Mary Barra

Mary Barra

IMG: Fortune Live Media via Flickr.

Mary Barra is the Executive Vice President of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain at General Motors. She describes her management style as collaborative. She welcomes opinions and concerns from her employees through an accepting environment. Debates are something that provide better products and outcomes, and she welcomes that. However, Mary Barra notes she does not hesitate to make decisions when these debates are not resolved.

The automobile industry is highly competitive and fits perfectly for those with innovation and a competitive spirit. In other words: not for the faint of heart. This atmosphere allows people to thrive in their excitement and passion for the industry, something that Mary Barra sees in herself. As an employee who worked her way up from an internship to the leader of a Fortune 500 company, Barra has proven her dedication and resilience to putting forth the best product possible.

Mary Barra noted her father was a die maker for the Pontiac motor division for 39 years, which exposed her to the industry from an early age. As a result, Barra always had interesting cars, Camaros and Firebirds, and kept an eye on every new car and model releases. After graduation she went to work at the same company as her father, and the rest, as they say, is history.

At the end of the day, Mary Barra acknowledges the most important thing is the product she is putting out and making sure it meets every aspect of the customer’s needs. She believes a product needs to be focused, reliable, durable, and brims with excitement—both from the customer and the manufacturer.