Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Education: Master’s degree in mechanical engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg; executive management program, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, USA, and University of Singapore
Family: Husband, Björn; children: Emilia, 24; Adam, 21
Manufacturing engineer at Volvo Car Components.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
Winning the J.D. Power silver quality award when I was plant manager in Torslanda. I am also proud of my time outside the motor industry when I was CEO of Samhall Högland. This is a government-owned company that supports work opportunities for people with physical or intellectual disabilities.
What is your proudest personal achievement?
Giving birth to my children.
What is your current challenge at work?
There is a constant stream of ideas and initiatives being proposed within Volvo. One of the challenges for me is to evaluate and prioritize which ones we should pursue and how to manage them to leverage the best results in terms of efficiency and improving our performance.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
When I took time out from the industry I was surprised to discover just how competent and professional it is compared with other sectors. It drives very high standards within the manufacturing world and should be given more credit for this.
What are the biggest obstacles facing women in the auto industry?
A lack of appreciation of the fact that women add a different dimension to business and that this is a benefit not a negative.
What should be done to encourage women to enter the auto industry?
I think the industry needs to change its macho image. There is also a need to direct girls toward technical subjects from a young age so they have the option of entering the industry later on. Finally, we need to put the motor industry more into women’s sight lines. For example, we need to hear more about women working in the industry in the mass media -- magazines, lifestyle supplements -- not just in trade publications.Are you doing anything to get more women interested in automotive careers?
If anyone ever asks me to talk to their daughter about a career in the industry I always do it. I also often talk to my daughter and her friends about the industry.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in the auto industry?
Go for it and make yourself heard. Don’t forget to have fun as well.
Are women pushed toward marketing and communications and discouraged from engineering and other technical jobs?
I don’t think they are pushed, but I can see why it happens. For a start there are more role models in these areas. This fuels the view that it is easier to develop a career in marketing or public relations than in engineering. Needless to say I don’t think this is the case.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
Within the auto industry I would like to be a CEO, but I also would really like to be a writer. I’ve always wanted to write children’s books.
What subject affecting women in this industry is not being talked about enough?
More needs to be done to recognize women’s needs when it comes to car design. One of the things research shows is that if you can satisfy a woman’s requirements for a car you will exceed a man’s expectations. We also learned this from our own Your Concept Car (YCC) project.
What do you do to relax?
I play golf when I have time. I have a big social network and enjoy meeting my friends. I also love to take off on my Honda CBF 600 motorcycle for a spin in the countryside.
If you were CEO of a company what would you do first?