Anne Belec, 43
President and CEO, Volvo Cars of North America Inc.
Education: Bachelor of commerce and marketing and bachelor of business administration, University of Ottawa; M.B.A., Duke University
What your college professors didn't teach you: "The people relationships: how to motivate people, how to deal with sensitive situations. Those people skills distinguish great leaders from great managers."
First automotive job: Correcting dealer orders at Ford of Canada's Oakville, Ontario, assembly plant in 1985
- 2003-04 Vice president, sales operations, Volvo Car Corp., Sweden
- 2002-03 Director, North American sales planning and distribution, Ford Motor Co.
- 2001-02 General marketing manager, Lincoln Mercury
- 1999-2001 Network and business development manager, Lincoln Mercury
- 1997-99 Portfolio brand strategy manager, Ford Division
- 1994-97 Worldwide marketing plans manager, large-car product development, Ford Division
- 1993-94 Marketing plans manager, specialty cars, Ford Division
- 2000-02 Vice president, industrial sector sales, Americas
Most fun automotive job: "Portfolio brand strategy. We had the responsibility to make sure we could define all of our primary brands. I also spent a lot of time with product development to define our nameplate brand strategies."
Proudest achievement: "As director of network development for Lincoln Mercury, we turned around customer satisfaction and established the Lincoln brand, especially with the visual elements at retail. That still benefits me today in my role at Volvo. It allows me to see how to work with the dealer network to achieve common goals with the company."
Current challenge: "The most immediate challenge is in learning everything about this business. It takes several months before you have an in-depth understanding about how this particular unit runs. There are day-to-day challenges of juggling so many things and priorities at the same time - getting the organization, retailers, agencies and suppliers working toward the same goals."
On being successful: "Integrity, first and foremost. You have to get people to trust you. Consistency of behavior, values and beliefs."
What about the auto industry surprised you: "One of the stereotypes is that you have to be a techno or gearhead to be in the car business. Obviously, you have to have an interest in the product. But so much more of this business is about people's relationships to their vehicles, as opposed to the technical aspect behind it. People fall in love with their cars."
What women need to know for success in the auto industry: "Everything is possible. There is no need to emulate your male counterparts. Be yourself. Be confident in what you know. Don't try to be something you are not. You have to be able and willing to move around quite a bit. Dual-career families make that difficult."
Job to which you aspire: "I think I found it. This is probably as good as it gets, leading an organization with sufficient scale to be able to influence decisions, to have an impact on product and what we do in this market. It combines all the experiences I have acquired in the last 20 years of my career."
What you do to relax: "I like to hike, usually with my golden retriever; cook, read, go to the spa."