Jessica M. Taylor is the external engagement lead for diversity and inclusion at Toyota Motor North America. With more than 10 years in diversity initiatives, education and the nonprofit sector, Taylor manages a variety of diversity initiatives, including talent sourcing, scholarship programming and brand alignment. She also oversees the North American Advisory Councils for all of Toyota’s business partnering groups for LGBTQ, veterans and minority communities.
As a Black woman, what do you consider your superpowers to be?
Discernment, reliability, innovation, faithfulness and service.
What key skills or qualities make you unique as an African American female leader?
I always strive to lead with integrity, while remaining passionate and committed to the work I do and the people I work with. I challenge others to be creative, authentic and accountable. I am also a firm believer in consensus-based decision-making and delegation. It is my belief that in order to be an effective leader, you must also know when you need to follow.
What thoughtful or encouraging piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Life is not a dress rehearsal. You are only here once, do what makes you happy; this is your life. You are right where you are supposed to be. Don’t be so hard on yourself, tomorrow is a new day.
If you could thank any Black woman history maker for her contributions to society, who would it be and why?
Condoleezza Rice. She is the best at what she does; she is unapologetically herself. She demonstrates that African Americans are not monolithic; we can still be Black and supportive of our communities while maintaining a different point of view.