Annette Clayton, 42
Vice President, GM North America Quality, General Motors
Education: Bachelor's, engineering, Wright State University; Master's, engineering management, University of Dayton
What your college professors didn't teach you: "The importance of relationships in business and how those relationships are so essential to getting things done."
First automotive job: Engineer at the Moraine, Ohio, assembly plant in 1984
Most fun automotive job: "I think it was when I was the plant manager at the Oshawa (Ontario) truck plant in 1999. It was an important facility with large volumes.
Career highlights (All with GM)
- 2002-05 Manufacturing manager
- 2001-05 President, Saturn Corp.
- 1999-2001 Plant manager, Oshawa (Ontario) Truck Assembly
- 1997-99 Assistant plant manager, Fort Wayne (Ind.) Assembly
- 1995-97 Area manager, general assembly, Fort Wayne Assembly
- 1994-95 Area manager, body operations, Fort Wayne Assembly
- 1992-94 Assistant superintendent, production, Moraine (Ohio) Assembly
- 1984-92 Engineer, Moraine Assembly
"It was a real joy running my own show as a plant manager."
Biggest mistake and what you learned: "It's a moment I've tried to put in the back of my mind. Early in my career I was in engineering design, and I miscalculated a purchase. I ended up spending three times the amount I should have. There was a significant restocking charge on that, but the experience gave me the courage to talk about my mistakes."
Proudest achievement: "It was my last position, as president of Saturn. The role allowed me to leverage GM's common global architecture and drive efficiencies."
Current challenge: "In my new role, we have to continue our work in initial quality and vehicle dependability."
On being successful: "I go back to what Will Rogers said. No matter what you want to be, you have to love and believe in what you are doing."
What about the auto industry surprised you: "It is amazing what a very, very competitive marketplace it is. Given that fact, you have to execute flawlessly."
What women need to know for success in the auto industry: "Don't change who you are just because you are outnumbered."
What you do to relax: "I have a lot of hobbies, but I enjoy scuba diving and artistic underwater picture-taking."