Why did you want to work in the auto industry? It was never my original plan. When I decided to make the move from trial attorney to corporate attorney, I applied to a blind ad which turned out to be MBUSA. I came away from the interview with a really great feeling about this company. I received an offer from MBUSA and another company outside of the auto industry. I followed my gut and chose MBUSA — it was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

First automotive job: Staff counsel for Mercedes-Benz USA in 1995.

Proudest professional achievement: Becoming the first general counsel of MBUSA. There aren't many female general counsels in the world, let alone the industry. With Mercedes being a European company, it was a bigger accomplishment and it was my dream job until I got the job I have today.

Current challenge at work: Driving the dealer network to profitability and to a customer-centric focus. Lately it has been focused on facilities to drive new customers into the dealership while not excluding the traditional customers. It's a balancing act. The landscape is changing and the customer is changing, but there's a longstanding Mercedes customer that can't be forgotten. We need to give dealers the business rationale for what is important. The challenge is connecting the dots between dealer profitability and customer satisfaction.

Dream job: I want to manage rock bands, up-and-coming and indie bands.

On mentors: What kept me in the automotive industry is fabulous mentors — they were men, and it didn't matter.

What you do to relax: I listen to music and go to a lot of concerts — rock concerts and music festivals. My favorite bands are Pete Yorn and U2.

— Diana T. Kurylko

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