IBM General Manager, Global Automotive Industry,
Education: B.S., computer science and mathematics, University of Michigan
What your college professors didn't teach you: "The real world is different and tough. Common sense and gut instinct are many times your most important business skills."
First automotive job: At IBM, a job managing marketing representatives who sold technology and services to General Motors in Flint, Mich., in 1987
Career highlights (all with IBM)
- 2000-02 Vice president, industrial sector sales, Americas
- 1997-98 Vice president, manufacturing sales, U.S.
- 1992-95 Branch manager, General Motors account
Most fun automotive job: "My first and my current. My first because it was the beginning of my journey in automotive and my current because I have the opportunity to travel the globe, meet executives from a diverse set of auto companies and collaborate on design solutions that have an impact on their businesses."
Biggest mistake and what you learned: "Depending on where you are physically located, your view of the industry can be U.S.-centric (or Japan- or Germany-centric). I have discovered that the industry takes on many different perspectives as one expands their horizons and experiences. Companies, cultures, business relationships are different everywhere you go. As I look back, I would have liked the opportunity to see and experience this earlier in my career."
Proudest achievement: "Being recognized as one of the top women in automotive who has contributed to the industry as well as advancing positive changes in the industry. It's truly an honor."
Current challenge: "The industry is facing major challenges in the areas of innovation through electronics and software as well as in standards. In my current role, we continue to look at how IBM can provide technology, services and capabilities to accelerate innovation."
On being successful: "Both personal and professional success is very important to me. And I learned very early on that there are similar key ingredients to success in both cases, particularly as you take the things you learn and accomplish personally and translate and practice them in your business life."
What about the auto industry surprised you: "Despite being viewed as one of the largest global industries, the automotive industry is really a tight and small community."
What women need to know for success in the auto industry: "Be confident, innovative and network. Balance the use of your academic skills with common sense and your gut instinct. Be the best subject matter expert in the domains that you pursue."
Job to which you aspire: "I always aspire to a job that challenges me, that allows me to take risks and explore new ways of doing business. In the future, after I move on from automotive, I would like to open my own restaurant."
What you do to relax: "Golf, read, attend U of M football games, boating, walking the beach."