Ep. 104: Driven, with GM’s Mary Barra

By Milken Institute

“There was this ventilator company that needed help. We realized there was one part on the ventilator that was very similar to the way a transmission is designed and they were having quality issues with it. We brought in transmission engineers and they figured out a way to improve the part and the ability to produce it.”  Just before this interview was recorded, General Motors announced it had completed a contract with the federal government to supply 30,000 ventilators for COVID patients. It’s just one example of how Chairman and CEO Mary Barra sees her mission as more than just leading a car company. A proud GM employee for nearly 40 years, Barra is grateful for the opportunities and mentorship that helped prepare her to be the first female CEO of a major auto manufacturer – and she’s determined to pay it forward. “We talked about wanting to be the most inclusive company in the world,” she tells Mike. “But I'm quick to say I want every company to be there because if we all provide inclusive work environments, we will change the environment in the country and beyond. … We're looking very comprehensively at General Motors and how we drive change [and] create an environment where everybody can bring their true self to work.”

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