Juanita R. Mitchell

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Vice President, Human Resources, Volvo Cars of North America LLC • Irvine, Calif.

When Juanita Mitchell talks about her career, she always pays homage to her parents. “The most influential person in my achievements was my mother,” says the vice president of human resources at Volvo Cars of North America, who reports to the company’s president and CEO. “She was a great leader of a large family—11 children—with a phenomenal vision for success.” Both her parents emphasized the power of education and struggled to provide all of their children with the opportunity for higher education, she adds.

Born in Louisa, Va., Mitchell has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Virginia State University and a master’s in education from the State University of New York. In honor of her parents, she launched the Louise and Ferdinand Ragland Scholarship Fund at Virginia State to provide financial assistance to underprivileged students.

Following her passion for leadership, she joined Volvo in 1980 as owner relations supervisor, and today serves as a member of the Executive Management Group for the company’s largest global market. A child of the civil right movement, she strives to ensure diversity both at Volvo and in the auto industry itself, directing the Diversity Council for the Premier Automotive Group (Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo Cars, North America). “Growing up during that time, I am compelled to seize every moment to make a difference. This is a part of my personal mission and will-to-succeed.” Parenting her daughter, Allana, and her work in diversity are her most stimulating experiences. She is a member of the Forum for Executive Women and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women of Orange County, Calif., and mentors women to support their career goals.

Her favorite quote: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

—A.B.