As the former assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Dana W. White has worked with various leadership teams throughout her career. Earlier this year, she was named as chief communications officer at Hyundai North America and most recently, named to the Women in Automotive board. Today, White joins us to discuss leadership and also being a woman in a male-dominated industry.
After studying Chinese history in college, White began her career in Washington, D.C. during the Clinton administration. She was also the chief spokesperson for both the Department of Defense and former Secretary of Defense, General Jim Mattis. She previously worked as an editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal and was the director of policy and strategic communications for the Renault-Nissan Alliance in Paris, France.
As a woman of color, White brings a unique perspective to the automotive industry. “Challenges really make you who you are,” says White. “And I always tell people, if you add value, it’s incredible how many things you can overcome.”
When it comes to the changes that the industry needs to make in order to attract and retain more women, White believes that it needs to have leaders who understand the market. José Muñoz, the president and CEO of Hyundai Noth America, appointed three women to high-level company positions including White. Olabisi Boyle also joined Hyundai as the vice president of product planning and mobility strategy, and Angela Zepeda is the chief marketing officer.
The automotive market is largely female, and leaders need to realize that they need the female perspective to understand the landscape and future of the business. White is leading Hyundai’s first series of executive mentorship for women.
White explains, “[There] has to be the willingness to see the talent, not only for the top spots but also to see [for] the future.”
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