Susan Cischke Implements a Ford Corporate Strategy – Ford Exec Seeks Sustainability

    CischkeEducated as an engineer, Cischke is Ford’s chief liaison with global organizations that are seeking solutions to the challenges of sustainability (of mobility, energy, etc.), environmental stewardship and energy independence. She also influences future environmental and safety regulations and assures that Ford meets or exceeds them worldwide.

    She began her automotive career at Chrysler Corporation in 1976.

    Corp!: What’s your formula for success as an executive?
    Cischke: If you can be inclusive and tap all the skills of the people you work with, and recognize other ways than yours to approach an issue, you can do a better job.

    Corp!: What is your biggest challenge?
    Cischke: To give customers what they want, but at the same time make sure we have a world they can live happily in.
    Corp!: Your assignment includes responsibility in areas such as product development, manufacturing, the supplier community, working conditions and human rights. How do you make an impact on all of these?
    Cischke: By working with teams of people with responsibilities in those areas. First, you make sure everybody understands what they need to do. Second, you remain open to new technology. Third, you collaborate on technology with universities and organizations outside the company.
    Corp!: How do you achieve sustainability in product development?
    Cischke: I work closely with Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, global product development. We have just put together a 20-year product development plan.
    Corp!: What is your view of new technologies?
    Cischke: I have been in the auto industry for 31 years. This is the most exciting time because of the uncertainty of what is going to win out as the technology of the future.
    Corp!: Does your job require a lot of travel?
    Cischke: Yes. This fall I’m participating in a meeting of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership in Washington. I’ll also meet in Geneva with the United Nations ECE [Economic Commission for Europe] roundtable on fuel quality. In Shanghai, I will attend a competition highlighting the auto industry’s environmental efforts.
    Corp!: Tell us about your family.
    Cischke: I’m single, but I’m close to five nephews and a niece. All are in college or recently out. I advise them on courses and careers.
    Corp!: You grew up on Detroit’s east side. Did living there influence your decision to work in the auto industry?
    Cischke: Yes. I think our industry is a big part of the lives of most people who grow up here. My uncle worked for Ford. My father was a car salesman.
    Corp!: Why did you decide to become an engineer?
    Cischke: I had a couple of summer jobs at Chrysler. I saw what engineers did, and liked it.
    Corp!: What car is in your driveway?
    Cischke: A Lincoln MKX. At my condo in Florida, I keep a Thunderbird convertible. I love that car.
    Corp!: What is your favorite way to spend free time?
    Cischke: Golfing on a beautiful day.