Why did you want to work in the auto industry? I started out of college working for what was then AT&T/Michigan Bell. I was a salesperson on the Ford account team, and then I moved to a more technical role. I was really excited to be assigned to the Ford account. Ford is just a very well-known brand and has a very positive image as not only a caring employer but a caring corporate citizen.

It's a fairly technical industry as opposed to some other things that were available at that time, and I've always enjoyed the technical aspects of things. The complexity and the scale of the automotive industry I found very attractive.

First automotive job: I started with Ford in 1983, and my first job was in telecommunications.

Proudest professional achievement: From a leadership perspective, I'm very proud of the team of global managers that I lead. From a business perspective, Ford has a program that I lead with my team, called The Digital Worker. It's aimed at simplifying the work experience at Ford. I'm really proud to be able to influence the entire Ford enterprise in this way.

Current challenge at work: What we're doing right now is transforming the way IT operates at Ford. So really: How do we transform IT, based on industry standards and best practices, and do it in a way that provides even better value back to Ford?

On flexibility: I have one son. He's 22 now. Where I think it got really hard, and where I started really needing and using flexibility and probably trying to break some ground in the company, is when my son hit middle school age, and all of a sudden your calendar is getting very complex. Being able to have some flexibility, with even just a laptop and audio conferencing at that time, was huge as far as me feeling like I was able to uphold both being a good employee and a good parent.

What you do to relax: I spend a lot of time with my husband, friends and family. My son goes to the University of Michigan, where I'm an alum. So we try to connect in Ann Arbor, going to football games and things, in the fall.

I love to run; I just completed my first half-marathon. I'm pretty proud of that. We like to bike. I like to read mystery books. We love outdoor activities, both in the summer and winter, like water sports and skiing and hiking. And we like to travel, so I travel both personally and for work quite a bit.

— Leslie J. Allen

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