Barbara Sanders, 52
Director of Engineering, Advanced Development, Delphi Interior Systems, Delphi
Education: B.S., physics, Southern University; M.S., physics, Rutgers University; Intensive Summer Studies Program and PMD Executive Development Program, Harvard University
First automotive job: Experimental physicist with General Motors, 1972
Proudest achievement: "I'm proud of how I brought up the Robotics Paint Module at the GM Baltimore Truck Assembly plant. Also, I received an honorary doctorate from Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. I worked with kids, helping mentor them in nontraditional fields and worked with the faculty and the administration keeping them in tune with industry. I also was named US Black Engineer of the Year for Professional Achievement from US Black Engineer Magazine."
On being successful: "It's important to drive yourself to be the best you can be, and when you are driven, you generate a higher level of expectations from upper management. You set a high standard that becomes part of your reputation. It's a self-fulfilling loop, but it keeps life interesting. You need to have a willingness to work inordinately hard. It's important to have a great sense of humor, know when to laugh at yourself. You need to have good relations across the board, with your peers, employees and bosses."
On being a woman in the industry: "Things have changed a lot from when I started in the '70s. Among the changes, there have been some improvements and progress. In nontraditional fields for women and minorities such as engineering, science and technology, although the numbers are still far below what they should be, there are more women and minorities. My main concern is we just don't have enough of these women and minorities in management ranks. There are not a lot of them beyond the first level of supervisors or first level of executive rank; we need to get them higher up to senior executive levels."
Positions at General Motors include:
- 1990-92 Director, Assembly Systems
- 1989-90 Program Manager, Robot Conversion Program, GM Truck Group
- 1987-89 Director, Assembly Systems, Advanced Manufacturing Engineering
- 1985-87 Director, Artificial Intelligence Systems and Planning
- 1983-85 Director, CAD/CAM Tooling Systems Development
- 1981-83 Manager, Composites Processing Department
- 1977-81 Supervisor, Materials Engineering Grou