I spoke with Ford Vehicle Line Director Marcy Fisher about working on the new 2015 Ford Mustang, getting kids into STEM careers, and her path to becoming an engineer. Guess who one of the people she credits with helping her find that path?
That’s right—her mom.
The Ford Mustang is one of the most iconic American cars ever made, so its redesign was a big deal, especially if you happen to work at Ford. I asked Marcy what it was like finding out that she’d be working on such an incredible car. She said it was both exciting and a little daunting.
“It’s like a dream, in this company, everybody wants to be on Team Mustang. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, but at the same time, really, a little bit scary,” she said. It wasn’t a matter of simply doing the job, but of making all those fans happy. “You don’t want to be known as the person who messed up the 50th Anniversary Mustang!”
It wasn’t just Marcy behind the new design, but a whole team and she gives them a lot of the credit for being vested in the project and wanting to make this Mustang the best Mustang ever. “Everyone wants to work on this vehicle,” she said. “They’re excited to go the extra mile. We all know what the Mustang is, and that we have to deliver that for the customer. We can’t let the customer down.”
I also asked Marcy if she’d faced any challenges as a woman engineer, especially in the very male-dominated automotive industry, and her answer is one that every woman and every girl should take to heart.
“I think people feed a little bit off of what you believe your own capabilities are, and so, I’ve never thought of myself differently because I’m a woman. I don’t think about myself as a woman in the automotive industry. I think about myself as an engineer in the automotive industry.”
She says that in her 28-year career, she has always focused on simply doing the best job possible and that the quality of her work overcomes the objections or stereotypes of others. “Be great at your job. Always put forth your best effort and your best foot, have the best interests of the customers at heart, and let that guide your driving force,” she said. “In the end, people see what you’re capable of.”
As to her decision to become an engineer, she gives a lot of the credit to her mom in helping guide her choice. “I was always good at math and science and was lucky enough to have a mother who was very influential and who was also, I think, very ahead of her time,” she says. “She spent a lot of time looking at actually what do I want out of a position and it kept coming back to engineering.”
Marcy also had this last piece of advice for girls looking to pursue careers in STEM fields:
“The main thing is to be true to yourself. And no matter what situations or decisions you’re facing, it’s always okay to be exactly who you are. You should celebrate that and not try to fit into a world that you think you need to somehow conform to to be part of the culture of that group.”