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TOYOTA shares best practices at European Women in Technology

Inge Meeusen and Tine Slabbinck take the floor in Amsterdam.
24/06/2022
This year, the event took place on 8 & 9 June in Amsterdam, where Toyota had been invited to join as one of the main speakers. Inge Meeusen, Head of Manufacturing, Logistics and Quality Systems at IT&D, and Tine Slabbinck, IT&D Manager, took the floor for the closing speech, to present the overall DE&I journey in Toyota Motor Europe.

European Women in Technology Conference – Women in Tech

European Women in Technology Conference – Women in Tech – is a European gathering of more than 5000 global leaders and decision makers which celebrate the power of resilience by putting the spotlight on people, business and technology driving progression in a changing world.

Main picture, from left to right: Kim Ritzen, Gao Mingji, Lin Jiang, Pru Ngo, Mariana Rojas, Sreeja Sahu, Inge Meeusen, Tine Slabbinck.

Leadership, Inclusive Culture and Diverse Talent

Inge Meeusen started the presentation by sharing Toyota’s global vision towards our DE&I journey. She explained the 3 pillars of our strategy - Leadership, Inclusive Culture and Diverse Talent – and gave concrete examples of the different initiatives implemented recently in each area, such as an inclusive Leadership 360 degrees survey, Diversity & Inclusion Talks with Executives, but also external guests, a personal diversity commitment, International Woman’s day week of events, Europe Diversity Conference, Girl STEM the future program (STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics), and a Mentorship Program developed for women.
“We have defined a clear and ambitious vision… we want Toyota to be the most inclusive and diverse workplace in Toyota globally, where employees feel safe, respected, engaged and able to unleash their full potential. We want to cultivate, embrace, and leverage diversity. We have now built a very strong network of women within Toyota and we lift up each other by supporting each other and celebrating one another successes.”

Inge Meeusen, Head of Manufacturing, Logistics and Quality Systems at IT&D

The start of the transformation journey

Tine Slabbinck shared some insights on the activities IT&D has been running over the past year(s), aiming to enhance Gender Diversity within its Function. She recalled the time she attended this conference for the first time, back in 2018, meeting so many female role models within Technology area. It made her realize that IT&D Function at Toyota was still far behind in terms of Gender Diversity, mainly at management level. That was the start of the transformation journey. Transformation that she brought to life by defining a 3P’s strategy:

 

Be a Pioneer

IT&D launched a few activities that were new to the company, such as creating a personal branding to give insights on who you are, or creating a mentoring program for ladies in IT. Both initiatives proved to have a real positive impact on people, creating new bounds and benefit from these inspiring new relationships.

 

Be Proud

Through some ‘Women IT Breakfasts’, they had the chance to talk, share, and raise self-awareness on their unique values. They also realised that empathy may also be key in our evolution, while it’s not always recognized as a strength.

 

Be a Promoter

Through different initiatives, such as the creation of a Community on Teams, implementation of quarterly newsletters, organization of keynotes with strategic partners, they enhanced the DE&I promotion and awareness within Toyota. A workshop was also dedicated to the ‘power of introverts’, showing that introvert leadership can also be recognised and successful.

“If there’s 1 thing that I would like you to remember from this, it is that you don’t need to be high in the organisation to start initiatives, all you need is a group of passionate and creative people. And don’t forget, lots of small activities can bring big change, all you need is time, patience and resilience.”

Tine Slabbinck, IT&D Manager
Their presentation, themed ‘Together we achieve more’, was very well received by the audience and the feedback they got from different women and stakeholders was very positive. It emphasised on the ‘authenticity’, and the ‘pragmatic & concrete examples’ they shared with the public.
“I was blown away by the authenticity of the presentation of Inge Meeusen and Tine Slabbinck which touched upon introvert leadership, TME’s journey to inclusivity and was full of hands-on advice to inspire us to do the same.”

LinkedIn comment from the conference

Over the past years, Toyota became a front runner in the DE&I & Gender Diversity journey.

Thank you, Inge and Tine, for your commitment, and to everyone who contribute to progress into this direction.