My Autobiography

I consider being afforded the opportunity to join the Innovation team at Chrysler a great honor. Even more so as I was given a position at the center of Chrysler innovation: Innovation Space Manager. To be thought of as an innovator is a compliment. It means that someone has the faith in you to think and act differently; to believe that you have it in you to implement original thought and to have the ability to guide others down the path of innovation. Of course my arrival in the Innovation Space did not happen overnight. My creative path began a long time ago with experiences that led to and culminated in the opportunity that is in front of me now. The path, like that of most, started in my childhood.

I grew up as the youngest of five in the shadow of the Chrysler tank plant in Warren, Michigan.



I was raised in an open, creative, and nurturing environment that encouraged experimentation and exploration. Whether it was my mother’s openness to my imagination or perhaps her just being tired after raising my four siblings, I was allowed to fully explore my creativity. In my childhood I made numerous, regular trips to the library and delved deep into what information the world had to offer long before the invention of the internet. We were also that family in the neighborhood that actually owned a set of encyclopedias. I have always had this driving thirst for new knowledge and new experiences and pursued them both throughout my life. I have always wanted to do and be everything, go everywhere, and see everything. Maybe this was why I pursued careers in advertising, publishing, business, and other entrepreneurial pursuits before settling down into the automotive industry. Even then I decided to sample a variety of options before finding my new home in the Innovation Space. Some of my past positions included landscaping, advertising sales, publishing, finite element analysis, polymer engineering, sealing technologies, gasoline systems, and cost estimating.

Now that I am here I eagerly accept the challenging assignment to change the culture at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (and maybe the rest of the world!) and to help us rediscover our innovative roots of creativity.

From an early age we are told not to bang the drums during quiet time. We are told to stay in line, not to speak out of turn, and to obey the rules. I have never been very good with rules. Of course I did not run with scissors but, while others were trying to color within the lines I was drawing Santa Claus with a green suit.

run with scissors

It is because of these past experiences that I know that each and every citizen of the planet has creativity, inventiveness, and innovation within them. If they do not I am convinced it is simply due to the strong hand of our educators teaching us to follow the rules and to be like everyone else. It is my goal to help others regain their ability to think like they did in their childhood before creativity was limited by teachers and other authority figures who taught them to behave yourself.


So I urge you to explore your imagination and re-learn how you can tap into the right side of your brain and regain the creativity you need to solve the difficult tasks you are faced with or simply to get you out of that rut. If you need a fresh perspective simply look inside of yourself and unleash your creative side.  Once you do, you will know where you are at.


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