At GM, the Future is Electric—and So are These Women’s Careers

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June 18, 2024 at 1:46AM UTC

With the transformation to an all-electric future underway, there are some exciting technology career opportunities available at General Motors. Fairygodboss connected with some of the incredible women who work there to learn more about how they are disrupting the industry in pursuit of creating a better, safer and more equitable world for everyone. Please meet:

Padma Sundaram

Chief Architect, Autonomous Vehicle Safety and Systems, General Motors

My role is to architect and execute the safety strategy that ensures that the Autonomous Vehicle (AV) operates safely at all times both during development and after production.


Kelly Helfrich  

Electric Vehicle Grid Integration Manager, General Motors

My role is to strategize and deploy GM’s participation in vehicle grid integration programs – leading to lower cost electricity for our Electric Vehicle (EV) drivers, and an increase in percentage of electricity powered by renewable energy sources.


Victoria Greca

Senior Manager – Autonomous Vehicle Validation, General Motors

I lead the team responsible for validating autonomous and active safety components, subsystems and systems for multiple programs at GM. Our team provides an unbiased assessment of product readiness through analysis, simulation, and vehicle exposure.


Fiona Meyer-Teruel 

Lead WBMS Technology Development & BRFM Design Release Engineer

My team designs and launches our wireless management system on the Ultium battery platform and develops test cases and analytical tools to ensure our system meets our high standards.


Geraldine Barnuevo

I drive the strategy for the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) pieces of the puzzle known as sustainability. My team’s job is to define the strategy necessary and the programs required to meet our sustainability vision and goals.

What projects or programs are you currently working on? 

Sundaram: I am currently working on fully autonomous vehicles technologies and advanced driver assistance systems . What excites me the most is the technology development for these vehicles, as much of it is unprecedented. 

Helfrich: I love my role because I get to interact with all brands and all types of EVs that GM offers or is planning. The team I am on is focused on EV charging. There is much to be done to perfect the EV charging experience and educate EV considerers.  

Greca: I’m currently working on the Cruise AV and Cruise Origin, along with ADAS  projects. I enjoy working in the new technology space because it allows me to think creatively and come up with innovative ideas to solve problems. 

Meyer-Teruel: I’m working on GM’s wireless battery management system for high-voltage batteries. It’s been an incredible journey filled with several learnings to take a novel system from concept to production.

Barnuevo: I am working on the strategy and commitments to transform General Motors in the next twenty years. One of the main pillars to become carbon neutral is to eliminate tailpipe emissions in our light duty vehicles by switching to all electric vehicles.

Why is this type of work important to you personally?

Sundaram: Safety is personal to all of us and my work directly enables our vehicles to be designed and built for safe operation at all times.

Greca: I believe the technology I’m working on now will help make the world safer while enhancing customer’s experience. Imagine how wonderful a drive where we can sit back in a fully autonomous vehicle, catch up on your favorite book or read emails prior to work would be?

Helfrich: The reason I joined GM was because of its clear dedication to electric vehicles. EVs represent rich opportunities in not only the environmental aspects of zero tailpipe emissions, but also in their ability to be intelligently managed and optimized with the electric grid. 

Meyer-Teruel: I’m incredibly excited about how EVs can change the mobility experience, and want to ensure that everyone can drive an EV with their smooth torque profiles, one-pedal driving and regenerative braking features, and ease of charging. 

Barnuevo: Every day that I come to work, I think about the small, incremental things that my team is working on that will impact the future for generations to come. I have the privilege to lead the change in the auto industry around sustainability and the fight against climate change. 

What advice do you have for other women who are beginning a career in tech?

Sundaram: My advice to women is to follow your heart without hesitation or fear. Be yourself and learn to embrace the unknown. Don’t be afraid to fail. Growth only happens when we get outside our comfort zone.

Greca: My advice is to get involved and embrace the challenges. It’s okay to fail, that’s how we all learn. When I was asked to validate the first Super Cruise driver assistance program on the Cadillac CT6, I didn’t know what to do, but I embraced the challenge. 

Helfrich: This goes for anyone looking to build a career in any line of work: always be a student of the industry, whether it be finance, technology, manufacturing, etc. Any time you can, get out there and test things first-hand; there is no substitute for that.

Meyer-Teruel: Challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone or experiences and try something new. I didn’t have any experience with wireless hardware three years ago, but I’m now very comfortable in designing and implementing complex wireless control systems. 

Barnuevo: Dream big and pursue your dreams. Positive change is possible when you can share a compelling vision and motivate people. Companies with a strong sustainability culture attract and retain great talent who desire a sense of purpose and to contribute to a greater good.

As these women’s stories attest, GM not only offers incredible career opportunities for women but is also committed to fostering their development. Within GM there are nearly a dozen different employee resource groups and a formal mentorship program that creates communities of support and professional development opportunities to help women succeed. Externally, GM invests in the next generation of female tech talent through its partnerships with Black Girls Who Code, The Girl Scouts and various STEM programs. 


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