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General Motors African Ancestry Network (GMAAN) Celebrates Annual Black History Month

10 February 2020

The 14th annual GMAAN (General Motors African Ancestry Network) Black History Month Celebration occurred on February 7th at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. IHS Markit, a proud sponsor of the event, was represented by key executives including Marc Bland, Chief Diversity Officer, Vanessa Williams, SVP and General Counsel, and Kathy Schroeder, VP Development. The event was attended by over 800 guests and community leaders.

"Each year, GM does an excellent job with their Black History Month Celebration and 2020 was no exception," Bland observed. "GM continues to address the unique marketing needs of the African American market as well as all other diverse communities through their marketing, minority supplier and overall internal diversity efforts."

The celebration was hosted by Josh Landon, Anchor/Reporter with FOX 2 News. Awards were given out to honor those who represent the 2020 theme of "driven by culture - defined by innovation" and also made valuable contributions in their respective communities. Their acceptance speeches were a brief summary of their focus and determination.

The 2020 GMAAN Black History Month Awards and Honorees are listed below:

  • Entrepreneurial Spirit Award
    Cheryl Ajamu, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, the Ajamu Group
  • Community Enrichment Award
    Renee Fluker, Founder and President, Midnight Golf Program
  • Excellence in S.T.E.A.M. Award
    Dr. Alecia Gabrielle, Chinonye Akunne, Dierdre Robinson, Co-Founders, Motor City STEAM
  • Marketing Excellence Award
    Jim Campbell, General Motors US Vice President, Sales
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
    Roy Roberts, Retired General Motors Executive

Mr. Roberts gave attendees a piece of wisdom from his father, "When we are juggling life, some of the balls are rubber, and some are crystal. The crystal balls are your work, family and your religions. It is most important to discern the difference. Be the best you can be in your work - don't let that crystal ball drop."

Keynote Speaker was Lonnie Johnson, American inventor and engineer who holds more than 120 patents including the Super Soaker. Mr. Johnson gave a very informative presentation starting his path of success in winning 1st place in a science fair as an African-American senior in high school in 1968, to nuclear engineering work launching a Galileo mission to Jupiter with NASA. He is currently working with a team on Lithium ION battery technology that will make a huge impact in the automotive and mobility industry.

Mr. Johnson closed with these inspiring words, "We need everyone on board to move this country forward."

Attendees were energized and entertained as musical guests EnVogue performed an outstanding show.

For more information about GMAAN and the annual GMAAN Black History Month Celebration, please visit the GMAAN website at

To learn more about IHS Markit insights on the diverse automotive consumer, please visit

IHS Markit representatives: Mr. and Mrs. Kathy Schroeder, Ursula Torp, Marc Bland, Tracie White, Vanessa Williams, Chauncey Gilbert and Michelle Graham

IHS Markit attendees with EnVogue: Bill Harriss, Kathy Schroeder, Cindy Herron (EnVogue), Tracie White, Marc Bland, Terry Ellis (EnVogue), Ray Schroeder, Rhona Bennett (EnVogue), Ursula Torp

Ken Matheis, Chief Diversity Officer for ACG (Auto Club Group formerly AAA), Roy Roberts (GM Honoree) and Marc Bland, Chief Diversity Officer, IHS Markit



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