Ellen Gleberman, 46
Senior VP, Legal, Government Relations and Public Affairs, Mitsubishi
Education: B.A., government, Oberlin College; J.D., Washington College of Law, American University
First automotive job: With the law firm of Cladouhos & Brashares in Washington, which was the outside general counsel for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. in Torrance, Calif., 1979
Proudest achievement: "I'm very proud of where I've gotten in terms of the auto industry, but more important I've managed to bridge the gap from being narrowly viewed as a lawyer to moving into a strategic position in terms of providing business and legal advice."
On being successful: "I've been successful because I was born with innate people skills and judgment. The ability to see things from different perspectives is an important skill that has helped me a lot in terms of being successful. Another thing, I was never overly ambitious in terms of getting into a job and saying where I wanted to go in five years. I was focused on, in golf terms, playing one stroke at a time and doing the best I could."
On being a woman in the industry: "In life you always experience barriers. But do you view them as barriers or as opportunities? In a Japanese company, where I found competency and performance were more important than gender, (being a woman) was not something that held me back much. It's not the same comfort level as in terms of playing golf. But it has not been a problem. I bring a benefit. I get a lot of respect because I bring an opinion that they haven't thought about, so I think it's an opportunity."
- 1989-98 Senior Counsel, Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America
- 1987-89 Senior Associate, specializing in business litigation, Berkley, Moore, Torrance, Calif.
- 1983-87 Business Litigator, Finley, Kumble, Wagner, et al, Los A