Sharon McGann Wacker, 45
Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Ford U.S. Business, Team Detroit
Why did you want to work in the auto industry? I wanted to work in advertising and marketing on an account because of the challenges of marketing such a large purchase.
First automotive job: I joined J. Walter Thompson in 1998 and was a strategic planner for the F-series brand.
Proudest professional achievement: Being named managing director of the Ford business. When I started as a strategic planner, I wondered if a woman would run a truck account -- there were not many in those lead roles or running the overall Ford account. In 12 years, I went from wondering to being the woman who runs the account.
Current challenge at work: Aside from the economic challenges that the industry faces, mine revolves around strengthening our business model by encouraging communication and creative thinking in a way that will benefit the brand and the client so in the long run that kind of collaboration turns challenges into opportunities for us.
On a nickname: The majority of my time was on the truck account. I became known as the Mother Trucker. I started breaking down the gender wall and stereotypes.
What you do to relax: I love to spend time with my children and my dogs and lead an active lifestyle that lets my mind unwind.
-- Diana T. Kurylko