Mary Barra, Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, at GM headquarters in Detroit, MI, January 2014. Barra is the first female to head a major global auto company.

Mary Barra, CEO, GM

Women and Adversity: Mary Barra at GM

Both Fortune and Forbes magazines print a list of the most powerful women in the world, and it’s worth a look at them.

At, Fortune puts Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors and often cited as the first CEO of that company, at the top on the list of American women. The magazine has separate listings for Asian-Pacific and Europe, Middle East, Africa.

Forbes has one list for women around the world at It ranks Barra No. 5 after Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Melinda Gates and Janet Yellen.

An article by Jonathan Chew in the Sept. 23, 2015 issue of Fortune, What Volkswagen’s next CEO can learn from GM’s Mary Barra at tells what Barra is about. Of the five suggestions in the article, No. 1 is “She was honest.”

(Photo: Ben Baker, Redux)


Article By: Jo Ann Mathews

I published an ebook, Women and Adversity, Honoring 23 Black Women, in February 2020. Take a look inside at, and Women and Adversity, Recognizing 23 Notable Mothers, comes out in May.

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