Jean Blackwell, 51
Executive Vice President, CFO, Cummins Inc.
Education: B.A., economics, College of William and Mary; J.D., University of Michigan
First automotive job: General counsel at Cummins in 1997
Biggest mistake and what you learned: "When I was budget director for the state of Indiana, I tried to do things the way predecessors had done. I was awful at it and failed miserably. Then I did it my own way."
- 2001-03 Vice president, Cummins Business Services, Cummins Inc.
- 1997-2001 Vice president, human resources, Cummins
- 1997 Vice president, general counsel, Cummins
- 1995-97 Partner, Bose McKinney & Evans, Indianapolis
- 1993-95 State budget director, State of Indiana, Indianapolis
- 1991-93 Executive director, state lottery commission, State of Indiana
- 1979-91 Partner, Bose McKinney & Evans
Proudest achievement: "Personally, I was a Big Sister and was proudest when my Little Sister graduated from high school. In business, it was when I went back as budget director and did it my way."
Current challenge: "It is how to change from an organization that is focused on cost reduction and survival and to not lose that and focus on growth. We need to take the best of what we've learned and learn to grow. When you are just cost cutting, you get into a mind-set. We've got to be low cost and also grow."
On being successful: "Having changed jobs a number of times, it's important to remember that it is not about you. When I left the law firm, I was sure they would not survive without me, but they did. You should focus on leaving your own legacy by your actions."
What about the auto industry surprised you: "The pace of change. In some ways there is a lot of change in the auto industry. But in some ways it is not as quick to react as I expected."
What women need to know for success in the auto industry: "They need to have an understanding of the industry. There is an awful lot of history, both good and bad. If they ignore it, they limit their ability to be successful. The auto industry ebbs and flows. If you don't study the history, it is easy to think that the conditions today are all good or all bad - but they will change."
Job to which you aspire: "Running an operation that teaches kids about the outdoors."
What you do to relax: "Go bicycling, play with my two dogs, play golf, see friends and exercise."