Detroit drive, worldly ambition

As a pitcher for Saginaw Valley State University’s softball team, Rebecca Harris-Burns was accustomed to sizing up the playing field and its athletes before delivering the next pitch. Being a collegiate athlete taught her lessons in the power of boldness and leading a talented team toward a common goal. The wrong move could cost her team the game, after all.

It’s been three decades since her time on the SVSU field, and Harris-Burns still has that keen sense of her surroundings and the ability to deliver the right pitch — albeit now in the business world. Joining General Motors in 1992 as a first-line supervisor, she made her way from manufacturing to communications, where she recognized the growing role of social media in connecting customers with companies. Together with her team, Rebecca approached leadership with an idea. In 2013, the automotive giant’s Social Center of Expertise was founded, with Harris-Burns as its leader.

The role puts Harris-Burns in charge of more than 450 global GM social media channels and 800 social media-savvy employees whose job involves interacting with customers and the general public through accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to name a few.

Harris-Burns, who received a bachelor’s degree in communication from SVSU in 1990, discussed her work, passions and experience with REFLECTIONS editor Justin Engel. This was no normal Q&A sit-down. Instead, the interview took place in one of the environments where Harris-Burns has demonstrated an acute awareness: Twitter.

Here is that Twitter interview, collected via Storify:


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