Location: Kerpen, Germany
Education: Advanced management program, INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France; advanced management program and MBA, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA; bachelorís degree in accounting, Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
Family: Husband, Daryl; children: Brittany, 19; Jared, 15
With GM working at a manufacturing plant on an executive- rotation program.
Why did you seek a job in the auto industry?
It had to do with a love of cars. I had brothers who worked on cars, and one of the requirements of being a member of my family was to know how to change flat tires, tune engines and change oil. Also, the auto industry was booming in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and I saw long-term potential in it.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
This award combined with one of my proudest personal achievements -- it was that stage in my life when we moved from Texas to Michigan. I had a promotion, my son was four months old, and I was doing my MBA. I was able to balance all those things at the same time.
What is your current challenge at work?
There is no significant challenge at the moment that equals what it was like to integrate into European culture four years ago. But in general, I have to try to improve our results in a tough business environment, and muddle through the challenges facing the auto industry and see the possibilities beyond.
What about the auto industry surprised you?
Peaks and valleys are typical but I am surprised that the present valley has lasted so long, though this is mostly because of outside problems like those of the oil industry and the general economic conditions.
What are the biggest obstacles facing women in the auto industry?
I donít see it like that. If I look at the auto industry itís like all industries. You may have been able to see big difficulties for women in the past, but it has changed dramatically. At the lower levels women are becoming more dominant, but there are also more leaders at the mid- to-upper levels.
We just donít have a big enough womenís population in the upper levels yet.What should be done to encourage women to enter the auto industry?
To a large extent colleges, universities and the industry are becoming more balanced and a lot of industry teams are now half male and half female. I think there is a wide work interest for women in this industry, some of it in unconventional areas and functions -- manufacturing, chemical, financial.
Are you doing anything to get more women interested in automotive careers?
I do not have a specific focus at the moment other than mentoring younger women at work. When I was in the US, I went to college campuses searching for talented women as part of our college recruitment. Also, as a board member of Crossroads for Youth, I had the opportunity to mentor young women.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I once asked one of my bosses at Chrysler, Stephanie Bergeron, what it would take to succeed as a female boss. She said you have to be phenomenally good at what you do, you have to overachieve on your commitment, and you have to anticipate whatís coming next. That has stayed with me.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in the auto industry?
If you have a heart for cars and the auto industry, itís still a good industry. Iíve discussed this with my daughter. At the moment, the auto industry may not be the best place to go, but from the perspective that cars and transportation will always be with us, I think it will be.
If you are looking for where to go from college, there is so much diversity and all kinds of inlets -- technical, design, legal, banking, finance.
You can use any of these paths to get business skills. If you start in finance you may not end up in finance.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
Ultimately, I would like to run a business, or a business within a business -- within Visteon, for instance.
What do you do to relax?
I love to watch action-packed movies that keep me on the edge of my seat, and I love to travel with my family to see new places and meet new people.