Lois Elizabeth Bingham possesses an unabashed belief that one must seek excellence in everything they do, and be willing to make sacrifices along the way. Success for Bingham is defined by the impact one makes in life and by one’s willingness and ability to use their education, skills and talents to make a difference. This is so because of the family dynamic in which she was raised. Bingham’s mother was supportive and always urged young Lois to reach for the top.
Her mother shared virtues of a sound education, showed her by example what hard work and faith can accomplish, and always found time to contribute to her community. Bingham took those lessons to heart. She exhibited such a high educational aptitude that she was double promoted, attended the district’s “application only” magnet schools, and eventually attended the University of Pennsylvania.
In spite of living in a rugged part of Detroit early in life, that environment helped her develop skills that she still utilizes today.
“That environment makes you a survivalist,” she said. “There are not many challenges in the world that would make me feel like I can’t deal with it. Sure, it was a tough neighborhood, but it was one filled with love. Everybody looked out for one another.”
Bingham used the encouragement from her mother and her own intestinal fortitude to help fuel her pursuit of a law career. After earning her degree from Temple University School of Law, she worked as an associate for Butzel Long, one of Michigan’s premier law firms, where she became the first female lawyer in the firm’s corporate, transactional and finance practice groups. She then moved on to R.L. Polk & Co., a world leader in automotive data and marketing solutions. There, Bingham developed her love for international business, overseeing the legal aspects of Polk’s global activities, and became the company’s first ever African American woman vice president.
In 2006 she joined Yazaki North America, Incl. and was promoted in 2010 to serve as its vice president, general counsel and secretary. She was also asked in 2012 to become the chief compliance officer. In these combined roles, she oversees the legal department operations and provision of legal services for Yazaki companies representing more than 40,000 employees in North and Central America, is responsible for corporate governance and compliance, and is a key contributor in enterprise risk management.
Yazaki produces wire harnesses, power distribution and control products, connectors and other components for major automotive manufacturers around the world.
“Some people think the auto industry is boring and that it’s just about manufacturing vehicles,” Bingham said, “but this is a very vibrant industry. In addition to manufacturing, there’s also sophisticated financial transactions, HR issues, legal issues, marketing concepts. There are a lot of different things that are required in order to make this industry work.”
Whatever level of success Bingham attains, there is one person she points to as the reason why.
“My mother is the most impactful person in my life, she said. She’s been my rock, and she’s allowed me to reach the level I’ve reached. I had the best upbringing anybody could ever have.”
Bingham is married and has two sons.