“Being Latina has helped me be very adaptable to other cultures and that
helps you connect with people from other countries,” O’Hara adds. “I’ve worked
with people in Brazil, India, China, and Mexico.”
Her bilingual skills, coupled with her results-driven mindset, have allowed
her to move up the ranks and earned her international experience launching
vehicles at assembly plants in Mexico, Brazil, and the U.S.
Director, Head of MOPAR Finance North America, Stellantis
Maria Zehnder came to the United States from Buenos Aires, Argentina, when she
was only six years old. She began school without speaking English and had to play
Eventually, she mastered the language, developed friendships, and realized
the things that were once obstacles in her life were newfound successes.
These experiences lit a fire within her and from then on she has loved taking on
“I pushed myself and never let anyone stand in my way,” Zehnder says.
That motivation led her to move up the career ladder and to where she is now
as Finance Executive at Stellantis, where she is responsible for MOPAR Finance in
In this role, she is responsible for all financial matters related to MOPAR
operations. This includes anything from supply chain to sales and marketing, to
customer care and other functions like service contracts, and connected services.
She landed her first head role when she was 35 years old. She found herself
in a predominantly male-dominated industry and having to lead a seasoned staff.
She knew people would judge her for her age and lack of experience but she
recognized she earned her place and others soon realized that as well.
“At the end of the day, my actions speak louder than words. Never
underestimate the Latina fire in us,” Zehnder explains.
She has brought transformative change to the company by opening
communication lines and prioritizing transparency. Her staff knows she listens and
cares and is open to their feedback.
Zehnder also makes her mark working to nurture future leaders.
Executive Vice President of Global Operations and Customer
Experience, Ford Motor Credit Company
Sylvia Veitia’s bright legacy began when her family left Cuba for Puerto Rico during
the Cuban Revolution. Her parents took only what they could fit into a suitcase to
start a new life on the island. Growing up, Veitia knew well of the sacrifices her
parents made so she and her sister could have prosperous futures.
Today, Veitia is Executive Vice President of Global Operations and Customer
Experience at Ford Motor Credit Company.
In this role, she leads a worldwide team of 4,000 employees, oversees the global
financial services provider’s business and call centers, dealer and customer
experiences, and operations.
She made the global process more efficient by redesigning and optimizing
operations for Ford Credit, which has $146 billion in managed receivables.
“I deal with everything from a customer calling to extend a payment on a loan
to a dealer who needs help with some business process or a fleet operator with 100
vehicles who needs help with a billing statement,” Veitia explains.
Her brilliance stems from her Latina roots and her parents, who instilled in her
the values of education, professional opportunity, inclusion and the family unit.
“I grew up with such a value of education, of challenge and commitment, that I
thrive and really enjoy big, complex problems. That’s part of what I look for in
my career,” Veitia says.
Veitia also serves as president and chair of the Global Ford Hispanic Network
employee resource group. “It’s an enormous privilege and great responsibility to lead
this group,” she says.
LATINAStyle V ol. 27, No. 1, 2021 www.latinastyle.com 21