General Motors has picked a woman as its next CEO, naming product development chief Mary Barra as the first female head of a major U.S. car company.
Mary Barra’s promotion will help shatter pernicious auto-industry stereotypes about gender while putting the company in the hands of someone who cares deeply about cars.
1. She is the first female CEO in the automotive industry
This is such an amazing step for women in the workforce and especially for women in STEM with C-suite aspirations. As stated by Girl Scout of Citrus “the glass ceiling just got a little thinner!”
2. She began at General Motors when she was 18 as a student co-op
Barra studied electrical engineering at General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) and sought out the co-op to help pay her tuition. She went on to receive her Bachelors of Science, at Kettering University and Masters of Business Administration at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
3. She keeps an Albert Einstein bobble-head on her desk
This is a fun one. According to a BusinessWeek article, Barra won the bobble-head in a competition with coworkers at GM.
4. She is a CEO and is also married with two children
We often hear that to be a career woman you will have to choose between your family or your career; Barra shows that is is possible to have and be successful in both!
5. She was listed as #35 in the The Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women
After being named number 41 in 2012, Barra moved up in rank this past May. The list is comprised of “women that go beyond the traditional taxonomy of the power elite. These change-agents are actually shifting our very idea of clout and authority and, in the process, transforming the world in fresh and exhilarating ways.” – Forbes.com
6. She likes motivating young girls to go into math and science
This past april, Barra visited an elementary school in Detroit where third-graders were working on a science project demonstrating wind power. While there, Barra gave a talk about the importance of studying and then joined in on the fun of paper sailboats powered by electric fans.
7. She’s not afraid to challenge tradition
This is evident from the fact that she decided to go into the car world – a man’s world – as a woman, but on a sillier note, according to an article from The Daily Beast, earlier in her career, Barra was in Human Resources for GM. While in this position she made the decision to allow employees to wear jeans to work. A seemingly small decision that raised a few eyebrows (and a lot of complaints) at this traditional workplace. Still, Barra stood by her decision and said that she trusted the employees to dress appropriately.
Congratulations and thanks to you, Mary Barra for paving the way for women in your field, and in others. We wish you the best of luck in your position!
Keep up with Mary Barra on Twitter! twitter.com/mtbarra