Automotive Inspire

Next Episode: December 16, 2021

Streaming Live and OnDemand

Latest: Episode – December 16, 2021 – 11am ET

Cindy Cedeno, Industrial Engineering Manager, Nissan Motor Corp. 

Cindy Cedeno is an Engineering Manager at Nissan Motor Corp.’s Canton, MS vehicle assembly plant where she is managing the implementation of Digital Acceleration initiatives on the shop floor, the V-UP (Nissan Global Problem Solving) Program and also assists the VP with the preparation of the plant’s technical reports.  

Like all of Automotive Tech Week’s “Automotive Inspire” interviewees, she has fascinating personal and professional stories to tell. Her story began with her career journey from the Caribbean Nation of Trinidad to Nissan’s 4.7 million sq. ft. plant in Mississippi which builds the Titan, Frontier and Altima vehicles.  

Professionally, she’s been able to translate her passion for engineering, problem solving and innovation into Nissan’s auto assemblies, something she couldn’t do in Trinidad’s petrochemical concentrated industries.  

Cindy also is inspiring young people to pursue STEM careers as a Facilitator/Keynote Speaker for the STEM PROGRAM-Annual Tech Savvy Workshop with Tougaloo College, a private historically black college in the Tougaloo area of Jackson, MS. 

She also is founder of Beyond Spectrum, a social club for boys and girls on the autism spectrum. They participate in sporting, social and innovation activities during the Summer.  

Her interview will be featured Wednesday Nov. 17 on the Automotive Inspire track at Automotive Tech Week. 

During Automotive Tech Week we hosted our first live Automotive Inspire Episodes. Featuring… 

General Motors at Automotive Tech Week

Margarita Mann

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Business Leader

General Motors

Natalie King

CEO and Founder

Dunamis Clean Energy Partners (DCEP)

Stellantis at Automotive Tech Week

La Shirl Turner

Design Director – Head of Advanced Color & Materials



Jennifer Pelky

Senior Engineer with Vehicle & Mobility Engineering

Toyota North America R&D

Joann Jung, Design Director, Interior Design, Lucid Motors

Joann Jung is a creative design professional with 17 years of automotive experience who leads interior design at Lucid Motors. As the Creative Director of Interior Design at Lucid Motors, she oversees development of vehicle interiors from concept strategy to volume production, with the overarching goal of designing the ultimate in-vehicle experiences for all occupants by creating a unique interior space concept.

Richard Vaughan, Director, Crafted Quality, Rivian

Richard Vaughan is Director, Crafted Quality, at Rivian, where he leads the teams responsible for Perceived Quality, Design Quality, and Craftsmanship execution for all Rivian vehicles and Adventure Products. This includes competitive benchmarking, fit & finish target setting and engineering alignment, Design Quality reviews and approvals for surface quality, texture, color, and gloss – exterior and interior, and daily in-plant Crafted Quality audits to ensure vehicles and products meet customer expectations.

Melissa Cefkin, Senior Staff Researcher, Waymo

Melissa Cefkin is a Senior Staff Researcher at Waymo, an autonomous driving technology company with a mission to make it safe and easy for people and things to get where they’re going. 

In her role, Melissa is responsible for research to inform a wide range of topics related to the social and user impacts of autonomous driving technology. 

Mei Cai, GM Technical Fellow and Lab Group Manager, General Motors

Dr. Mei Cai is a GM Technical Fellow and the manager of the Energy Storage Materials Group. She is responsible for technology innovations in advanced energy storage materials for future electric vehicles. Mei has far-reaching R&D experience including extensive knowledge in novel materials processing.  She has managed multi-million-dollar R&D projects in the development of low-cost and durable vehicular energy storage materials and systems. Mei was recognized as the 2018 Asian American Engineer of the Year for her contributions in fundamental research and technology development and was the recipient of the Kettering Award.

Olabisi Boyle, Vice President, Product Planning and Mobility Strategy, Hyundai Motor North America

Olabisi Boyle is the vice president of Product Planning and Mobility Strategy for Hyundai Motor North America. Boyle is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of Hyundai’s U.S. vehicle lineup, leading long and short-range planning, and overseeing market research, business analytics, and pricing.

She also leads Hyundai’s U.S. mobility strategy, including IT business solutions, connected car technology, and future innovations. Boyle was named vice president of Product Planning and Mobility Strategy in August 2020.

Earnée Gilling, Executive Group Manager in the Technical Strategy and Planning Office, Toyota Motor North America

Earnée Gilling is the Executive Group Manager in the Technical Strategy and Planning Office for Toyota Motor North America’s Research and Development Center located in Saline Michigan. Toyota, based in Toyota City, Japan, is one of the largest selling original equipment manufacturers in the world.  Gilling is responsible for leading the Digital Solutions department whose responsibilities include: Leading R&D Data Analytics Governance, training, and support; Technical data release ie CAD, drawing, specifications, technical standard and instruction to/from R&D; and Addressing R& D data processing and access efficiency concerns.

Your Host
Drew Winter, Senior Analyst, Wards Intelligence


Drew Winter, Senior Analyst and Community Manager, Informa Tech Automotive Group

Senior Analyst and Community Manager at Informa Tech Automotive Group. As an analyst, I follow cockpit of the future and related topics. As a community manager, I create new relationships and content related to specific technical issues and topics for ITAG events. My latest project is our Automotive Inspire series of interviews with interesting and inspirational people working in the automotive and mobility industries. I also am a judge for the Wards 10 Best Propulsion Systems, Wards 10 Best Interiors and Wards 10 Best UX each year in addition to being a long-time juror for the North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year awards. 

Connect with me on LinkedIn



September 13-17, 2021
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November 15-19, 2021
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November 15-16, 2021
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