Karen Healy, 51
Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Marketing Communications and Facilities, Delphi
Education: B.A., journalism, Michigan State University
First automotive job: Secretary at General Motors' Fisher Body Division in 1976
Most fun automotive job: "Getting ready for the IPO of Delphi."
- 1998-2000 Vice president, corporate affairs, Delphi Automotive Systems
- 1997-98 Executive director, communications, Delphi Automotive Systems
- 1996-97 Manufacturing manager, Flint (Mich.) East operations, plants 6 and 7, Delphi Automotive Systems
- 1995-96 Director, corporate communications, General Motors central office
- 1995 Director, communications, Delphi Automotive Systems
Note: Delphi Automotive Systems was spun off from General Motors in 1999.
Proudest achievement: "Probably my kids. I have a daughter who's almost 20 and a son who is 22.
"Jobwise, I'd have to say the separation of the company from GM. I don't mean the separation itself. That was an extraordinary communications challenge for the team here. It has been rewarding watching the team develop here as we go through the company's current difficulties."
Current challenge: "Read the headlines! We're trying to get our company back on a competitive track and keep our reputation intact as we go through a lot of negativity surrounding us. We think we're a great company, but we're being overshadowed by some difficult issues now."
On being successful: "I've been lucky instead of choosing a career that would keep me in communications. I've been fortunate to have spent 10 years in labor relations, corporate affairs, and marketing and communications. People tend to look at your inherent traits and characteristics and they give you tasks that are bigger and different from what you were trained to do. People look at me and say, 'Why are you running facilities?' People feel I had the skill set and abilities to do something beyond the degree I was trained in."
What about the auto industry surprised you: "Resilience. Even as the industry goes through such an upheaval - I think I've been through five recessions - there are still people so passionate about cars and trucks. We're probably the only industry where people fall in love with an inanimate object."
What women need to know for success in the auto industry: "The industry is so big and varied. I think people need to be flexible. They need to listen more than they talk."
What you do to relax: "I dig in the dirt. I am a passionate gardener. I am an avid reader. In the past year, I have rekindled my interest in writing."