Felecia Pryor, 45
Executive vice president and chief human resources officer, BorgWarner
Big break: Being hired at BorgWarner, which led her to her current position
Felecia Pryor took an indirect route to the auto industry, but she hasn’t looked back since she arrived.
Pryor graduated from college with a degree in criminal justice. She then received a master’s degree in public administration and started work in the nonprofit sector in her native South Florida with the United Way of Broward County and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County.
But a work trip to the National Black MBA Association conference in Chicago changed her direction.
On a conference shuttle, she met the director of human resources at Ford’s financial arm. The woman gave Pryor a business card and told her to stop by the Ford booth at the conference. Pryor did.
She would work for the automaker, in various departments around the world, for the next 17 years.
“It was a combination of luck and preparation,” Pryor said. “And that’s been my life: when preparation and luck collide, there’s opportunity.”
Such opportunity has taken her to work in eight manufacturing plants in various roles, starting in labor relations and then as an HR manager. In the midst of her blossoming automotive career, Pryor went back to school to get a law degree.
In 2014, one of the biggest opportunities of her career came knocking. She was appointed HR director for Ford’s research and engineering facility in Nanjing, China.
“It was an opportunity to lead and learn outside of my own culture,” she said. “It was the most wonderful opportunity that I’ve had as a career professional, besides being the [chief human resources officer] for BorgWarner.”
In late 2016, Pryor received another international assignment to serve as Ford’s vice president of human resources for ASEAN markets, based in Bangkok.
“Each of those countries has a different culture,” Pryor said of the region. “Being able to shift and adjust and get business done was a real challenge, and it really energized me.”
Pryor later returned to Ford’s U.S. operations in a global talent position, where she was responsible for performance management and the succession plan and development processes for the automaker’s top executives.
Pryor joined BorgWarner in October 2018. Her first assignment was vice president of HR in the supplier’s Morse Systems business unit.
One of Pryor’s career aspirations was to become a chief human resources officer. And she realized that goal in April 2019 when she was promoted to the role at BorgWarner.
“I haven’t seen a challenge yet that makes me not want to tackle it,” Pryor said.
— Jack Walsworth