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Germaine Hunter and Savannah Frazier Have a Vision for Making GE Aerospace Stronger Through the Principles of DEI

April 29, 2024 | by Chris Norris

On May 6, when GE Aerospace employees converge in Atlanta for the company’s inaugural four-day Employee Resource Group (ERG) Summit, two key leaders in the company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) space will be marking several milestones at once. “It will be the first time that we’ve brought all of our ERGs together in one place at one time,” says Germaine Hunter, GE Aerospace’s Chief Diversity Officer. “This will help us leverage the strengths of the broader community in addition to the things that bind our groups together.” 

It’s also the first such meeting after the spin-off of GE Aerospace and GE Vernova as standalone companies, notes DEI HR manager Savannah Frazier. “Which means it’s an opportunity to really align on a future way of working,” she says. But on top of all that, it’s an occasion for these two key leaders, who were passionate DEI advocates long before they ever considered it part of their jobs, to take stock of the journeys that brought them to this crucial moment in the company’s history. 

Above: Germaine Hunter is GE Aerospace’s chief diversity officer. Top: Hunter (standing middle) and DEI HR manager Savannah Frazier (seated left), post at Avio Aero with Marilea Athanasopoulou, standing next to Hunter, and Carla Maria Tiburtini, who is seated next to Frazier. 


Making DEI His Life’s Work

For Hunter, who celebrates his one-year anniversary at GE Aerospace on May 1, the summit renews the work he’s done in the DEI space for nearly a decade. “If you’d asked my younger self if I’d be doing this, I wouldn’t in a million years have said yes,” says Hunter, who built a career around profit-and-loss leadership and general management at Procter & Gamble before moving on to the Clorox Company to focus on strategy and business development. While deeply involved in diversity efforts since he was a college intern, Hunter didn’t necessarily consider himself a DEI practitioner per se. But in 2017, the CEO of Clorox  sought him out as someone with traditional business skills who could help lead the firm’s diversity efforts. 

After some soul-searching, Hunter left his general management path to accept the challenge, quickly moving from leading advisory teams to designing Clorox’s first chief diversity officer role to taking over the position himself. Cut to 2020, when COVID and George Floyd brought many things into sharp focus. “It was very clear that this was no longer a developmental experience for me,” Hunter says now. “This was really my life’s work.” 

Hunter focused on maximizing his efforts in larger organizations, moving to Marathon Petroleum, where he spent two years building its diversity practice from the ground up, then, in 2023, taking on his current role at GE Aerospace. “The company holds a very special place in the business community and in the history of the United States,” Hunter says. “Its historic commitment to growth and development is unparalleled, and it was also a trailblazer in creating more equitable conditions for its employees. So having the opportunity to be a part of that rich history and legacy, especially as it spins into an independent organization — it was clearly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Photo of Savannah Frazier
DEI HR manager Savannah Frazier


Focusing on Impacts and Outcomes

Savannah Frazier also packed a diverse and prodigious amount of experience into the decades before she ever considered an official DEI role. A double major in chemistry and political science who’d entered the workforce at age 15, Frazier came to GE Aerospace with a deep and diverse range of professional experience across a range of industries, along with a front-row view of the shifting attitudes about diversity and inclusion. She arrived at GE Aerospace in 2013 with a supply-chain and operations background and assumed frontline leadership in manufacturing, procurement, materials planning, and other parts of the business. 

But recent changes in the world made Frazier welcome the opportunity to turn what had already been one of her jobs at GE Aerospace into the core of her professional life. Frazier assumed DEI leadership of human resources in 2021 “partially to help others,” she says. “But also, maybe selfishly, to put my own oxygen mask on too. It helps me to support others, to bring my passion and my ability to learn toward figuring out how to deliver meaningful business impact.” And this impact comes at an especially critical time, not just for GE Aerospace but for the world at large.

“We are living in one of the most divisive moments most of us have ever seen in our lives,” says Hunter. “So it’s particularly important to help people understand that this work is not some kind of social experiment. It’s not in service to one political thought or another. It’s to help our company become stronger, to grow faster, and to be more competitive. It’s to optimize the talents, skills, and capabilities of all of the people who choose to devote their time and passion to our company and our industry.”

Frazier spearheaded the planning and organization of the many panels, workshops, and engagement activities that will take place at the inaugural ERG Summit. The aim, she says, is to demonstrate the sound business strategy behind embedding a DEI practice into the operating framework of GE Aerospace. 

“It’s really about connecting the dots for that audience,” says Frazier, “walking them through these core aspects of operations, strategy, and objectives.” Keeping the focus on business helps de-silo DEI from the common goals of everyone at GE Aerospace. “There’s a real desire for people to start focusing on impact and outcomes,” she continues. “This summit will show folks from all walks of life that we’re not creating opportunities for specific groups of people. We’re just getting clear on impact and outcomes. How does this create market opportunities? How does this influence policies and practices? How does this help all of us?” 


Standing on Principle 

Hunter measures success in terms of a thriving, competitive business. “Our first and foremost goal is to make GE Aerospace the best place to work for people of all backgrounds,” he says. “Within that, we have three distinct areas of focus: One, to cultivate a workforce that reflects the richness and diversity of the communities where we live and work. Two, to create a culture that enables each and every person in our organization to reach their fullest potential. And three, to support and build inclusive leaders who embody the values of our new standalone GE Aerospace organization.”

Such an organization supports its workers, regardless of external noise. “My hope is that folks look at our company as the safest place that they can be while all of the madness of the outside world unfolds,” Hunter says. “For this to happen, we have to find ways to touch both the head and their heart. We want to speak both to the systems and processes that govern our experiences at work and figure out how to equip leaders and individual contributors to show up every day in a way that leads us closer to our goal, in service of our broader company’s strategy and mission.” 

These types of challenges aren’t so different from the ones GE Aerospace workers face each workday. “This is why we need to have people in our groups who are skilled, talented, thoughtful, strategic business leaders,” says Hunter. “Because the complexity of the problems we deal with are just as vexing and challenging as many of the engineering problems we’re trying to solve.” 

Hunter is confident that finding these solutions will build a better, stronger company for everyone. “One of my very deepest aspirations is that GE Aerospace be a place that stands on principle, that stands in support of all of our employees, to help them achieve their fullest potential,” he says. “We have people with a broad spectrum of beliefs and values, and opinions and religions and political affiliations. I choose to think that those things, if they’re focused, only push us further. If they’re focused in a way that allows us to be more creative, more innovative, and more competitive in the business space we occupy, it all makes us stronger than we’ve ever been.”

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GE Aerospace is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, as well as integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft.