In The Driver’s Seat
Anna Dresen Schneider ’82 steers Volkswagen’s lobbying efforts
by Tom Kertscher

As an undergraduate, Anna Dresen Schneider ’82 thought she was on her way to becoming a physician — that is, until she sat down with her adviser and reviewed her transcript. She was earning A’s in international law, political science and related courses. But her grades were “not so great in organic chemistry” and the like, she recalls. Schneider redirected her studies, majoring in international relations, later earning a master’s in international affairs from Columbia University.

Anna Dresen Schneider ’82 keeps Volkswagen’s wheels turning.
Photo: Chris Stahl
Anna Dresen Schneider ’82 keeps Volkswagen’s wheels turning.

After serving as an executive for Toyota Motor North America and Mitsubishi Motors North America, Schneider now is the senior vice president for industry-government relations at Volkswagen Group of America, based in Washington, D.C.

“It’s unbelievable what an iconic brand it is. I can’t tell you how many people on Capitol Hill, in the administration, in my daily interactions with people in the industry and elsewhere, say their first car was a Volkswagen,” says Schneider, who owns three Volkswagens.

Outside her work as a lobbyist, Schneider relishes her role as vice chair of the board of directors of the Women’s Congressional Policy Institute, a nonpartisan group that aims to bring women policymakers together across party lines to advance issues of importance to women and their families.

Schneider says her proudest career achievements are not tied to her work on Capitol Hill. Devising and leading a campaign among the company’s 8,000 U.S. employees to not text and drive “was a low-budget but effective campaign to keep people safe,” she says. Schneider also helps steer Volkswagen’s support of the Kennedy Center’s VSA (Very Special Artists) program, a juried art competition that provides arts and education opportunities for young people with disabilities. “I always judge our success by the number of tissues I go through as we’re presenting the awards to the artists,” she says.