As a Mathematics major at Fredonia in the early 1980s, Dianne (Carson) Craig kept a low-profile, but worked diligently to be successful in the classroom. Fredonia was a good fit for her. The Department of Mathematical Sciences has always been a close-knit group, and Diane thrived in its nurturing, non-competitive environment.
The Hamburg, N.Y., native always liked math but hadn’t chosen a specific career when she received her degree in 1985. But those strong analytical skills she developed would ultimately place her into the driver’s seat, literally and figuratively, of one of the world’s iconic automotive brands.
Earlier this year, she was promoted to Director of U.S. Sales for Ford Motor Co., after leading the company’s Canada division for five years.
“When I got questioned once about what advice would you say to your 21-year-old self back then, what advice you would give yourself, and I would say, ‘Don’t ever think that you can’t accomplish whatever it is you set yourself out to do. Just try to find your passion. It’s tough to do that because you may not know exactly what it is, but find out what it is that you really love to do. Find those courses that you really love to be in, and then that will help you find your passion.”
That passion and Fredonia degree opened the door to an entry-level position with Ford. At the time, Ford was hiring only MBAs, which were becoming all the rage, Diane remembers. “They knew I had a degree in Mathematics from Fredonia, and they said, ‘You know what, we think you’re going to be a good fit,’ and I ended up in sales and marketing.”
Diane climbed the corporate ladder, working in marketing, sales, service and dealer relations in the U.S. before joining Ford-Canada in 2011. She still relies on strategic thinking, problem-solving skills and ability to approach complex situations that she developed at Fredonia.
Diane, who also now has an MBA, was inducted into to the Women’s Transportation Hall of Fame in Buffalo, N.Y., in July, 2017. “Over my 30 years, if I’ve made a teeny, weeny contribution to transportation, that’s great. It makes me very proud and humble,” she said.