Advice of the Most Influential Woman in Business

Advice of the Most Influential Woman in Business

What should we learn from Mary Barra? 

Forbes named Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, the most influential woman in business. She also took the 4th place in the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women List. Ms. Barra inspires women entrepreneurs from all over the world while keeping to conquer new heights. In her interviews, she often talks about her principles, path to success, and shares her advice with aspiring entrepreneurs. 

She likes maths very much. That hobby brought her to engineering. Ms. Barra likes what she is doing, which is, perhaps, the main reason of her success. Even after 30 years of doing car business, she is moving forward with great enthusiasm. According to Mary Barra, you should work as if you are ready to spend your whole life doing it with joy. The main thing is to be sincere.


Despite the fact that Ms. Barra is working in a typically male sphere, she did not have a goal of breaking any stereotypes or proving anything to society. Mary Barra explained: “I never wanted to work here just because I am a woman. I wanted to get this job because I deserved it”. 

“I can just as well have blue hair, but people should judge others by the way they do their work, by their results, and approach to achieving their goals. I want others to judge me only by that. And many people want the same.” 


Mary Barra is guided by several principles of her work. According to her, one should not confuse progress with a victory. She is never accepting any excuses of people saying that the result cannot be better: one should always strive for conquering new heights. Given that, Ms. Barra supposes successful people should be able to admit when they are wrong and move forward. 

As a leader, Mary Barra is sure harassment in the workplace can be prevented through creating corporate culture, where every voice is heard and any person feels themselves valuable. Besides, both management and personnel should face reasoned debates and expressing different or even opposite standpoints with serenity. “Debating is normal. It should not get personal, petty or rude. However, if we have different opinions, we should express them”, the entrepreneur thinks. 

I think there are basic components of success. Mentorship, working hard, and being open to feedback are just some of them. 

Mary Barra suggests young women not to end their careers too early. At the same time, she understands it is important for a woman to both unleash her career potential and dedicate herself to her family. 

The entrepreneur shares: “My children once told me my main job is that of a mother, and that they would hold me accountable for that.” 

Anna Repina, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community

Translated by Nikolay Boykov