Teamwork is the byword for one alumna

Jun 17, 2004

Nancy Brown-Johnston '78, shared her insights on teamwork and professional success with students.

"I've learned that being happy as a person is as important as financial or professional success," Nancy Brown-Johnston '78, Director of Global Change Management Network for General Motors.

Brown-Johnston was on campus at the invitation of Student Alumni Council, to talk about her career with General Motors, Saturn and her soon-to-be-published book "The Driving Force," a book about her experiences at Saturn and the lessons she has learned about teamwork in the workplace.

"Teamwork has been my life's avocation," she said, and she has integrated it into her work. "My interest in teamwork started in high school," she added, "I was involved in sports early on - basketball, tennis, volleyball - that is where I first developed my concept of teamwork."

Brown-Johnston carried that concept of teamwork with her as she worked first at GM, then in 1987 when she helped launch Saturn, through growing and shutting down Saturn Consulting Services, and finally back to General Motors in the GM University through GM Global Human Resources.

 In describing her current position Brown-Johnston said "I help people make the biggest contribution they can in the organizations they work for. GM is aware of their competitor's strength and they are currently looking at improving internal operations to maintain their status worldwide. Part of my job is to create a network around the world to implement change wisely."

Originally from Youngstown, Penn., Brown-Johnston witnessed first-hand the effects of the steel mills closing on her community. "I saw what that did to the people and to the community, it made me want to pay attention to change and what impacts and influences it," she said.

In addition to her work at GM and authoring a book, Brown-Johnston is also president of Triple Win, a global consulting company.

Her recommendation to students was "look for the recurring themes in your life. Find what interests you, otherwise, if you don't like what you're doing it makes it tougher for you to succeed."

While at Kettering/GMI, Brown-Johnston helped found Alpha Sigma Alpha as a member of the Beta Sigma pledge class, and was a member of the Robots Society.

Written by Dawn Hibbard
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