Appointed CEO of General Motors just a few weeks ago, Mary Barra, 52, was in the news again yesterday, when she was named the Most Powerful Woman in Business by Fortune magazine.
Not only the first female CEO of any major global automobile maker, Mary was the first woman in her family to go to college. She earned her MBA from Stanford in 1990, and worked her way up the corporate ladder at GM. Prior to her current position, she was in global product development, purchasing and supply, responsible for the design, engineering, program management and quality of GM vehicles worldwide. She will use her engineering and business-savvy to cut costs and develop GM’s global presence, especially in China.
Known for her no-nonsense attitude, Mary was responsible for the demise of GM’s 10-page dress code while she managed the GM Human resource department, replacing it with two words: “Dress appropriately.” She credits her parents, who both grew up in the Depression era, for her strong work ethic and belief in the importance of teamwork. Mary says that she has never asked for a promotion or raise. Instead, she worked hard at every position she held and the job offers came in on their own.
Mary is married to Tony Barra, a consultant, with whom she has two children. She should be proud of her accomplishments.