities?
Weber: I am a risk compliance specialist at HTA handling all of the chemical compliance activities — substance of concern, conflict minerals, etc. — for the Honda Trading Americas Region: America, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico. I work with our suppliers, our customers — often the Tier 1s — and other Honda Trading offices around the globe.
Guevarra: Currently, I am a project manager for Conflict Minerals under our Global Environmental Health, Safety, and Sustainability group. My main responsibility is to support and ensure that our Conflict-Free Sourcing Policy and Due Diligence process is established, implemented, and sustained in the company and across the supply chain.
AIAG: How did your work evolve into your involvement with AIAG’s corporate responsibility team?
Weber: Elly Bradford, my first manager at Honda, strongly encouraged me to join AIAG and the CR team. She felt it would be a great opportunity for me to get more involved in the area as well as a way to learn more about what is going on in the CR space in our industry.
Guevarra: Barbara Boroughf, the former vice president for Global EHS Management of Lear Corporation, assigned me to actively collaborate with the industry groups by joining the AIAG Conflict Minerals Work Group. She has encouraged me to join in external forums and discussions with industry experts, participate in brainstorming and meetings among industry peers, initially as part of my training, and to continually get in tune with current customer or legal requirements in terms of conflict minerals, going forward.
AIAG: Tell us about someone (mentor, sponsor, friend, hero) who affected your sustainability journey, and how.
Weber: My current manager has been extremely supportive and encouraging in my sustainability journey. I work with other Honda Trading companies to develop processes we can all use that will result in less confusion to suppliers and ultimately allow Honda Trading to better meet the reporting needs of our biggest customer and parent company, Honda Motors. With his support and the support of management at other Honda Trading offices, we can develop and implement processes that can hopefully be leveraged for future reporting needs.
Guevarra: Aside from the former leaders who had great influence over my sustainability journey, my present leader, Jack Nunes, Lear’s vice president for Global EH&S Management, has been working to establish a strategy for sustainability that not only supports customer expectations but supports Lear’s competitiveness in the market. It has paved the way for me to further evaluate our current capabilities and due diligence effort in terms of conflict minerals, strengthen partnership with business units to improve relevant processes within our organization, and ensure that internal resources are optimized in building potential process improvements.
AIAG: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Weber: Failure should not result in quitting. Failure is just the way we learn how not to do something on the path to finding out the right way to accomplish the task.
Guevarra: Regardless of your circumstances, focus on matters that build up your passion to serve for the ultimate good. Passion is an extra fuel that ignites the unique sparks in our hearts and drives us to give our best in whatever we do. If there is a certain amount of gusto in what we do personally or professionally – it paves an inspiring road to pursue.
AIAG: Can you share a recent accomplishment you are especially proud of?
Weber: Being given the opportunity and challenge to present training sessions at both the AIAG 2015 IMDS Summit and 2016 CR Conference was an honor for me. It was a challenge because there is nothing in the world I am more terrified of than public speaking.
Guevarra: Having the chance to work with AIAG's Conflict Minerals Work Group and to collaborate directly with subject matter experts to ensure consistent expectations and tools to be used in the automotive industry process is one great accomplishment for me.
In the future, we’ll hear more of what our most passionate volunteers have to say. Do you know someone who has been an excellent role model? Email Thomas Marcetti at firstname.lastname@example.org.