Younger girls and women have someone to look up to in Mary Barra. She worked her way up to the position of General Motors CEO after joining the company as an engineer, which is normally a male-dominated position to begin with.
Barra encouraged fellow women and girls to follow her lead and study for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) degrees or accept positions that may not normally be occupied by very many women during a recent conference in New York. She said women should “seize the opportunity” to go outside their comfort zone in the working world, telling them they will “learn so much,” according to Automotive News.
The 54-year old mother of two started off at GM as an intern at a Pontiac plant while earning her electrical engineering degree. The company then sent her to Stanford’s Graduate School of Business where she earned her MBA before joining the automaker for good, holding numerous positions in its manufacturing, product development and human resources sectors.
Barra’s statements echo the message in the recently released book about her career, ‘Road to Power: How GM’s Mary Barra Shattered the Glass Ceiling’ by author Laura Colby. According to Colby, the book aims “to illuminate the steps Barra took in her career and, in so doing, to provide ideas for others to follow, whether they are aspiring engineers or accountants, parents of girls, teachers, or human resources executives at companies that want to stop shortchanging half of the population – and half of their potential customers.”