How we selected 100 leaders

For 10 years we have intently watched women in the auto industry. Three times, we have compiled a list of 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry.

In 2000, we considered executives from every corner of the industry and were delighted to identify 100 female leaders. In 2005, we looked especially hard for women in key product-development and manufacturing jobs. And we found them; women in those positions made up more than one-third of the list. Selecting just 100 leading women was a struggle.

Then the industry changed. Women at the very top of their companies are scarce. Our 2010 list shows the churn. Thirty leaders from the 2005 list are back; only seven of them have been on the list all three times.

Readers helped us find leading women by nominating more than 300 executives. A team of editors and reporters — with assistance from Terry Barclay, CEO of Inforum; Craig Giffi, U.S. automotive leader at Deloitte; and Katherine Otrompke, Automotive Women's Alliance Foundation board member — weighed the qualifications of each nominee. We looked for influential women at automakers, Tier 1 suppliers and dealerships who make major decisions.

No doubt we overlooked some terrific female executives. But the list is a tremendously strong roster of talented, powerful women.

We are proud of it.

— Mary Beth Vander Schaaf

You can reach Mary Beth Vander Schaaf at

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