Diversity and inclusion continue to be key components in Toyota’s drive for excellence. In early 2019, Sandra Phillips Rogers was named as the chief diversity officer for Toyota Motor North America. Rogers provides legal services for Toyota’s North America affiliate companies and strategic direction on legal and business issues, while also serving on numerous committees and corporate boards.
She is also a member of Toyota’s Global Leadership Team and provides strategic guidance in areas such as cybersecurity, privacy, government and regulatory investigations, and intellectual property.
Rogers recently spoke with rolling out about how diversity has become a key part of Toyota’s success.
Toyota recently sponsored the National Council of Negro Women’s 2019 Uncommon Height Gala. Why was it important for Toyota to be a part of that event?
We owe a debt of gratitude to the communities where we live and work. And it is a fundamental core value to definitely support our communities and organizations like the NCNW and its rich history. It has a tremendous record of helping women in underserved communities reach their fullest potential.
What were some of the moments that were impactful at the Uncommon Height Gala?
There were so many moments. Deborah Cox singing — I still have chills — and, frankly, Kenny Lattimore’s rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Because in a way, that’s really what we’re all here for. That’s our history. That’s our legacy. But I think the comments of Susan Taylor were just so eloquent for the times in which we’re living in now.
Why is it important for companies and corporations to embrace diversity?
Well, for so many reasons. First of all, it is the thing that we must do to connect with our team members, with our customers and the communities in which we live and work. Number two, diversity and inclusion make us better as a company, and it allows us to unlock innovation and potential. And it really is the thing that I think engages our team members and motivates them to do their best. Finally, we are out there in the communities that are supporting us by buying our products, and we want to strive to have a workplace that reflects our communities and our customer base. We have a lot of opportunities for continuous improvement. We believe that at Toyota we have two fundamental core values: one is respect for people, and the other is continuous improvement.