In the fast-paced, ever-changing and increasingly complex automotive world, there are few moments when an industry can take stock of progress.
Call it a line in the sand. A moment of reflection. A measurement of success.
In this Automotive News special section filled with interesting people and unique experiences of our 100 Leading Women, you'll find exactly that moment in time.
Think about it. Five years ago, the last time we celebrated 100 powerful and accomplished women, would you have predicted that a woman would be running a car company -- or that it would be General Motors?
Or that this time, our list of executives profiled throughout this 128-page section -- from manufacturers to engineers, dealer principals to designers -- would come from 54 companies.
Or the fact that we have more executives in the CEO role now. There are six CEOs among automakers and suppliers on the list, up from two in 2010.
Among the 2015 honorees, 73 have executive officer titles or are the owners of their companies. That's up from 63.
Another measure of success.
In fact, throughout this section, the examples of success are as clear as the transformation that has taken place within the industry.
We have intertwined 100 profiles with an examination of issues and thought-provoking topics.
A story on a panel discussion we hosted in July talks about how 10 of our 100 Leading Women feel it's their duty to mentor and help other women achieve success.
Our story on the post-recession survivors focuses on the 2008-09 upheaval and how our leading women managed through it -- and are stronger because of it.
We also examine the importance of networks and education.
And that brings us back to the story of Mary Barra.
The GM CEO told us that her career ascent was helped by an internal GM program called the Affinity Group for Women, a networking group started in the mid-1990s. Its mission was simple, as Barra says: "It was asking, 'What can we do for ourselves? How can we mentor and network and put the skills in the hands of women earlier in their careers so they understand what it takes to be successful?'"
Automotive News hopes to do the same.
On the occasion of our fourth 100 Leading Women celebration in 15 years, we also are marking a moment in time. Automotive News will not wait another five years to talk about successful women in meaningful roles.
Today, we are announcing a new initiative, called the Automotive News Leading Women Network. Presented with our partners at Deloitte, Inforum and Ally, the network will be a community of executives who have a clear set of goals: to educate, empower and create opportunities for young women in automotive.
For the almost 300 Leading Women we've named over 15 years, there will be more communication about the annual network event as the program rolls out in the next year.
We think this is another sign of progress. And this is the perfect time to launch it.
We hope you enjoy this special section, and we greatly look forward to an exciting future.