During the mid-90s, Whitman was tapped to lead a florist chain known commonly today as FTD Group. In the end, she quit, telling investors that the company simply wasn't fixable.
Analysts have compared her role at FTD with the responsibilities she would inherit if she wins the California gubernatorial election. Antiquated fiscal systems, a fragmented leadership, budget woes, and competitive disadvantages all face the next Governor.
At the time that Whitman joined the flower company, job cutbacks had decimated morale and the company faced stiff competition. In her race for Governor, Whitman has pledged to cut government jobs and spending. But she certainly hasn't curbed spending in her campaign, which has passed $140 million of her own money.
Former co-workers say that Whitman was unemotional and remained an outsider, never really getting close to anyone at the company. She also spent a lot of time working remotely, avoiding the Detroit headquarters when she could.
Several conservative candidates in this election have claimed that their business expertise qualifies them for public office. Among them is Carly Fiorina, who offshored thousands of jobs as CEO of Hewlett-Packard.