Skip to Content
Alumni profile

Grace Overlander, SM ’08, MBA ’08

Industry-tested, Tesla-approved.
August 23, 2016

Unlike most automotive manufacturers, Tesla has no status quo. That’s good news for Grace Overlander, who believes that we can always make things better. “I like having to figure things out on the fly,” she says. ­Overlander started working at Tesla two years ago as a program manager launching new battery products. She was promoted within the year and is now in charge of producing and introducing new powertrain products.

Tesla’s goal is to continue to improve the product and the launch process every time, says Overlander: “Change at Tesla is fast and furious. We have a product that we want to stick around for a long time, and we’re focused on always continuously improving it.”

Overlander previously worked at Eaton, at Goodrich, and then, after finishing MIT’s dual-degree Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) program, at General Motors, where she started as a manufacturing floor supervisor. But it wasn’t until she moved to the Volt battery team that she discovered her passion for energy and the fast-paced nature of product development—both of which led her to her current role at Tesla.

As a manager of new product introduction, ­Overlander works specifically on developing high-voltage batteries, drive units, and power electronics, and she was responsible for the initial builds of Tesla Energy, which is developing products for home and industrial energy storage. “At Tesla we’re still really pushing the envelope and trying to create something that’s better than anything else that’s been created before,” she says.

In her time at Tesla, Overlander has successfully launched more than a dozen products. She is also devoted to helping others flourish in their careers. She has been recognized for mentorship in her work with her team at Tesla, with MIT students through the LGO program, and with young girls in the community through STEM programs. She recently received the Business Leadership Award at the 2015 C3E (Clean Energy, Education, and Empowerment) Initiative’s Women in Clean Energy Symposium, an event that was cohosted by the MIT Energy Initiative and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Overlander and her family—her husband, Marshall, and three children under five—relocated to California so she could pursue the opportunity at Tesla. But she feels right at home in the Golden State, where she works with a strong contingent of MIT alumni—including the one who originally recruited her for the role.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

conceptual illustration of a heart with an arrow going in on one side and a cursor coming out on the other
conceptual illustration of a heart with an arrow going in on one side and a cursor coming out on the other

Forget dating apps: Here’s how the net’s newest matchmakers help you find love

Fed up with apps, people looking for romance are finding inspiration on Twitter, TikTok—and even email newsletters.

computation concept
computation concept

How AI is reinventing what computers are

Three key ways artificial intelligence is changing what it means to compute.

still from Embodied Intelligence video
still from Embodied Intelligence video

These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems

They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.

We reviewed three at-home covid tests. The results were mixed.

Over-the-counter coronavirus tests are finally available in the US. Some are more accurate and easier to use than others.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.