Tim Russell, Chief Global Diversity and Inclusion Officer
CDK Global (NASDAQ: CDK) is a leading global provider of integrated information technology and digital marketing solutions to the automotive retail and adjacent industries. Focused on evolving the automotive retail experience, the company’s solutions automate and integrate all processes for dealers in more than 100 countries around the world, serving more than 27,000 retail locations and most automotive manufacturers.
Tim Russell, Chief Global Diversity and Inclusion Officer for CDK Global, develops and executes diversity, inclusion and community-investment strategies that align with the company’s business objectives. Tim brings a rich history of thought leadership and change management to his role. He served in a variety of roles with PepsiCo, Sara Lee Corporation, the Robert McCormick Tribune Foundation and the Chicago Jobs Council. Tim also serves as a board member of Chicago Cares and the Evanston Community Foundation. He was recognized by Diversity MBA Magazine as a Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive Leaders, and received the Chicago African-Americans in Philanthropy Handy L. Lindsey, Jr. Award and Lecture on Inclusiveness in Philanthropy.
At CDK Global, Tim works to establish an inclusive culture. Because the company serves over 100 countries, embracing the entirety of cultures, people, thoughts and ideas is critical to commercial success.
This commitment starts at the very top. Four of ten directors on the company’s board are women and/or minorities, including Board Chair Leslie Brun. To ensure that a commitment to diversity is fully embedded in the company’s actions, CDK formed a Corporate Responsibility Council in 2015. Comprised of senior executives, the CRC implements and sustains successful diversity, inclusion and community investment practices. CDK has also established eight Business Resource Groups (BRGs): company-sponsored, employee-led groups that allow employees to take action and address common interests, issues and concerns. The BRGs also act as strategic partners, providing input on business issues and opportunities.
The company’s diversity efforts are not just internal. They extend to their communities and customers as well. CDK Global invests in the future of the business and the industry as a whole. They sponsor ChickTech, a nonprofit organization dedicated to retaining women in the technology workforce and increasing the number of women and girls pursuing tech careers. The company also provides fun engineering and technology experiences to young women interested in exploring the industry.
CDK Global is also a leading supporter of minority dealers and women retailers, helping provide opportunities to develop successful businesses. The company collaborates with minority dealer councils sponsored by all the major automotive manufacturers, providing the councils with business insights and helping connect them with resources and allies.
One such successful collaboration has been with Damian Mills, owner of Mills Automotive Group in South Carolina. CDK has worked with him as he has grown his company to eight stores. Mills is also the chairman of the Chrysler Minority Dealers Association. CDK has supported him and his colleagues with workshops, product offerings and industry advocacy.
CDK is the only Dealer Management System provider to have a dedicated organization advocating for minority dealers and women retailers. Dealerships have used this unique position when they’ve made new acquisitions, required additional services or sought counsel on organizational changes. CDK was also a Founding Member of the Women in Retail forum in 2015, and was an inaugural sponsor of Automotive News’ Leading Women in Automotive Network in 2016.
The company’s diversity-building efforts are paying off. In a 2016 employee engagement pulse survey, 80 percent of respondents believe that CDK Global is committed to diversity and inclusion within the business. In addition to positive internal awareness and acceptance, the commitment to diversity has yielded commercial success. CDK Global continues to post solid sales and profitability growth, and is a market leader in both consumer-facing and dealer-facing technology solutions.
For more information, visit cdkglobal.com.