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Advancing Women Leaders: A Q&A with Millie Marshall
In this multi-part blog series, the 2018 Executive Impact Award recipients will be sharing anecdotes and advice about advancing women leaders, in their own words. If you missed the latest installment, find it here to learn why Maureen MacInnis of Dentsply Sirona believes the key to advancing women leaders is in creating opportunities and opening doors for talented women.
In today’s post, Millie Marshall, President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, discusses the importance of embracing change, and how meaningful mentorships with women leaders foster a sense of personal and professional pride for mentee and mentor alike.
Millie, along with the other Executive Impact Award recipients, will be participating in a panel featuring this year’s award recipients at Linkage’s Women in Leadership Institute™ on November 14, 2018 in Phoenix, AZ. Institute co-chair and Wall Street Veteran Carla Harris will moderate the panel. This short video captures the impact of this unique immersive leadership experience.
Tell us a little bit about your role at your company.
As President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, I am responsible for all production and administrative functions. My role is to eliminate any barriers that may hinder anyone from being the best they can be. We have over 6,000 team members who proudly build the Highlander, Sequoia and Sienna. We always strive to be the best globally, building safe products with the highest quality, in a learning, caring and inclusive environment.
Who has had the greatest influence on you and why?
My dad was always open to change and looked at change from a positive viewpoint. My parents and older brother lived in Akron, OH before I was born. During a trip down to Florida, my parents stopped in Lexington, KY and loved the area. After returning to Ohio, my father immediately resigned from his job and moved my mother and older brother to Lexington. At the time, he didn’t have a job lined up or a house to live in, but he made the most of it. Because of his influence, I have tried to embrace change throughout my career.
What are you most proud of in your work advancing women leaders and why?
Developing women leaders is one of the things I am most proud of in my career. I’ve had the pleasure of mentoring a lot of women. Every time they are successful, I feel a deep sense of pride. That’s really what I gain from the experience. Watching others grow, experiencing and celebrating their successes along with them, is extremely fulfilling. I believe I get more out of the mentor/mentee relationships than the actual mentee.
What piece of advice can you share to someone who is interested in moving this work forward in their organization?
Be open and embrace change. Flexibility is the key with any type of career. If you are interested in a career versus a job, make sure you choose the right significant other who will support your career. You will have many failures—make sure you reflect on what you would do different and get right back up and try again. Be open to learning new things—life is a journey, not a destination. Always be prepared with a 30-second elevator speech on what you are working on and what you have accomplished—you never know when you might need it. Don’t be afraid to start your impossible!
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