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Why We Do What We Do: Ryan Jenner


Volunteering in a leadership role for your industry is one of the most important and most needed acts of professionalism in a person’s career. But in today’s increasingly time-constrained global climate, why do people make the extra effort?

There are a number of ways you can answer this question and for your company to become involved. Your personal participation and commitment is invaluable to both you and to your company. Just ask Ryan Jenner, supply chain compliance & risk manager for Yazaki North America, Inc., who has agreed to assume the role of co-chair of AIAG’s Conflict Minerals Work Group.

This group meets twice per month to discuss updates and developments related to conflict mineral global regulations and current year reporting requirements. Since 2010, the AIAG conflict minerals work group was formed to create awareness and educate the automotive industry on legislative and business requirements. This work group has also made substantial progress to assist the automotive supply chain with standardized approaches and guidance. 

As our interview series continues, Jenner shares his background and perspective on why very busy people find fulfillment in assuming this type of role.

AIAG: Please tell us about your education, previous positions, and family.

Jenner: I was accredited with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctorate degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

In addition to my current position with Yazaki North America, Inc., I am an executive officer of the Schoolcraft Board of Governors, currently holding the position of treasurer with the Foundation, and am the owner of Jenner & Associates Rental Properties.

AIAG: What are your current role(s) and responsibilities?

Jenner: I’m a global representative and North American regional lead, responsible for data extraction, systems development, OECD due diligence compliance process mapping and documentation for Yazaki conflict mineral reporting. Assumption of this role has allowed my participation on various conflict mineral sub groups including the AIAG Smelter Engagement Team, Due Diligence Team, and the Training & Education Team whereby companies share ideas that shape industry best practice in effort to enhance their own company processes.

In addition to my conflict mineral responsibilities, I’m also the global representative and North American regional lead for Yazaki supply chain risk management. Duties include financial and ethical assessment review of Yazaki suppliers in the course of conducting business with these companies and implementation of business continuity planning initiatives that mitigate supply disruption risk to our supply chain in the event of a crisis situation. Assurance that our supply chain processes and procedures are current with new regulatory obligations and that our business units adhere to these regulatory requirements in satisfaction of our customer requirements is essential to an uninterrupted supply chain function.

As an executive officer and treasurer for the Schoolcraft Board of Governors, I sit on several sub-committees to help shape the college. My duties include helping the college realize its mission by partnering with donors, businesses, and private foundations to help secure new resources, maximize returns on existing funds, and, serve as ambassadors for the College within the surrounding communities.

AIAG: Tell us about someone who affected your sustainability journey, and how.

Jenner: It is hard to choose one individual from the mix of people I’ve encountered affecting my sustainability journey. During my career, I have been lucky to be surrounded by a very supportive, professional group of family and friends who shared experiences with me about the pros and cons of their professions and personal life. Feedback from these individuals, along with my own ambitions and interests, ultimately led me to my current professional path for which I’m very fortunate.

AIAG: What is the best advice you have ever received?

Jenner: It is a tie: (1) Train someone well enough that they have the ability to leave. Treat someone well enough that they will not want to leave; and (2) A supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link. I incorporate both ideologies in my professional career.

AIAG: Can you share a recent accomplishment(s) you are especially proud of?

Jenner: I was able to travel to China as the first conflict minerals representative to conduct a pre-audit smelter visit for AIAG. It was my pleasure to support the AIAG Conflict Mineral Work Group engagement in this very important and rewarding activity.

In addition, AIAG and CLEPA have collaborated ideas and we were invited to present, for the first time, at the JAPIA conference in Japan this year. This type of events helps to further unify chemical management, conflict mineral reporting, and regulation compliance on a global scale.

Finally, I’m very proud to acknowledge that Schoolcraft has made the national list of best-valued colleges to attend. Schoolcraft College continues its efforts to foster opportunity today and change lives forever!

Conclusion: Overall, participation in these groups allows you and your company to fully understand the industry for which they engage. It allows an intelligent group of individuals to come forth with ideas and suggestions that help shape industry best practices and overcome obstacles encountered in day-to-day work activities which occur at both ends of the supply chain spectrum. Helping to standardize expectations through unified approaches will promote efficiencies in your company and your own individual growth.  

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 thomasm@arion-media.com.