Christine Krathwohl, 44
Vice President of Global Supply Chain, Cooper Standard Holdings
What attracted you to the auto industry? I love the state of Michigan. I love being close to my university. Automotive was one of the first industries that really embraced supply chain management. There was tons of opportunity with these companies.
First automotive job: Warehouse supervisor at Ford in 1994
Big break: Becoming an ex-pat and living in Germany with General Motors. It gave me the global experience. I had 10 plants from seven countries reporting to me, so I got to learn how you deal with different cultures [and] different motivations for people. It also gave me the opportunity to do direct material purchasing for electrical for an entire region. It set me up for my next big job when I came back to the United States for GM.
What is the major challenge you've faced in your career? That European assignment. While I was there, GM was going through bankruptcy in North America so my network evaporated. At the same time, GM was looking to sell their European operations to a supplier. A lot of uncertainty of do I have a job going forward, did I make the right decision. My husband gave up his career; we moved to Germany.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career? My parents. I was raised in a middle-class, at best, family with two extremely hardworking parents who worked because that's how they kept food on the table for us. My parents didn't go to university, but all of their kids did. For me, [the] driving factor was how do I make my parents proud.
Tell us about your family. I'm looking to expand my family with a second dog. I think I spend as much on my dog-walking services as people spend on their daycare.
My husband is passionate about the outdoors; he's passionate about sports - we both are - we love to travel, and we love to enjoy good food and good wine. I've converted him to be a full-fledged Michigan State fan. He went to Ferris State. We got married late in life, and after one year, he gave up his career to support mine for us to go to Europe. That takes an unbelievable person to do that.
What's your favorite weekend activity? Playing golf, MSU sports, travel, cooking
Are you able to maintain friendships? Absolutely. Some of the best friendships I have are ones I've gained from my different job experiences. My best friend was a supplier to me years ago.
Name one thing about yourself that most people don't know. I'm a bit of an introvert, but everybody thinks the opposite of that. I have a hard time going into a room of 500 people and introducing myself to everyone. It's something I work on every day.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? George W. Bush
Name one talent you wish you had. I wish I was multilingual.