It’s Not an Ideal World—Yet

I am honored to be named one of Profiles in Diversity Journal’s 2019 Women Worth Watching. It is humbling to be recognized alongside other organizational leaders from all industries, who are clearly excelling in their respective fields. We have come a long way in recognizing leadership, but we still have much farther to go. The fact that, in 2018, less than five percent of the Fortune 500 CEOs were women, is a case in point. Sadly this number was even lower than in 2017. Also, we are still experiencing tremendous gender pay gaps, and solving this fundamental issue will take action from individuals, employers, and policymakers.

As women continue to fight for a seat at the table, I want to share my honest thoughts: In an ideal world, the award we all should be receiving would be called “Leaders Worth Watching,” and men and women would be evaluated on equal footing. (For the record—and I checked—there is no award out there called “Men Worth Watching.”)

In an ideal world, we wouldn’t be called out because of our gender, nor would we be asked to discuss the battles we had to fight to be considered an equal. Our achievements would be measured by our overall business acumen: the revenue we generated and number of deals we closed for our companies. Our overall success would be gauged by the health of our organizations; the happiness of our employees, customers, and partners; and by the impact of our contributions on our respective industries.

I have worked my entire professional career in the extremely male-dominated automotive industry. I have lived in Europe and the U.S., and have always tried to speak the language of the country I was in. I have surrounded myself with people that saw potential in me and encouraged me to push my limits, but also gave me incredible opportunities. I will always follow this piece of advice from one of my former managers: “A people hire A people. B people hire C or D people”—no matter what gender or background they are.