Why did you want to work in the auto industry? I initially wanted to work in environmental sciences. But after working my first auto job as a line supervisor and process engineer at GM's Wentzville [Mo.] plant, I fell in love with manufacturing.

First automotive job: At GM Wentzville in 1983.

Proudest professional achievement: I've worked as plant manager at GM's highest-volume plant and lowest-volume plant.

Current challenge at work: Managing 70 GM paint shops around the world.

Why does the auto industry seem like a difficult environment for female executives? Moving around to jobs is a challenge for many women. They may choose not to make a move for the sake of family or their spouses.

Dream job: Being GM's representative to an industry-government council to promote environmentally sensitive transportation.

What you do to relax: Yoga, reading and one triathlon a year to make me train for it.

— David Barkholz