When Laura Nabozny started in the automotive industry 25 years ago, it was a male-dominated industry. But she kept her head up and disregarded comments from others saying it would be difficult to succeed because it's a "boys club" mentality, said Nabozny, who works in business development at injection molder MMI Engineered Solutions Inc. in Saline, Mich.
"Little did everyone know that when you tell me not to do something, it gives me so much determination to show how it can be done," she said in her Women Breaking the Mold survey. "I feel that I was very successful in a man's arena and broke the mold by using my techniques as a woman to achieve success. I survived all of the downturns in the industry because of my passion for my job and my abilities to build relationships where none existed."
Nabozny said she has many career highlights, but all of them have to do with developing and growing a customer relationship into "a multiple million dollars in sales business unit."
"I feel what I do best is develop new relationships and open new doors," she said. "I love what I do and feel that I have had great success over the 25 years that I have been in this business."
Her father passed away when she was 2 years old, and her mother raised her and her two brothers.
"She is the reason I am the person I am," Nabozny said about her mother. "She guided me in the right direction with a soft push. She exhibited such compassion, strength and determination, and I was bound to take on those characteristics as well."
Nabozny also looks to her boyfriend, who owns a company, as a mentor.
"My boyfriend exhibits dedication, drive, commitment and passion. … Because of him, I know anything is possible," she said.
Nabozny earned her Bachelor of Business Administration from Western Michigan University while working full time and raising a 2-year-old son.
"I worked all day, went to school at night and then did homework until 2 a.m.," she said. "It was a tough time in my life, but those are the times that teach you how strong you really are and that if you want something bad enough, you will do whatever it takes to achieve it."