Jane Beseda, 58
Group Vice President and General Manager, North American Parts and Accessories, Toyota Motor Company
Education: B.A., English, Texas Tech University; M.B.A., Loyola Marymount University
First automotive job: Manager for import-export operations at Toyota Motor Sales in 1989
Biggest mistake and what you learned: "I should have taken more risks earlier in my career. It took me awhile to realize it is OK to take risks. You can't do anything that puts the company in a precarious position, but it's OK to have innovative ideas out on the table."
- 2000-05 Group vice president, North American parts operations, Toyota Motor Sales
- 1997-2000 Vice president, Toyota Financial Services' insurance group
- 1994-97 Corporate manager, strategic planning, Toyota Motor Sales
- 1991-94 National manager, logistics planning, Toyota Motor Sales
Proudest achievement: "It's not any single situation, but it's always been that I could see the impact of my ideas and my group on the global company. Considering that Toyota is one of the largest companies in the world, to see your ideas move the company is a real thrill."
Current challenge: "I have 1,700 far-flung people working for me, and I can have a big impact.
"Now I'm also handling all the product development and marketing of accessories as well as parts."
On being successful: "Never give up. Do what you love, and you will be successful."
What women need to know for success in the auto industry: "If you can't get the dream job, take jobs that are not the mainstream jobs. Do your best, and that will create opportunity.You have to earn your stripes. Some jobs in the company everybody wants, and there's a lot of competition. Other jobs, the field is not as intense. But with jobs like that, you can make your career. You can create your own opportunity.
"First you have to start with what gives you joy every day. Once you do that, making career choices is easy. Don't approach it like, 'I want to be CEO, so that means I have to do this and that within the next five years.'"
Job to which you aspire: "I would like to be able to have more and more influence and see more global impact from my contribution. I've had impact in North America, but now looking more globally, it's already starting to happen."
What you do to relax: "Travel abroad. Read about developments in cosmology, particle physics and archaeology. Work with INROADS nonprofit."