Barbra Cooper, 52
Group VP and Chief Information Officer, Information Systems, Toyota Motor Company
Education: B.S., education, University of Nebraska; Advanced studies, University of Oslo
First automotive job: Current position
Proudest achievement: "In my industry I've been somewhat recruited because of my experience in turning around large organizations that are in trouble. But my proudest achievement is as acting chief administrative officer in Maricopa County in Phoenix. I was able to help the county avoid bankruptcy. That was such a visible public crisis, and to be in the senior position with that much publicity and that many jobs at stake, to have managed to keep the county from financial bankruptcy was my proudest moment. The result of that was about management skills because once I proved to myself that I could manage through that, I knew I could manage through anything. It was a defining moment in my career."
On being successful: "In my mind, success is like aging - it's a state of mind rather than defining it by title. It also for me is defined by my ability to make others successful. On your own, you can only achieve so much. You really have to build and develop people, know how to establish the right kind of teams. All of those together help make me successful."
On being a woman in the industry: "I grew up in the IT industry, which is male-dominated. I've always been in a male-dominated environment. So coming to the auto industry felt fairly comfortable for me."
- 1995-96 VP and Chief Information Officer, MicroAge Inc., Tempe, Ariz.
- 1994-95 Interim Chief Administrative Officer, Maricopa County, Phoenix
- 1991-95 Chief Information Officer, Maricopa County, Phoenix
- 1988-91 VP, Distributed Computing, American Express Co., Phoenix