Deborah Wahl Meyer, 42
Vice President, Marketing, Lexus Division, Toyota Motor Company
Education: B.A., economics, Wellesley College; M.B.A., Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; M.A., international studies, Lauder Institute
What your college professors didn't teach you: "It pays to play nice."
First automotive job: Ford Motor Co. liaison with operations in Brazil and Argentina in 1995
- 2001-05 Corporate manager, marketing communications, Toyota Division
- 1999-2001 Marketing communications manager, Lincoln Mercury Division, Ford Motor Co.
- 1997-99 Group manager, brand strategy and communications, Mazda North American Operations
- 1995-97 Brand manager, Ford Brazil
- 1992-95 Product manager, W.L. Gore and Associates, Paris
Biggest mistake and what you learned: "It was my first task at Toyota. I tried to cut the marketing budget and do things too cheaply. Jim Press really railed me for false economizing. That's when I discovered that proper investments are the way to do marketing."
Current challenge: "There's an opportunity to grow the Lexus brand, which is already strong and established, without ruining anything."
On being successful: "I ask for a lot of advice, and I take it."
What women need to know for success in the auto industry: "Follow your passion. Focus on playing nice. Understand that people are willing to be mentors and help lead you. It's incredible how much support there is."
Job to which you aspire: "There are so many places where I could add value and grow. There are no limits. It's all about the choices I make."
What you do to relax: "Spending time with husband, Andy, and son, Alexander. Yoga, walking, reading, travel, staying close to a group of girlfriends."