MAY 12, 2021
When Mary Barra, chair and CEO of General Motors, first saw the company’s dress code, she did what she does best: cut through the noise and deliver a solution. A set of rules that previously exceeded 10 pages now reads simply, “dress appropriately.”
Barra is also leading work on racial justice and equity through leadership roles with the Business Roundtable, an advocacy group comprising CEOs from top U.S. firms. The group recently released a statement on the importance of defending and promoting voting rights.
GM also joined Michigan-based companies in a statement supporting equitable access for voters in light of proposed changes to state laws regarding voter identification and absentee ballots. Boulding noted criticism business leaders have received from those who think corporations should stay out of politics.
“I think sometimes things get politicized that really aren’t political issues,” Barra said. “We don’t see it as a political issue,” Barra said. “We see it as core to our democracy, and if people would look at what the corporations are actually saying they would see that.”
In a career spent developing tangible solutions, one of Barra’s best skills may be leading people to focus on a core mission – tackling new challenges even during a paralyzing pandemic.
“Empower people and get out of their way,” she said, “and they will do extraordinary things.”