I have made a few shifts that had significant impacts on my career. Twice, I decided for a couple of reasons to leave one company and move to another. I had become comfortable in the role, which was a signal to me that my team was ready to step up and operate independently, and that I was ready for a new challenge. To prepare for those moves, I had to recruit, develop, and retain a highly skilled, motivated, and diverse team that would carry forward and enhance the work that had been started.

The other type of shift involved navigating from an existing position, for which I was well suited, to another position within the same company that would be a stretch for me. Taking on assignments that were less of a direct fit with my background enabled me to grow in valuable ways. It was also a signal to the organization that I was ready and willing to take on challenges, and that I was confident in my abilities to learn and master the job.

I found that making bold moves improved my job satisfaction and increased my confidence. What I didn’t expect during these transitions, was the time it would take to become proficient at my job, or the growing pains I would experience by starting over and building a new team and function. That said, what I learned along the way was invaluable and worth the effort.

On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
The automotive industry is changing at a rapid pace. Being inquisitive about how the business works and how it could evolve is imperative.

On the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
I have been fortunate to have a couple of very successful role models who pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and seek out new and diverse assignments.

On Facing Challenges
Walking away from a team and function I built, because it was the right thing to do for the business, the people, and myself, has been my most difficult challenge.

Jennifer’s Advice to Young Women Starting Careers
Strive for continuous improvement, and build your brand around your ability to be a strategic business partner.