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Flavia De VENY

Why did you want to work in the auto industry? I didn't always work in automotive. I was working in marine engineering. The thing that intrigued me about the auto industry I saw when I interviewed at a stamping and roll-forming company. The sheer fact of all that goes into bringing a product to bear was very intriguing. There are so many engineering roles where you're designing on paper and you don't actually get to see product made, so actually being able to — it's really rewarding.

First automotive job: I was a program manager at Marada Industries Inc., a stamping and roll-forming company in Westminster, Md., owned by Magna International Inc., in 1995.

Proudest professional achievement: Truly being a part of helping to build a company, practically from the ground up, and building a talented team of people to continue that legacy.

Why does the auto industry seem like a difficult environment for female executives? I don't think it is. Some of it could be that fewer women are interested in the field. It's a tough industry; its rough around the edges, and not everybody wants that.

I've hired men who have completely failed in the industry because they couldn't handle it.

For any woman who would say that there are barriers, I would say that there are hurdles, but not any permanent barriers.

What you do to relax: I spend time traveling with my husband, playing piano, reading, jogging and gardening. I still enjoy taking rides out in my six-speed, with the radio on and no idea where I'm going, just for fun.

— Ryan Beene

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