Diana Banozic, 39
Vice president product creation and industrial digital, Volvo Cars
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
I began as an information architect at Volvo Cars. Volvo is a big part of my hometown, Gothenburg. After graduation I was happy and proud to get the opportunity to work there. The company’s tangible, cool products have always inspired me.
Your greatest achievement?
It’s all about teamwork. As a leader you need to create the best environment for collaboration. One of our biggest team achievements happened about six years ago when we pulled off a product launch during a tough crisis. Several teams worked around the clock for more than a year. We put together a business task force to solve global and cross-functional challenges that impacted the consumer. We introduced data-driven development to get end-to-end experience, made fact-based decisions and drive improvements. We managed to improve the software download success rate by more than 60 percent. We created a new way of working. Our hard work was recognized when one of our products won the Volvo Cars Technology and Innovation award in 2020.
Born: Gothenburg, Sweden
Languages: Swedish, English, Croatian, basic German
Education: Master’s degree in informatics, University of Boras, Boras, Sweden
What was your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
Sometimes I question myself and my work too much. It’s always good to reflect and improve. However, I’m often not satisfied with what I achieve and then wonder if I could have done things better. Over time I have realized that what I do is good enough. Not everything has to be perfect. It’s important to find time to recharge to deal with daily challenges.
What is your current challenge at work?
I’m working on Volvo’s legacy portfolio within the product creation and industrial division. It needs to be modernized to provide more flexibility and speed. It also has to be able to keep up with consumer demand.
2020-present: Vice president product creation and industrial digital, Volvo Cars, Gothenburg, Sweden
2018-2020: Senior director global commercial operations digital products, Volvo, Gothenburg
2016-2018: Director global customer service digital, Volvo, Gothenburg
2014-2016: Senior IT manager marketing, sales and services, Volvo, Gothenburg
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Be yourself, work hard and respect people. Publisher and business man Malcom S. Forbes once said, “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” These are words I live by.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
This is the best time ever to start. The auto industry couldn’t be more interesting than right now. Mobility is undergoing a major transformation. That’s true for both the environmental and the commercial aspects of the industry, as well as when it comes to digitization.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
It would be the kind of position where I’m needed and I find challenging. It doesn’t have to be the coolest position. However, it has to be somewhere I can contribute something important, complicated and of high value for the company. I would do my best and also have fun with my team.
What do you do to relax?
I like to mix things up. I like Pilates, walking, shopping as well as spending time with my family and friends. During downtime I like to reflect with inspiring quotes.
What is your dream location to live?
It’s not so much about the location for me. I want to be close to my family. That also includes my wider family such as my parents and sister. However, if we would all move close to each other to a new location I think I would like to live in the U.S. or Croatia.
What is your favorite driving song?
That really depends on my mood. I listen to anything that’s in the charts. I also like Croatian songs as well as music that empowers me. One of those songs is Jon Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life.”
What was your favorite road trip and why?
Since I was a child, I have spent every summer in Croatia. I have wonderful memories of traveling through Europe in a Volvo with my family. I’m trying to provide similar great memories for my children. That’s why Croatia will always be my perfect destination for a road trip. However, I also like driving in Florida because I love the climate and shopping. My children like the amusement parks there.
What was your first car?
A metallic gold Volvo S80.
A metallic grey Volvo XC60 plug-in hybrid.
If you were a car, which one would you be?
I would be a fully electric XC40 because it embodies the freedom to move in a personal, sustainable and safe way. If I couldn’t be a Volvo, I would be a Rimac Concept One because this electric supercar has its roots in Croatia.