Lynn Tilton, 51
CEO, Patriarch Partners
Why did you want to work in the auto industry? To make an investment return and save manufacturing jobs, upon which the American middle class was built.
First automotive job: I bought three auto parts stamping companies in 2005 and operated them as Global Automotive Systems.
Proudest professional achievement: I bought and preserved 75 distressed companies, saving 250,000 jobs.
Current challenge at work: To continue to innovate in manufacturing where capital is severely restricted.
Why does the auto industry seem like a difficult environment for female executives? There's a perceived ceiling of where women can reach.
On Tony's mistake: In my first meeting with Tony Brown [Ford purchasing chief], he asked me if Patriarch Partners was just another private equity company intent on stripping and flipping Dura. I said: Tony, you must be mistaken. It's only men that I strip and flip.
What you do to relax: Read and work out.
-- David Barkholz