Today, we mark the 20th year of a movement.This fifth edition of our 100 Leading Women feature continues a vision started in 2000 by our chairman, Keith Crain, and my predecessor, Peter Brown.As Keith said then: “It’s about time to recognize the accomplishments of women in the automobile industry.”And recognize we have. Over the past two decades, we have celebrated 372 Leading Women in all, a number of them several times.
If these females were blazing trails in 2000, they are now widening a well-paved road to the future. And if the 2020 list is any indication, this industry continues to be enriched by unique individuals accomplishing remarkable things.Consider: There are 72 companies represented on this year’s roster — up from 54 companies in 2015. A good portion of them are coming from new branches of the auto industry, including companies that we weren’t writing about five years ago. Think Zoox, Lyft, Waymo, Amazon Web Services and more.
This year’s class is also more diverse — from age to ethnicity to the range of titles they hold.
Even more so than in 2015, the success of these executives goes hand in hand with an ever-changing industry where a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives is critical to success.
These are talented leaders who are role models in achieving excellence every day, in many ways.
And for us at Automotive News, the publication of this 100 Leading Women issue allows us to acknowledge the progress we’ve made in our mission to recognize leadership, excellence and diversity.
Since 2015, we have developed and nurtured a powerful initiative called the Leading Women Network. At annual conferences in Detroit — and related events in Nashville in 2018 and Dallas in 2019 — we pursued our goal of bringing this community together with greater regularity.
Those events, and the expansion of our network, have resulted in memorable moments, irresistible content and inspiring speakers.
We anxiously await the day those in-person events can continue.
In the meantime, we celebrate the achievements of two decades with you.
Progress, at times, can be measured in small increments. Or it can be measured in miles.
This section — filled with captivating stories and rich portraits of these accomplished executives — is evidence of progress that, in many ways, is immeasurable.