Location: Hanover, Germany
Education: Master’s degree in finance, European Business School, Paris, London, Munich
Family: Husband, Wolfgang
I started as a trainee at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg. After 15 months I joined the purchasing department as a buyer for the paint shops for VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
At age 25, I was the youngest person to pass the assessment center for management positions at Volkswagen. I had my first job as an executive at age 27.
What is your proudest personal achievement?
Despite a challenging job and lots of travel, I have a very close relationship to my family and make my family my first priority.
What is your current challenge at work?
There are actually two.
As you know, Continental acquired Siemens VDO last year and one of my biggest challenges is the integration of the two corporate cultures in the indirect material area, which amounts to more than €4 billion in spending in approximately 150 different locations worldwide.
The other challenge is to keep costs down for raw materials.
What about the auto industry surprised you?
The industry is driven by men and by technology and there are really few women in management positions. Regardless, I like to work in the car business and feel good here.
What are the biggest obstacles that women face in the auto industry?
Women face generally more difficulties than men. But I don’t believe in gender stereotypes. If you do an excellent job and get the support of your supervisor you will succeed -- that’s similar for men and women.What are you doing to get more women interested in automotive careers?
When I meet people with drive and enthusiasm I encourage them to a career in the automotive industry. I am happy that I have been able to convince some women already.
What is the best advice you have ever received? Who gave it to you?
Carlos Mazzorin, my former boss at Magna Donnelly International, told me, “You were born as an original, don’t die like a copy.”
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in the auto industry?
Speak frankly about what you want.
Are women pushed toward marketing and communications and discouraged from engineering and other technical jobs?
I don’t think so. There is a higher percentage of women studying engineering. By the way, in sales and marketing you do not find many women, either. Most women work in human resources, IT and purchasing.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
It must be a challenging job. It must be possible to have an effect on results and influence the strategy of the company. And it could be also outside of the purchasing area.
What subject affecting women in this industry is not being talked about enough?
Working part-time while having children. I believe women can also deliver outstanding results in part-time jobs. There should be more solutions.
What do you do to relax?
I spend time with my family. I also enjoy taking long walks in nature and yoga.