Joan Claybrook, 63
President, Public Citizen
Education: B.A., history, Goucher College; J.D., Georgetown Law Center
First automotive job: Working on Capitol Hill in 1966 with Rep. James Mackay, D-Ga., helping to write auto safety legislation
Proudest achievement: Helping to get airbags into cars
On being successful: "I've been successful because I've never worried about whether or not I would be fired. I did what I thought was important and had the confidence that I could find another job if I had to. I always did what I thought was right, and I had the confidence to do that."
On being a woman in the industry: "It hasn't affected me. When I first came to Washington, Capitol Hill was male-dominated. Law school was male-dominated. That's never really been an issue. I think it was harder for the industry. They didn't like a 'Nader's Raider' as a regulator. They weren't quite sure how to approach me. The industry in 1966 gave me the nickname "Dragon Lady." That was their view of me. I was very polite, but they weren't going to influence my opinion. Pete Estes, then the president of GM, said on more than one occasion he liked dealing with me because I was very straightforward with him."
- 1977-81 Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington
- 1973-77 Founder and Director, Public Citizen's Congress Watch, Washington
- 1970-72 Public Interest Research Group; The Congress Project, Washington
- 1966-70 Special Assistant to the Administrator, National Traffic Safety Bureau (renamed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington