MotorCities National Heritage Area

Published 3.30.2022 

Kimberly Brycz GM head shot
EDITOR’S NOTE: To close Women’s History Month, we wanted to feature a recent conversation we had with
Kimberly Brycz, GM Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources.  

General Motors named Kimberly Brycz Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources in 2018. She previously served as Executive Director of Global Product Purchasing since 2013. 

Brycz, a native of Detroit, began her GM career in 1983 with the Cadillac Motor Car Division in Detroit. Since then she has held various positions in GM’s Global Purchasing organization, including serving as the Global Purchasing lead for electrical systems, batteries and hybrids and interiors. 

Brycz received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Michigan State University. In 2010 and 2015 she was named one of the 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry by Automotive News. She is an active leader on two of GM’s employee resource groups, serving on the executive boards for the GM Asian Connections and GM Women Group.  

MotorCities recently had the opportunity to interview Brycz about her life and career. Thanks to MotorCities board member Sabin Blake, GM’s Director of North American Business Communications, for his assistance. 

1.             Describe how you got your start in the business world. 

On a Saturday in 1983, I graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Supply Chain Management. That Monday, I started my internship with General Motors in Cadillac’s indirect materials purchasing organization. My first assignment on the job required me to use the negotiating and coordination skills I had learned to plan a 75th anniversary celebration for Cadillac. I was motivated to put what I had just learned throughout school into action, and worked closely with our suppliers and services on a very tight deadline.  

2.             What inspired you to become involved in the automotive industry? 

I’ve always loved cars – especially luxury and sport cars. Growing up, my older brother owned them and it inspired me. In fact, when I was able to purchase my own vehicle, I bought a Chevy Camaro. I was so proud. When I hired in at Cadillac, I was thrilled to be able to drive Cadillac cars often… and it even made my brother a little jealous! 

3.              What were your early days at General Motors like?  

When I hired into Cadillac, I instantly felt like part of the family. From day one, I was working alongside, and learning from, great leaders – including many inspirational women.

4.             Who encouraged you to aspire to achieve at GM? 

I have been fortunate to have many great mentors and leaders throughout my career who have provided me opportunities to grow. Early in my career, there was one particular leader who always saw the best in me. I looked up to her because of her high energy and hard work ethic, but what stood out to me the most was how she would always take the time to help and coach me – regardless of how busy she was. I think of her often, and she inspires me to emulate those characteristics with those that I work with now. The truth is, we’re all busy – but it’s so important we take time for others.

5.             What is the best advice you received from a mentor? 

This advice was from another leader I met early in my career. She was known for “shattering glass ceilings,” and I have carried her advice with me ever since. She told me,

“You have to TRY, to see where your limits are. You might find you don’t have any.” 

Her powerful advice has given me the confidence to try new things.

6.             What more can be done to encourage more females into non-traditional roles? 

First and foremost, we need to encourage our talent to take the chance on themselves. As I said before, if you don’t try, you’ll never know.

Women have the tendency to feel like they need to have every requirement and skill listed on a job description before applying. The reality is, you don’t. You need to be curious and allow your leadership abilities to guide you through ambiguity.

As leaders, we also need to do a better job helping our talent look for relevancy between their past experiences and new opportunities. Often, the skills we acquire throughout our careers can be transferrable across many organizations and roles.

7.             How has the culture evolved at GM for women and with respect to diversity, equity and inclusion since you started? 

At General Motors, we truly are on a mission to become the most inclusive company in the world, and we have made a lot of great progress towards that goal. As part of that, it’s been wonderful to see more women in leadership roles. As an organization, we have been very focused on work-life balance and understanding the challenges that many individuals have with personal and family commitments. I’m proud of the way our company is committed to offering solutions to support our employees and their family’s total wellbeing.  

More than that, our priority to engage the entire ecosystem at GM in DEI continues, by building an internal culture of inclusivity where employees can show up as their authentic selves. By leading with inclusion, we will reach our DEI goals while influencing change inside and outside our company.

8.             Discuss how you have risen to your current position? 

I’ve always chased experiences, never a promotion. For me, it’s about looking for places I can learn, grow and ultimately add value to the company. I spent the majority of my career in our global purchasing and supply chain organization, and had an incredibly diverse experience there. There was never a time where I didn’t feel like I was learning and growing. 

Working in Human Resources was never on my radar, but four years ago, I fortunately had a leader help me take a step back and really look at how my previous experiences were relevant and would complement the organization’s goals.  It wasn’t long before it became abundantly clear that I would humbly learn and enjoy leading this function. It’s been an amazing learning experience and I have thoroughly enjoyed growing and innovating with my team.

9.             Have you been involved as a mentor in your workplace? 

Yes, absolutely. I’ve had the privilege of mentoring many men and women throughout my career. I learn from them just as much as they learn from me. It’s a true testament to the power of mentoring.

10.        What do you see as the most important value in a mentoring program? 

The ability to create a long-lasting and supportive network. You get the opportunity to know one another on a more personal level, make connections and form meaningful relationships.

11.        General Motors has 11 employee resource groups (ERGs). How have you been involved and can you talk about that work and the goals for those groups? 

Our ERGs are voluntary, employee-led groups that serve as a resource for members by fostering a diverse, inclusive workplace that aligns with our vision of becoming the most inclusive company in the world. Each ERG has a business plan tied to talent acquisition, talent development, community outreach and business support. 

Over the past several years I have had the privilege of serving in leadership and mentor capacities for ERGs such as GM Women and GM Asian connections. I am fortunate to still maintain many of the relationships that I developed through those experiences today. 

12.        Of all your accomplishments both at GM and in the community, what are you most proud of? 

I’ve been with our company for almost 40 years, and I am undoubtedly the proudest of, and most grateful for, the experiences and relationships I have built along the way. The most rewarding part of my job is when I get to hear from employees and know that the work we are doing is positively impacting their career aspirations as well as their family needs. 

13.        As you look to the future of the auto industry, what advice would you give to women looking for a career there? 

At General Motors, we are transforming from an automaker, to a platform innovator. This means that the opportunities are endless to find an experience that matches your aspirations and helps you fulfill your purpose. Take the chance on yourself. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.