Debra Sanchez Fair, 40
VP, Corporate Communications, Nissan
Education: B.A., journalism, University of Southern California; Graduate-level seminar for senior public relations professionals, San Francisco Academy
First automotive job: Mazda Motor Corp. account representative, Hill & Knowlton, Los Angeles, 1982
On being successful: "Working on the communications team for the Nissan/Renault alliance announcement. I was the only American from a communications standpoint, and I spent a week and a half in Tokyo to work on communications, not only from a media perspective but also internally and externally. There were messages that Nissan and Renault wanted to communicate. We needed to make sure internal and external audiences understood why it was a different type of partnership than a merger or an acquisition." On being successful: '''I had some good mentors along the way - good bosses whom I've been able to extrapolate management styles from and meld into my own collective management style. Also, as a communicator, especially in this field, you have . to have relationships throughout the organization and throughout the targeted audiences. People have to respect your opinion and your position; they may not accept your recommendations, but they respect you for your knowledge base. In the public relations field, it's a very visible part of the business. Internally, people look to communicators for guidance, strategy, recommendations and counsel."
On being a woman in the industry: "Early on, it probably impacted me more. When I started out at Hill & Knowlton, I sent telefaxes and I would use my first initial and last name so that it would be easier to get a response. It's a male-dominated industry, no question. (But) as you prove that you are a capable ' individual and have the skills required for the position and job, in the end I've found that it (being a woman) hasn't really been an impediment. You become more comfortable as you mature, in a position."
Other positions at Nissan North America include:
- 1998-2000 Director, Corporate Communications
- 1998 Corporate Manager, Corporate Public Relations
- 1997-98 Corporate Manager, Brand Public Relations
- 1996-97 Corporate Manager, Product Public Relations
- 1993-96 Corporate Manager, Industry· Issues
- 1990-93 Corporate Manager, Infiniti Public Relations
- 1985-90 Media Relations Manager; Product News Administrator, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.