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“Honestly I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about being a woman in a male industry,” Cynthia Niekamp (MBA ’83) told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (April 27, 2011). “It’s just my life; it’s been my life.” Niekamp, who as a student worked during summer vacations on the production floor at a GM plant in her hometown of Dayton, Ohio, has held senior management positions at GM, TRW, MeadWestvaco, and BorgWarner and currently is a SVP at PPG Industries.

Niekamp, who oversees about 4,000 employees in 18 countries in PPG’s automotive-coatings division, said of her career path, “I always sought challenging environments, and I get a lot of pleasure when people say they want to take that hill, and we take that hill together.” As PPG’s growth surges internationally, it’s overseas where new and different hills are increasingly popping up. As the globe-trotting Niekamp noted, “What it takes to motivate someone in China, Italy, Brazil, or the United States can be very different.”

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Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1983, Section D

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