Empowerment

Deborah Manzano Leads Production of Ford's F-150 and Works to Change Workplace Culture

Deborah Manzano manages production of America’s best-selling truck the Ford F-150. She is also changing Ford’s culture amid high-profile sexual harassment allegations.
 
“Having that culture where people are comfortable talking and not thinking there’s gonna be retaliation or singling people out,” she said. “It helps address issues so that we’re not covering things up and letting things fester.”
 
After nearly 25 years at Ford, Manzano was promoted in 2018 to lead F-150 production. She is now one of the highest-ranked women across the company’s 27 North American plants.
 
“Being a female leader and, you know, being about the people, it’s really important to me to make sure we have a respectful working environment and to have a good culture. And it really starts with the leadership,” she said.
 
In recent years, Ford has faced lawsuits and accusations related to discrimination as well as verbal, physical, racial, and sexual harassment. In December 2017, Ford CEO Jim Hackett publicly apologized and said the company has invested in more than 20,00 hours of harassment and discrimination training for employees.
 
Manzano says she enforces a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment and says she has helped to start “speed dialogues” To foster constructive open conversations about workplace behavior.
 
“You want to make is a happy work environment. You want your family to want to come to work, right?” she said. “I want people to be able to say, ‘Hey, I want my kids to work here.’ That’s like, my goal, right?”
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