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”Dream big, try different things”

Toyota role model’s advice to young girls aspiring to STEM career
As part of its Girls STEM the Future programme, female Toyota role models have been contributing their video messages to Inspiring Girls International’s video hub. Listen to Alison Teasdale, Head of Manufacturing Support share her experience and advice.

My career journey started in Japan

I started my career in Japan as an engineer in mould designing.  When I went, I didn't think I would have the language skills to really succeed in Japan but it would be a great cultural experience. Using drawings as the common language, I could gain good experience making the moulds hands-on. That gave me the grounding for my career later on when I moved to Toyota and started doing more manufacturing activities in the plants.

It’s not just engineering skills

I found that I loved living in a foreign country. That allowed me to learn the language as I worked, and to get the job I have now with Toyota. Key to having a great career within the company is not just the engineering skills, but it's also the communication skills.

Leave paths open

I really enjoy now being part of an organisation that has a global presence and is making a difference in the communities. If I was to restrict myself when I was a young girl into one career or one particular goal, I think I would have been disappointed. I'm glad I left a lot of paths open to see where they took me. This way, I could find exactly what I wanted to do at the time when I wanted to do it. 

Focus on a skill and focus on doing it well

At the beginning, the best advice that I received was to focus on a skill and focus on doing it well. For me that was manufacturing - there is a Japanese word monozukuri, which means the art of making things. I fell in love with it, and that allowed me to have a passion for building things and finding out how things work. This built my repertoire of skills and knowledge, which allowed me to move up into some management positions later on.
“I would like young girls to dream big, but at the same time, try lots of different things. I don't think any of us know where the future is going in terms of technology and new ways of doing things. So, be open to all sorts of assignments and keep some flexibility. Then you can adapt to new challenges as they come along.”
Alison Teasdale, Head of Manufacturing Support, TME