Aurora welcomes new leadership for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Talent Acquisition
Meet our team | June 01, 2021 | 3 min. read
Delivering a self-driving product that is safer than a human driver requires a world-class team that can tackle the problems of today and the challenges of tomorrow.
We’re focused on building a company of leaders and experts who bring a diversity of experiences and perspectives along with a collaborative culture that connects the broad experiences across our team to unlock innovative solutions to self-driving. That’s why we're excited to welcome two new senior leaders to Aurora: VP of Talent Acquisition Michelle Rife and VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Corey Flournoy.
Michelle Rife, VP of Talent Acquisition
Michelle has more than 25 years of experience building and leading recruiting teams at a variety of tech companies including Facebook, GE Digital, and Playstation, and most recently led Global Analytics Recruiting at Facebook. Her experience of bringing creative ways to approach recruiting to meet the business needs of big and small companies will be vital to strengthening Aurora with experts from across industries.
Corey Flournoy, VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
Corey is a recognized leader in DEI programming with more than 30 years of experience in strategy development, executive coaching, and employee engagement. He has worked with multinational corporations, non-profits, and educational institutions, and was most recently the Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity at Groupon. He joins to continue building a high-caliber team and culture that bridges the many backgrounds and perspectives at Aurora.
As we build the team to deliver the benefits of self-driving technology, it’s important that the people behind our mission reflect the broad perspectives of the communities our technology will serve. Michelle and Corey strengthen our ability to deliver on our commitment. Get to know more about them below.
Getting to know Michelle and Corey
Why did you join Aurora?
Michelle: It’s an exciting challenge to build an expert team in a rapidly evolving industry like self-driving. We are defining the jobs of the future and thinking creatively about what industries and experiences we can recruit from that match the skill sets we’re hiring for. It’s really inspiring to tell Aurora’s story and help candidates understand the profound impact we can make through self-driving.
Corey: I was hungry for the chance to be part of an innovative company that will positively impact many communities. The self-driving industry spoke to me because it will save lives and make transportation more accessible for all. I’m excited to bring to Aurora my passion for cultivating a collaborative work culture and building diverse, high-caliber teams.
What does building a team with diverse experiences and backgrounds mean to you?
Michelle: Diversity goes beyond ethnicity and gender – it’s also about diversity of experience and perspective. We are a technology company but our team is more than just technologists. We hire experts, who bring unique skills to the table. For example, Eric Hanson, our Head of Product, was a truck designer at Caterpillar, a legacy construction-equipment manufacturer, for over a decade. Audrey Wooding was previously a professor at Montana State University and is now a Program Manager from our Lidar R&D team and a founder of JumpStart - Aurora’s returnship program for candidates who have taken an extended break from work.
Can you tell us a bit more about what Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion looks like at Aurora?
Corey: We’re creating a product that will ultimately touch all types of communities, so it’s important that we create a culture that supports diverse talent at Aurora. At its core, DEI is about educating and training our employees to first learn more about themselves, then learn about the perspectives and experiences of others. This is a crucial component in helping us all become better leaders who create equitable opportunities for every one of our employees.
I’m proud that we have 10 employee resource groups – like VetNet and Pride – here at Aurora who are all doing amazing things! For example, Aurora’s employee group for members of the African Diaspora and its Women@ group co-hosted a company-wide panel discussion about “Coded Bias”, a documentary that discusses algorithmic bias in facial analysis technology. The event brought together a cross-section of the company – people from perception, product, and vehicle operations. The discussion led to the formation of a Fighting Bias action group with employees representing various departments determined to address any potential areas and blindspots that might impact the development of our technology and how it connects to diverse consumers.
Aurora has grown a lot over the past year, how do you think about building a team of experts in this phase of Aurora’s growth?
Michelle: Aurora is growing in numbers and locations and it’s important that our growth supports our vision, particularly as we move towards delivering our first product. One area of focus is expanding our operations in Texas where we are growing our team of Autonomous Truck Operations Specialists. Longer term, we will continue to understand Aurora’s hiring needs, define our unique roles, and look for candidates who can learn on the job and grow with the company.
What value resonates with you most. Why?
Michelle: “Win Together.” We are dependent on each other to succeed in our jobs and to build this company and our products. What I really appreciate about Aurora is that no one person is “better” or “more important” than another regardless of role or title. Everyone brings their unique self to Aurora and we embrace and celebrate that together!
What is the best career advice you've ever received?
Corey: I got advice early on that managers need to ensure their reports have the opportunity to do great work and that others get to see the great work they do.
Michelle: Be a continuous learner no matter how long you have been in a role or job function.
Delivering the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly.