Meet Telva McGruder: How one of GM’s most prominent electrical engineers is helping inspire girls

Telva McGruder is a Girl Scouts board chair member

How Telva McGruder is making an impact for young girls

DETROIT – March is Women’s History Month.

It’s a time to highlight the contributions of women in history and celebrate women who are shattering glass ceilings in contemporary society.

Telva McGruder is the Chief of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for General Motors. She is one of GM’s most prominent electrical engineers and oversees operations around the world. McGruder is also a Girl Scouts board chair member.

McGruder has spent her life encouraging other women to be themselves and reach new heights.

“I really want women to understand that they bring something that is so unique, so different,” McGruder said.

McGruder has often been one of the only women in a space where decisions are made.

“The thing that has made me so successful is not accommodating how someone else wants me to think, not accommodating how someone else wants me to behave when it comes to how I demonstrate my technical ability,” McGruder said.

After graduating from Purdue, McGruder began working at NASA.

“Most of them were, you know, not Black. They were White. They were older men. It was typical NASA,” McGruder said.

McGruder said she knew she had the skills, intellect and talent to succeed.

“When I say I wasn’t intimidated, what I mean is I had enough confidence behind me to -- to be confident that I’d be able to move through those moments,” McGruder said.

After her time at NASA, McGruder went to GM.

“It’s pretty amazing to understand that I led through that and we had problem after problem after problem. But engineers solve problems. And what’s even better is we solve problems with people,” McGruder said.

Fellow Girl Scout board member Linda Taliaferro said what you see is what you get.

“She’s authentically Telva McGruder there’s not a facade ... It’s the same person that’s mentoring that young woman that’s just starting in her career. It’s also the same person that’s sitting there with the senior leaders at GM,” Taliaferro said.

McGruder wouldn’t have gone to Purdue without a partial scholarship from NASA. Now, the first robotics mentor for the Girl Scouts is making sure the next generation can reach beyond the stars.

“What’s important to me is to invest in young ladies when they’re young so that they can learn that courage that confidence that character that we teach in Girl Scouts so that they can learn bravery,” McGruder said.

READ: More Women’s History Month coverage

About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.