When Pam Fletcher was growing up, she and her family spent weekends at the racetrack; her dad’s hobby was racing cars, and Fletcher often helped him on the track. “A race is filled with so much adrenaline and excitement,” Fletcher says. “Those experiences hooked me on cars, and more importantly, wanting to know how things worked.”
Fletcher went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, and after a career spent working for General Motors and McLaren, in late 2017 was named VP-global electric vehicle programs for GM—a new position at the automaker.
She has spent more than a decade working on GM’s electric vehicle and self-driving technologies, and served in leadership positions on teams that created the second-generation Chevrolet Volt, the Chevy Bolt EV, the Chevy Spark EV and the Cadillac ELR.
“For me, working in the auto industry has been a positive, rewarding experience. I’ve had opportunities to change companies and jobs over the years that helped me followed my passions and continue to learn,” she says. “Technology is evolving so quickly, and I can’t imagine a more exciting time to work in this field.”
She encourages young people, and especially young women, to consider careers in STEM fields, she says, “because we need diverse, smart thinking to tackle the next big mobility challenges. I think many young people don’t consider STEM careers like the automotive industry because they don’t see the possibilities or they have misconceptions,” she says. “All of us can all help by encouraging young women—and men—to ask questions and stay curious. If we open those doors and show them the many career options, then it’s a choice everyone can make if it’s right for them.”
Over the course of her career, Fletcher says she has seen a surge in women helping other women in the auto industry. “One refreshing change in the industry is more attention on networking and sponsoring other women into career advancements,” she says. Without that kind of special attention, she says, “The chance can be overlooked.”
As a leader in the business, she says, she views coaching and mentoring as important responsibilities. “It’s huge. Building a professional network is not just socializing—it’s how work gets done,” she says. “I can point to dozens of times in which picking up the phone or walking over to someone else for advice helped solve a challenge.”
Her advice to young women interested in the auto industry: “Find an area that truly excites you. If you’re doing something you’re genuinely interested in and doing the best work you can, your contribution will stand out.”