» Cox Automotive Canada Strengthens its Commitment to Inclusivity & Combatting Anti-Black and Systemic Racism

Cox Automotive Canada Strengthens its Commitment to Inclusivity & Combatting Anti-Black and Systemic Racism

Mississauga, ON – November 30, 2020 — As an organization that believes in living its guiding principal to ‘always do the right thing,’ Cox Automotive Canada is proud to officially announce recent efforts to combat systemic racism and promote diversity through inclusion and equal opportunity for everyone. 

Through the establishment of its newest Employee Resource Group (ERG) called the Black Employee Network (BEN) and being the Automotive industry’s first company to sign the BlackNorth Initiative’s CEO Pledge, Cox Automotive Canada hopes to encourage its team members and others within the industry and community to take a stance and drive positive change.

“As leaders in our industry and communities, we have a responsibility to champion positive change. We need to set an example by providing equal opportunities and ensuring everyone feels welcome and comfortable to bring their true self to work without any form of discrimination,” said Maria Soklis, President, Cox Automotive Canada & Brazil. “By sharing our efforts and leading, I hope that we can encourage others to do the same.”

Black Employee Network (BEN)

Inspired by the organization’s Women With Drive (WWD) ERG and developed earlier this year, the Black Employee Network is a Cox Automotive Canada ERG for any team member interested in better understanding and combatting anti-black and systemic racism. Through its three pillars of Education, Celebration and Inspiration, BEN will provide a safe and positive environment to discuss ideas and thoughts around inclusion and equality, and to play an active role in creating a better and more inclusive workplace and society for future generations.

“As part of our learning, we are engaging our team members and are proud to support the Black Employee Network in their efforts to combat systemic racism through education, celebration and inspiration,” said Soklis. “I am confident that BEN will generate intuitive ideas and initiatives that will continue to have a real and lasting positive impact on the opportunities for Black people within Cox Automotive Canada, the industry and our community.”

With its structure and goals now in place, more than 50 team members are already contributing to BEN’s efforts with several initiatives launching in the coming months.

BEN “Real About Race” Leadership Videos

As one of the Black Employee Network’s first initiatives, the team is hoping to educate and inspire others through a video series called “Real About Race.” In this initiative, BEN team members sit down with Cox Automotive Canada’s President, Maria Soklis, and five other members of her Senior Leadership Team to have honest and difficult, but professional and meaningful conversations about racism.

“These are difficult conversations because they matter, and I was pleased to see the BEN team present this initiative and the immediate willingness of our leaders to participate,” said Soklis. “At Cox Automotive Canada, we believe that open dialogue is an important first step in solving any problem, and hope that this initiative can further inspire our team members, industry and community to also listen and think hard about how they can make a difference and do the right thing.”

BlackNorth Initiative’s CEO Pledge

Led by The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism, the BlackNorth Initiative on a mission to end anti-Black systemic racism in Canada throughout all aspects of our lives by utilizing a business first mindset. As part of its efforts, the BlackNorth Initiative is asking Canadian business leaders to sign a pledge as a formal commitment to several actions and goals that will build more truly diverse and inclusive workplaces. To date, approximately 400 companies have signed the CEO pledge.

In November of 2020, Cox Automotive Canada became the first company from Canada’s Automotive industry to join this collaboration with other highly reputable Canadian organizations when its President, Maria Soklis, signed the pledge. At this time, several of the commitments within the pledge are already underway through the efforts of the Black Employee Network.  

“The automotive sector plays a key role in Canada’s economy and employs over half a million people across the country, so the introduction of programs like the Black Employee Network, not only benefit employees of Cox Automotive, but the industry as a whole,” said Dahabo Ahmed Omer, Executive Director of the BlackNorth Initiative. “It is promising to see industry leaders such as Ms. Soklis lead the charge in developing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives such as these to ensure current, and future BIPOC employees are provided a safe and supportive work environment.”

“On behalf of our team at Cox Automotive Canada, I am proud to take this pledge and to join so many other Canadians that are leveraging their leadership role as an opportunity to set an example in creating a more inclusive future,” said Soklis.

While Cox Automotive Canada is extremely proud of these efforts, the organization and its leaders realize that there is still much to be done where it relates to overall inclusivity, and encourages all Canadians to drive positive change in their own way, however big or small.


About Cox Automotive Canada

Cox Automotive is transforming the way the world buys, sells, owns and uses cars with industry-leading digital marketing, software, financial, wholesale and e-commerce solutions for consumers, dealers, manufacturers and the overall automotive ecosystem worldwide. In Canada, the Cox Automotive family includes Clutch®, Dealertrack®, Dealer.com®, HomeNet®, Kelley Blue Book®, Manheim®, Modix®, NextGear Capital®, Ready Logistics®, RMS Automotive®, vAuto®, VinSolutions® and Xtime®, along with a host of other brands in other countries. The global company has 34,000 team members in more than 220 locations and is a partner to more than 50,000 auto dealers, as well as most major automobile manufacturers. Cox Automotive is a subsidiary of 120-year-old Cox Enterprises, Inc., and serving the automotive industry since 1926, which has revenues exceeding $20 billion and approximately 55,000 employees. Cox Enterprises’ other major operating subsidiaries include Cox Communications and Cox Media Group. For more information about Cox Automotive Canada, visit coxautoinc.ca.

For media inquiries or more information, please contact: Mark James, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications & Public Relations, Cox Automotive Canada mark.james@coxautoinc.com | 647-522-8377

About the BlackNorth Initiative

The BlackNorth Initiative was created by The Canadian Council of Business Leaders Against Anti-Black Systemic Racism to combat anti-Black systemic racism in Corporate Canada. The initiative challenges senior Canadian business leaders to commit their companies to specific actions and targets designed to end anti-Black systemic racism and create opportunities for all of those in the underrepresented BIPOC community.  For more information about the BlackNorth Initiative, visit www.blacknorth.ca.

For media inquiries or more information, please contact: Chloe Mills, Senior Consultant, Hill+Knowlton Strategies chloe.mills@hkstrategies.ca | 416-413-4565

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