Executive Vice President, Marketing and Sales, Americas and Strategic Planning, Ford Motor Credit Co.
What attracted you to the auto industry? When I graduated, I got a job offer from Ford, and I had two job offers at the same time. Ford was No. 3 on the Fortune 500 list. The other company was No. 5. I was trying to decide between the two, and that ranking influenced me.
The other job was more money and it was a supervisory position, while Ford was less money, and it was an entry-level. But I liked the culture and felt a sense of belonging in the interview process with Ford. I let that Fortune 500 ranking be my rationale for picking less money.
First automotive job: In 1989 in Kansas City, I had an entry-level position in customer service for Ford.
Big break: My career has been more of a journey, and I've had lots of opportunities to do 20 different jobs. My biggest break was being named vice president of global marketing, building upon my previous experience in Europe, with its diversity and complexity. Everything we get to touch in marketing globally, working with Ford, working with dealers and working in all the different regions, has been a good experience.
What is the major challenge you've faced in your career? Probably the biggest challenge was during the downturn from 2008 to 2010. I actually was in Europe in 2008 and we started seeing a knock-on impact to what was going on in the U.S. to Europe in our Spanish market. It was the first one to have economic issues, and we had to reorganize our business there. Then I came back to the U.S. in 2009, and we were in the throes of the restructuring.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career? Early on, my mother had a big influence on who I am, certainly as a professional. She led by example. A strong work ethic and perseverance and, really, a sense of responsibility were some things she instilled in me. She was a working woman, so that's all I ever knew. She was a manager for a telecommunications company.
What should be done to encourage women to enter the auto industry? We need a really strong educational effort on the opportunities in the auto industry. There are global and regional opportunities. And also with the convergence we're seeing with auto and technology, there are so many more technology jobs that are becoming available.
Tell us about your family. I have a very engaged and supportive husband, and I have two girls, 13-year-old Natalie and 11-year-old Nicole. My husband is a sales manager at a dealership, so he understands the industry. I've moved with Ford, so since I have relocated here to the Detroit area, I have no immediate family in the area and no pets because we work so many hours. But this is where it's really good to have a supportive husband. And it takes a lot of organization and planning to pull it all off. Good neighbors are helpful as well.
Do you spend time with friends? I have a very active and social neighborhood that I am fortunate to live in. I have some good friends there that support me and my family as we juggle the kids.
What's your favorite weekend activity? I love to kind of take a breath and get organized. Spending time with my family is the No. 1 thing I do on the weekends.