Punto Final: Latinas in the Automotive Industry, You Can Do It!
By Lismar Berro, Senior Purchasing Manager, Ford Customer Service Division
As a Latina in the STEM field I have had many “firsts” in my career, opportunities where I have been the first woman and the first Latina on a team or in a leadership position. These circumstances come with their own set of challenges. Not just technical or function-specific challenges; but social ones, created by prejudice or bias – like that certain jobs are not for women or Latinos, or that women are not as qualified as men for technical jobs.
In these moments, I always remember my Mom’s words, “If anyone can do it, you can do it.” With a combination of her encouraging words and my own sheer determination, I always get the work done and excel at doing it; thus becoming a trailblazer, like many strong Latinas in the automotive industry, building a path and creating access and opportunities for the next generation of Latinas. However, personal success is not enough to further the progress of Latinos professionally. There is much work to be done in our communities and schools to impact and guide the lives of students and young professionals toward growth and success.
This route towards the betterment of our community is what is at the heart of the Ford Hispanic Network (FHN) employee resource group (ERG). For us at FHN, it’s all about Family. The drive to bring passion, commitment, and improving our communities at Ford Motor Company is the same approach we bring to our families. Founded in 1992, FHN continues to reinvent itself and constantly looks better ways to attract, develop and retain talent at Ford. We accomplish this by supporting the membership through mentoring, professional development programs, networking events and more, while embracing and integrating our Hispanic cultural strengths into the culture of belonging at Ford Motor Company.
The FHN is much more than an employee resource group. The organization is a registered nonprofit that invests in the communities where we work through service and educational outreach. It leads a myriad of initiatives in partnership with schools, professional organizations, members of the community and other Ford ERGs: public parks cleanups; serving food drives; reading to preschoolers; conducting STEAM, robotics and mentoring programs in high schools; and making community investments through scholarships and grants.
I am extremely proud of the contribution and leadership of Latinas in FHN. In the past few years, three out of the six top leadership positions have been occupied by women. The current President and Vice-President of FHN are women and the board has a well-balanced representation in gender and across the Latino diaspora. The quality of all that we do at FHN, the profound care we have for our members and communities, our expansive initiatives and the extraordinary level of energy at the core of our organization is a direct result of our membership. Every day I am thrilled as a strong Latina, along with other members of FHN, to embody the FHN motto: “Ford Hispanic Network, Tu Familia @ Ford.”
Lismar Berro, Senior Purchasing Manager, Ford Customer Service Division, brings strong strategizing skills and expertise in delivering bottom-line contributions through lean execution to her position as senior purchasing manager for Ford Motor Company’s customer service division. In her role since June 2020, Berro is responsible for leading total value management and cost estimating teams in the realization of comprehensive analytics and cost optimization opportunities.