Company: Mazda Motor Europe
Location: Leverkusen, Germany
Education: First and second state law examinations,Hamburg University; masterís degree in international law, University of the Pacific, Sacramento, California, USA
Marital status: Single
It was with Ford in Cologne in 1999 as a company lawyer.
Why did you seek a job in the auto industry?
I love cars and I wanted to work in a job where I could love the product, but I also sought a global company.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
I hope itís still coming, but passing the state exams was a proud moment because that is one of the toughest times you face in Germany. You cannot fail parts, you either make it all the way through, or not at all.
There were also several joint ventures which I was in charge of at Ford and in my previous jobs. In addition, establishing a small but very efficient legal team in Mazda Europe.
What is your proudest personal achievement?
I am proud of having close family and friends, which is most important, but also a certain amount of independence.
What is your current challenge at work?
There are two areas -- preparing for block exemption changes in 2010, and extending the companyís interests within eastern Europe and Africa.
What about the auto industry surprised you?
I am amazed how you are treated as a lawyer. I mean that I am invited to give my opinion on all kinds of industry areas outside the legal world, as if I were a customer. I find this very exciting.
What are the biggest obstacles facing women in the auto industry?
I have not really found any obstacles, and it has not been different in any of the industries in which I have worked -- engineering, chemical, automotive. I never really focused on gender, and I donít think I have been treated very differently because I am a woman.What should be done to encourage women to enter the auto industry?
At Mazda Europe, we have lots of women, especially from the younger generation. They are all over the place, so I donít think encouragement is an issue. But itís still a problem when a woman starts a family.
Do you try to have both family and a career, or do you restrict yourself to one responsibility? Employers need to be flexible about such things as job sharing and facilities to look after small children.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
We had management training and some lessons on how to set priorities, how to focus on them, and how to think about the positives and not the negatives.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in the auto industry?
Try to deliver the best you can, focus on the job, not on being male or female. Try to learn from others, and be flexible.
Why does the industry need more women in senior positions? What strengths do they bring?
Who is really buying cars? Itís men and women. Womenís tastes and needs must be considered, so it is necessary that you have women in all positions and at all levels.
Are women pushed toward marketing and communications and discouraged from engineering and other technical jobs?
This is not what I have experienced. At Mazda, women are all over the place. Women ages 30 to 40 are everywhere -- finance, PR, marketing, sales, aftersales, all fields. Ford was the same. The classic role of the woman is not the case any more.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
I am quite happy with my job now. I find it very exciting to have the chance to get involved in issues outside the legal area such as marketing and distribution strategy.
What do you do to relax?
I love to read and listen to music and to go to museums.
I paint in watercolors and oils.
I run regularly along the Rhine, or the six kilometers around my local lake, the Decksteiner Weiher. And I love sailing.