As a winner of the 2016 Women of Color Technology All-Star Award, Myrlene Gelibert-Bush has proven she has what it takes to stand out in the world of manufacturing.
Her superiors say, “as a natural coach and mentor, Myrlene is always willing to share her knowledge and experiences. If there isn’t a solution to a problem, you can count on Myrlene to find one.”
In her 28 years with the company, Myrlene has not only served as the company’s first African-American female plant manager, but her many other hats have included: Manufacturing Lead for several programs including “Recruit, Retain and Develop,” Convergence and the Business Continuity Management Team as well as a board member of FCAAN – Fiat Chrysler African American Network.
With an eye toward developing the next generation of manufacturing leadership, Myrlene co-founded the FCA US Manufacturing Leadership Development Program. The two-year rotational program exposes new manufacturing employees to various areas within the organization to help them identify their best fit. In addition, Myrlene helps recruit employees, develops training programs and is passionate about helping others succeed.
Myrlene attributes her success at work and in her personal life to a positive attitude. Her positivity surely played a major role in her biggest battle ever. In 2013, Myrlene was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer and kept working throughout her chemotherapy treatments. She draws her strength from her extremely close family, especially the influence of her mother who emigrated from Haiti and is still very much a part of her everyday life as are the traditions she was raised with.
“Family is part of my morning routine that I can’t live without. My 82-year-old mother still wakes up to see me off in the morning as does my husband. Because of my career in the plants, I am a very early riser. I generally wake up by 4:30 a.m. and line up my activities for the day. I am thankful for the blessings that have been bestowed upon me, my family, friends and home.”
“We’re all leaders. Regardless of what role you play. Whether it’s inside or outside of FCA US, there are opportunities where each of us can step up and become leaders. I think a lot of my success has stemmed from being true to me. I know the things I enjoy doing. I try to find those links in the positions that I accept and if those links don’t exist, I don’t take on that role. It’s hard enough with the hours we work and we make a lot of sacrifices to not do something that you enjoy. When you enjoy something, it’s easy to show the passion. That whole ‘fake it until you make it’ attitude doesn’t work. True leaders do not fake passion.”
“You can easily turn a complainer into a leader of change. We spend a lot of time expecting the answers to come from the top down, but the majority come from the bottom.”
“I’ve been with the Company for 28 years and my favorite positions here are the ones that allow me to help people. I love working with people. In my current role, I get to be at the forefront of the Company’s industrialization projects and engage the employees. I work with them to get them to express their voice and opinions on things that impact the plant. More than likely they know the solutions to the problems and I absolutely love that.”
“To help me overcome cancer, I chose not to wallow. I came back to work even when I was going through chemo. I set up my chemo appointments on Fridays and used my weekend to recover. When my hair started falling out, I wore different wigs, hats and even fedoras. The experience gave me more perspective that life is too short to not live today because tomorrow is not promised. It just solidified my belief that we should live for today.”
Myrlene continues to take on even more roles at FCA US and still wears many hats. But the one hat you won’t see her wearing is her fedora. That’s because for Myrlene, this month marks three years as a cancer survivor.
Click here for more information on breast cancer screening and early detection from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.