The Importance of Building Relationships, Mentorship and More: From a Chief Human Resources Officer

Sponsored by Michelin

Felicia Sanders

Photo courtesy of Michelin.

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April 12, 2024 at 11:19PM UTC

Women at all levels of Michelin are given opportunities to grow both personally and professionally; they are empowered to own their careers and are supported by their managers with plentiful learning and development opportunities. That’s why so many women at Michelin have grown so much both personally and professionally from their time with the company.

For example, Felicia Sanders, the Chief Human Resources Officer for Michelin North America, Inc. says that she’s learned the value of relationships. During the course of Sanders’ 25 years of experience, she has built all sorts of relationships in roles in engineering, manufacturing management, supply chain, business development and marketing. But it didn’t always come easy to her.

“Looking back on my career, if I could talk to myself at the beginning, I would impress upon me the importance of building relationships,” she says. “There were people in my life that I could have connected to, and I did not take those opportunities. I tried to do everything on my own. It wasn’t until about 10 years into my career and another company later that I recognized the importance of nurturing those relationships.”

We caught up with Sanders to hear about some of her other coveted advice as a leader. Here’s what she tells Fairygodboss.

How would you describe your leadership style?

To me, leadership is a culmination of vision, motivation and behavior — they are really the guiding principles by which we lead others. I would describe my leadership style as a servant motivator. It absolutely invigorates me to collect a team, motivate them to reach their full potential and then see them win. At the same time, I am completely inspired by the energy of that team, and so I live to serve others and help them meet their full potential. 

What does it mean to you to be the first female Chief Human Resources Officer at Michelin — both personally and professionally?

To be the first female chief human resources officer at Michelin is both energizing as well as humbling. On the personal side, I have been a trail-blazer the majority of my career. I have had an opportunity to serve as the first, whether it was the first female or the first African American, in many roles and in many different departments. On the professional side, I am absolutely excited to be able to have this platform to empower women both internally at Michelin and externally. 

How do you intend to use your role to help bring up other women behind you? How do you build time into your schedule for mentorship?

I personally believe that mentorship is extremely important. I mentor several professionals, male and female. These professionals are mature in their career or they are at the early stages of their career. Having an organic relationship and someone to connect with to help you navigate your career is extremely important. So, I intend to use this platform as a way to place an emphasis on the development of these organic relationships. I think that this will help us attract, retain and even hire top talent, including top female talent. I strongly believe that this will help us unlock the potential of many of our employees. 

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in the energy of other people. There is nothing like being able to pull a team together with a common purpose, helping them meet their potential and seeing them win; it is a feeling like no other. I am inspired by the energy that that brings, which helps me be a great motivator and, in turn, push my team to achieve the impossible. I am truly inspired by other people.

How do you spend your time when you are not working?

In my spare time, my family and I love sports. Whether it is college or professional football or basketball, such as March Madness, we thoroughly enjoy sports. In fact, we have rivalries inside our household. We also enjoy the performing arts, such as Broadway shows, the American Ballet Theater and Alvin Ailey. We like to travel and either travel internationally or domestically to see new things. It is on my bucket list to see all the wonders of the world. Most importantly, I enjoy spending time with friends.


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