Bette Walker, 62
Vice President, Chief Information Officer, Delphi
Education: B.S., business management, University of New Hampshire
First automotive job: Vice president of information technology in the safety restraint business of AlliedSignal in Sterling Heights, Mich., in 1996
Most fun automotive job: "It definitely had to be when Delphi became an independent company. In my area of discipline we had many quarters of work when we had to separate the information systems that had been part of the company's legacy. We worked closely with GM over the years. We are this year finalizing every last drop of the separation. It has been a very, very positive working relationship every inch of the way."
- 2002-03 Executive director, global business services and operations, Delphi Corp., Troy, Mich.
- 1999-2002 Global chief information officer, Delphi Energy & Chassis Division, Troy, Mich.
- 1997-99 Chief information officer, Delphi Energy & Engine Management Division, Flint, Mich.
- 1996-97 Vice president, information technology, safety restraint systems, Automotive Division, AlliedSignal Inc., Sterling Heights, Mich.
Biggest mistake and what you learned: "I'm impatient, and I'm very focused on what we can get done. I get so wound up in that that sometimes I step on toes. I'm apt to be too aggressive for traditional business hierarchies. I'm aggressive and impatient. My best intentions don't always get the best results, so I have to cool my jets every once in a while."
Proudest achievement: "Building a shared service organization. Over the last two and a half years we've taken that journey. I'm very proud to see how people are growing and responding and looking out for the welfare of the enterprise instead of their own interests."
Current challenge: "Bringing new ideas into the industry. We have such a rich history in automotive. I've only been in the automotive industry for 10 years. I have some ideas. But it's really tough to get people who have a long history in automotive to listen to ways of doing things differently."
On being successful: "I don't let my gender influence my day in any way."
What about the auto industry surprised you: "The complexity of global operations and what it takes to bring a finished vehicle to market."
What women need to know for success in the auto industry: "Many times the glass ceiling is in your mind. It's never occurred to me my gender was a limitation. Because people think that, it actually becomes an asset. You just can't spend time worrying about your gender."
What you do to relax: "I play tennis. I read. I watch the Pistons. I knit, and I laugh a lot - lots and lots."