Vicky Morter, 52
Executive Director, Global Purchasing, Current Future Business, General Motors
Education: B.A., education, University of California, Berkeley; M.A., education, University of Northern Colorado
What your college professors didn't teach you: "Flexibility in business relationships; negotiations."
First automotive job: Supervisor of manufacturing at Pontiac engine plant in Pontiac, Mich., in 1977
Most fun automotive job: "Purchasing has been the most fun. It's the most challenging, the biggest opportunity. And I haven't always been in purchasing. I started in manufacturing."
Career highlights (all with GM)
- 2003-05 Executive director, worldwide purchasing
- 2000-03 Director, purchasing, chemical interior group
- 1999-2000 Director, electrical commodities, car group
- 1997-99 Director, purchasing, car group
- 1994-97 Director, program purchasing, mid-sized cars
- 1987-94 Manager, purchasing, W car
Biggest mistake and what you learned: "I probably should have earlier in my career gone on an international service personnel assignment."
Proudest achievement: "I've exceeded my expectations in my level of responsibility, that's for sure. The accomplishment of our goals here that we set for ourselves and our department: good quality suppliers, good launches, good supplier performance. I'll say supplier management overall, which is everything from quality, service, technology, price."
Current challenge: "Following (GM CEO) Rick Wagoner's lead to make sure we're doing our part to turn around (GM in) North America."
On being successful: "If it's a metric or a goal, you have to envision it, you have to believe in it first, and then set about a plan to achieve it. It's borrowing a little bit from athletics. You read that the most successful athletes, they always see the serve, they see the golf swing, they see where the ball's going to land. We have to see that we can get a good-quality part, good technology, good quality, good material costs, and then set plans to achieve it."
What about the auto industry surprised you: "It's a lot more challenging and tougher than I thought. You've got to have a stomach for the ups and downs."
What women need to know for success in the auto industry: "You have to believe in yourself. You can't think that being a woman is a handicap. You can't think that it somehow sets you aside, and you're not going to be as successful. You have every opportunity and every chance to be just as successful as any other person in this organization."
Job to which you aspire: "I've got the job. It's a dream job."
What you do to relax: "I'm still pretty active in grown-up sports ... swimming, bike riding, working out."