What Drives Her: Dianne Craig Leads Lincoln Into Its Next Era

Authenticity and passion, and learning from those around her, helped Dianne Craig, president of Lincoln Motor Company, to become the second woman to lead this luxury car brand

Scotty Reiss And Dianne Craig

Balance and Wellness Are Everything, In Cars and Careers

In the male-dominated automotive industry, it’s rare that a car company has a female president. Much less two female presidents, serving in sequence. But that is the rarefied world that Dianne Craig, president of Lincoln Motor Company lives in: She took the helm in late 2022 when Joy Falotico retired.

Dianne’s journey to the top of Lincoln’s leadership is well-earned, and we wanted to know more. So, we sat with her at Lincoln’s HQ in Dearborn, MI, for our podcast.

And she didn’t hold back – on her advice to women who want a career in automotive, her insights in mentoring and leadership, on taking Lincoln into its next era of design and technology, and on taking the reins from Joy – not always an easy job, especially when your predecessor is also your friend.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. The full interview can be heard here.

Related: The 2025 Lincoln Aviator: More Luxury for the Money

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Dianne Craig’s Unlikely Road to the Helm of Lincoln Motors

Scotty: You have spent your whole career at Ford and Lincoln, and now you are the president of the Lincoln Motor Company. Tell us about the journey that brought you to your job now. Sure.

Dianne: Well, where do I begin? I graduated from college. I needed a job, and I accidentally found my passion. I love this business. I love the industry. Ford was hiring, and the rest is history. I mean, it’s it’s crazy. And sometimes I don’t even want to say how long I’ve been here because I know it dates me. But I’ve spent my whole professional life at Ford Motor Company, and I’ll celebrate.

Well, what is it going to be? 37 years coming up. So and it’s never really felt like a job to me because, you know, people say when you love what you do, you don’t feel like you’re really working. And that’s held true. And I’ve had incredible experiences.

And if I thought when I started, I’d have the incredible opportunities I’ve had, including leading this incredible team with this beautiful 100 year old brand, I’d say ‘You’re crazy.

That couldn’t possibly be what could come of my career,’ but it has, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

Related: How Lincoln Created a Sanctuary of Luxury and Elegance in its New SUVs

From Zone Manager to Company President 

Scotty: So you’re not new to Lincoln. What role were you in before becoming president of Lincoln?

Dianne: I was running our International markets group, which basically is the business in Ford Motor Company. That’s everything. That’s not in the Americas or Europe and China. So, I had all the Asian countries with Thailand and the Philippines, Vietnam and South Korea. Certainly, I had our Middle East operations. I had Australia; I had our Africa business. It was incredible.

Scotty: So you started as a zone manager calling on dealers. I will say the dealer world is, you know, a tough one. But that wasn’t the first place that you started with a tough order. You majored in math in college. A very male-dominated area for study. And then you entered a male dominated business. How did you approach that challenge?

Dianne: I loved math. I love math in high school. I actually started out as an engineering major when I began my college career. And I found that I wasn’t really as keen on the engineering side. And I liked math, but I didn’t know what I was going to do with my math degree. And then here I ended up in a marketing sales profession with the skill team I grew up with at Ford.

But, you know, I didn’t think about it that much when I was in college. Looking back, you know, obviously there was not that many females that were in a math curriculum, especially in the engineering space. It was very heavily dominated male. And then when I came to Ford, I have had such incredible male role models that I really never found it to be this big challenge.

I don’t mean to minimize that as much just because I know for other women, it may have been harder, but my journey has been incredibly fulfilling. I’ve had incredible roles, and I’ve had unbelievable role models. Certainly more men in the beginning than I have been fortunate to have more women later in my career. But yeah, you know, you just kind of persevere and do your best to try to grow professionally and learn from others.

Related: The 2024 Lincoln Nautilus Fast Forwards the Future to Now 

The Cabin Of The Lincoln Nautilus

The cabin of the Lincoln Nautilus Reserve Edition. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Leading By Learning

Scotty: Tell me about you as a mentor and as a leader. What’s important to you, and what do you want people to learn from you?

Dianne: You know, this is a male-dominated industry. That continues to be true, certainly not to the extent it is now, which is fantastic. But there have been times that you know, and I’ve learned this from my own journey, where there have been some women that really did struggle and helping them work through some of those challenges. Again, because I got a lot of wisdom. I’ve been around for a long time. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career. We all do. That’s how we learn, and how we grow. I’ve been given the gift of feedback, which is one of the things I learned from, you know, some of my mentors that just take that feedback as a gift.

So it’s all about, to me, giving back and how I can really help, especially because I’ve learned so much from those who helped me along the way.

Taking the Helm From a Friend

Scotty: When you took over this role, you took over for one of the very few women to lead an automotive company, Joy Falotico. What did you learn from Joy?

Dianne: First of all, it [is] such an honor to take on [Joy’s former] role. She is a lovely person, an incredible leader and she’s a great friend. [Joy] and I have known each other for years. I’ve learned so much from her. I learned from watching great leaders. It was a real privilege to take on. She had the role for five years.

And that came with an enormous responsibility. I want to leave the place better than when I found it. But she had worked so hard and she was so passionate about the brand and the team and the dealers just adored her. So, there was the added challenge for me to make sure that I didn’t let her down because she’s meant so much to me in my career.

She is an incredible leader, an incredible human being. And of course, she’s my friend, so it was a real privilege.

Authenticity Leads

The 2025 Lincoln Aviator In Pearl White With Jet Black Accents

The 2025 Lincoln Aviator in pearl white with jet black accents. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Her Vision for Lincoln 

Scotty: What does that look like over the next ten years? How do we capture those millennials to consider Lincoln?

Dianne:  Massaging seats are not a princess thing. They are, I think many times a necessity. And it’s okay to have them. There is more to come with Lincoln in the wellness space. We’re on this journey already with the power of sanctuary and Rejuvenate [a new feature that will be offered in the 2025 Lincoln Nautilus]. It’s a really exciting time for the brand. And, and then of course, these products are how the brand manifests, how we feel right now.

Scotty: Last question: Of the the values and the principles of the Lincoln brand, which do you most identify with?

Dianne: Authenticity. If I may humbly say, I believe I’m authentic, confident, but not too flashy.

Scotty: 400 horsepower gives you confidence!

For more Dianne on being women in the automotive industry, family, kids, and cool features on the new Lincoln Nautilus, check out the full episode, and all our podcasts, here.

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