Dianne Craig, 51
President and CEO, Ford Motor Co. of Canada
What attracted you to the auto industry? I am a second-generation Ford employee, but I can't say I really wanted to go work for Ford. I needed a job, and Ford was hiring and because I had a math degree, they decided they would give me a shot. I'm really glad they did.
First automotive job: I was in what they called the Ford College Graduate Program back then, and I started in an entry-level position calling on dealerships in sales in 1986.
Big break: I was placed in the role of managing our dealer relations nationally in 2005, and I had that role for four years. At the time I didn't feel like it was a big break because there were other folks getting promoted, and I felt like I had gotten passed over. But it turned out to be one of the most rewarding and enriching jobs I ever had. Those were the years when we were going through the restructuring, and it put me in a position to learn a lot about leadership.
What is the major challenge you've faced in your career? When we were going through the restructuring years, we went through a massive downsizing, and that involved me having to let some people go. We all had to work together to make some tough choices and make significant trade-offs. It was very difficult.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career? I've had so many terrific mentors at Ford, but I would say my mother has been a role model and inspiration to me, personally and professionally. She instilled in me early on that I should always dream big and never underestimate what I could accomplish. She's 82, and she continues to influence me.
Tell us about your family. I have been married for 20 years, and my husband has been a tremendous support, especially as we've moved around a lot for my career. We have a 16-year old daughter. I'm grateful that in my career, and especially in the job I have now, I have been able to be a role model for her.
What's your favorite weekend activity? Spending time with my family. We love to ski, and my daughter loves to shop.
What's your guilty pleasure? I love hot sauce. I pretty much put hot sauce on everything I eat.
Name one thing about yourself that most people don't know. I am a huge John Denver fan. Yes, I know it sounds totally corny.