Be Your Own Advocate, Learn As Much As You Can

Denise Channey
Advanced Human Resources Assistant
North America Technical Training Center


Denise joined DENSO 24 years ago as an assembly associate at DENSO Manufacturing Michigan (DMMI), lead production facility for DENSO’s North American Thermal business. Having worked in various roles, for nearly every department at DMMI, Denise now shares her love for learning as an HR assistant in the NA Technical Training Center, creating, teaching and managing various safety courses for production and skilled trades associates, overseeing the Apprenticeship Program, and promoting skilled trades.

Where she works: NA Technical Training

The NA Technical Training Center provides resources and training for associates responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing machines, lines or facilities in DENSO North America. New technologies are driving the automotive industry to change faster than ever. This means DENSO's technical training needs will continue to accelerate. One way DENSO is responding to this industry paradigm shift is by investing in growing our internal technical training programs.

You Can Do Anything

I believe you can do anything you want. By learning as much as you can, and being your own advocate, you can work through different avenues to get to where you want to go in the company, and in life. I have never been turned down for anything that I have worked for.

I have always tried to move around, to show other Black Americans, and women, that you can achieve anything you want. At one time, I was the second black female subleader at DMMI. I really worked hard to build connections across different departments, volunteer for overtime when needed to demonstrate I’m a team player, and volunteered for DENSO clubs, like the DENSO Spirit Team, to demonstrate my talents and capabilities in other areas. All these things helped me move across the company into roles that I wanted. I want to make sure people of color know that they can do anything they want to. 

Timing Is Everything

After working in assembly for a while, I decided to go back to college. I knew I did not want to work in production forever. I had a passion to continue my education and do something different for the company. I went to school while juggling being a wife, mom and working full-time. When I graduated in 2009, I continued to work on the production floor for a while as I considered what I wanted to do next. It took a while, but I believe timing is everything. In 2017, I was asked to fill in for someone on maternity leave in the Technical Training Center. What was supposed to be nine months turned into five years and where I am today, sharing my passion for learning with others.

In addition to work, three years ago I was a member of the DMMI Black Resource Group. The mission of the Black Resource Group (BRG) is to discover, develop and cultivate Black associates’ skills and talents at our DMMI location. Back then, I slowly stopped attending because my responsibilities shifted, requiring more time focused on technical training. Again, timing and openness to learning and opportunities is everything. In January, I was asked to be the
Co-Chairperson of the BRG because leadership knew this was something I was passionate about. It has been a new challenge for me, but very rewarding. I am giving back and able to contribute my skills, passion and talent to the company in a different way.

Sky’s the Limit

I recently re-enrolled in some college courses to help me with my next endeavor. My desire for the future is to become a facilitator at the Technical Training Center, teaching more classes. I have a huge desire to train and  share information in any capacity, to help fellow associates  improve and learn.

In my role, I have met many different people. I have gotten to know them, what they want out of life and out of the company, their desires and intentions. I try to make sure associates know they can depend on me as an ally. I’m here to help them find the right job and find success in their role. In the Technical Training Center I can support associates with their career and share my love of learning.

The sky is the limit. I look forward to what the future holds for me. 

What do you like about DENSO?

DENSO offers a lot of opportunities for growth. The sky is the limit. This is not a cliché – at DENSO, it’s a reality. If there’s something you want to do or accomplish, the opportunities are there. You have to be your own advocate and work through different avenues to get to where you want to go in this company. You can do it.