Ms. Thompson earned a master's degree from University of Detroit. She began her career with the Chrysler Corporation, and later served as national marketing manager for Toyota's Lexus division.
In 1988, she joined Mazda Motor of America as vice president of marketing, later becoming vice president of sales operations and one of the highest-ranking women in the automotive industry.
In 1994, she was named vice president/general manager of the U.S. Golf Division of Wilson Sporting Goods Company.