In Step -- Mercedes Felix, general manager of human resources, purchasing and supplier engineering development at Toyota Motor Manufacturing de Guanajuato (TMMGT), speaks to fellow team members in Mexico.
Mercedes Felix, general manager of human resources, purchasing and supplier engineering development at Toyota Motor Manufacturing de Guanajuato (TMMGT), was recently honored for her work with the company.
In March, she received the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Award from the Manufacturing Institute. The award recognizes women who have demonstrated excellence in their careers, from the factory floor to the C-suite.
“It was such an honor to receive this award and represent our Mexican affiliates,” Felix says. “The entire organization shared this and celebrated with me.”
Felix has spent nearly 15 years with the Toyota. She first got involved during college, reviewing Toyota Production System (TPS) case studies, but always wanted to work in manufacturing. Still, as a young woman in Tijuana, Mexico, she wasn’t sure where she’d find the right opportunity. It turns out her timing was perfect.
“In 2004, Toyota started massive recruitment in Tijuana for the full-body production of the Tacoma,” Felix says. “I applied, thinking I didn’t have the experience. But that didn’t stop me. And in the end, my dream came true and I was accepted.”
Felix spent time as a Group Leader and TPS Trainer before transitioning to Human Resources, where she now leads the department for the Guanajuato plant, which is under construction and slated to begin production late next year. Although the bulk of her career has been spent on the production side, she’s dipped her toes into many different business areas – something she credits to Toyota’s commitment to employee development.
“Employee development is just one way we show respect for people,” Felix says. “The Toyota Way, the pillars we have as our foundation – those core principles have been such an inspiration for me as an employee and as a manager. The devotion to continuous improvement and respect for people is what sets the company apart and what makes Toyota special. I’ve witnessed the impact on people – not just on team members, but on their families, too."
Felix credits strong mentors who helped and advised her along the way, and is eager to share her success with young professionals just getting started in their careers.
“Be absolutely fearless,” Felix says. “Be open to experiences and environments that initially may be dominated by men. Be open to embracing a new way of thinking. Find a passion and allow yourself to go on a journey. And it’s OK to make mistakes. Treat them as opportunities to learn, and Start Your Impossible.”
By Kristen Orsborn