Future Friday: TOYOTA Encourages WBEs to “Challenge the Impossible” at Two Business Development & Networking Events

Note from the editor: This column, Future Fridays, features guest blog posts from WBENC’s America’s Top Corporations for Women’s Business Enterprises as they share insights on the future of doing business with them and their industry. 

Committed to Engaging More WBEs

Diversity and inclusion are top priorities at TOYOTA, from the company’s top executives, across management at their North American manufacturing and operational facilities, and with each employee. TOYOTA’s Supplier Diversity processes are based upon the company’s commitment to having a supply base which reflects the diversity of TOYOTA’s team members, customers, and the communities in which the company is present.

This inclusive perspective --- along with the undeniable power of women as purchasing decision-makers and business owners --- compelled the company to formalize WBE spend targets with their Tier I and Tier II Suppliers several years ago. Through a strategic partnership with WBENC, TOYOTA continues to build connections with WBEs in communities across North America. As a result, TOYOTA is actively taking steps to kaizen its processes to support potential opportunities for WBE engagement in their supplier base.


An important way TOYOTA facilitates connections between WBEs and real business opportunities with their company is through hosting two annual networking and business development conferences --- Power of Exchange (POE) and Opportunity Exchange (OE).

Meaningful Connections + Dynamic Insight

Whether you’re a WBE just launching your company, in growth mode, or a veteran industry leader, you’ll be in good company when you attend POE and OE events. For nearly 30 years, OE has helped certified diverse companies explore real opportunities with TOYOTA’s Direct and Plant Indirect Tier I Suppliers. While POE is only in its 4th year of existence, it’s also built a solid reputation for providing a quality environment for building and cultivating relationships with current Corporate Indirect TOYOTA Tier I suppliers.

These two events include seminars, a keynote luncheon and messages from TOYOTA executives. In addition, attendees can visit the tradeshow floor to meet with Toyota Tier I Suppliers as well as diversity procurement team members.

Two Cities. Two Dates. One Common Theme.

POE and OE share an important purpose --- connecting TOYOTA Tier I Suppliers with a vast amount of diverse businesses. Why the two locations? TOYOTA’s North American Headquarters and R&D headquarters are in different areas of the country, so they center the events closest to those locations.

To emphasize the commonalities between the two events, TOYOTA brands them under the same theme umbrella, which for 2018 is “Challenge the Impossible, Together.” The phrase reinforces the company’s dedication to continuous improvement, innovation, and to always finding a better way --- especially through partnerships with their suppliers.

If you missed out on attending POE in August, you have plenty of time to make plans to attend OE later this year.

Technology to Connect Before, During, and After the Events

Because innovation is an integral part of working with and for TOYOTA, it’s only natural that the company engages a range of technological resources to help diverse entrepreneurs and Tier I Suppliers stay connected to details about POE and OE before the event until after the last business card is exchanged on the tradeshow floor.

  • A mobile app places agenda, detailed seminar information, maps, and speaker bios at your fingertips. Plus, you’ll be able to research prospective partners in need of specific products and services through the app’s Matchup Reports feature. To download the free app, search “TOYOTA Exchanges” in your device’s app store.

  • Event details are also available online at www.onetoyotasupplerdiversity.com

  • Follow and contribute to the POE and OE conversation through these social channels:

  •  Attendees are also encouraged to share their success stories through their own social media platforms with these event-focused hashtags:

    • Power of Exchange: #TOYOTAPOE and #BecauseofPOE

    • Opportunity Exchange: #TOYOTAOE and #BecauseofOE

Women Delivering Keynotes in 2018

TOYOTA invited two dynamic women as keynote speakers for these events in 2018. At the POE in August, the luncheon address was presented by Amy Purdy, recognized as America’s most decorated Paralympic snowboarder. Her stories of facing challenges head-on and overcoming seemingly impossible challenges were inspirational.

At OE in November, TOYOTA will welcome Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, the United States Marine Corps’ first African American female pilot and now successful entrepreneur. Through her “Zero to Breakthrough™ Success Model,” FlyGirl is following her passion for helping others create success. You won’t want to miss her energy-filled presentation!

How You Can Attend

WBEs and other diverse-owned companies are invited to attend these TOYOTA events at no charge. While the 2018 Power of Exchange has concluded, you have plenty of time to make plans for the 2018 Opportunity Exchange.

Advance registration is highly recommended, and you can sign up online at OneTOYOTASupplierDiversity.com.

  • TOYOTA Opportunity Exchange
    Date: November 14, 2018
    Location: Novi, Michigan

  • TOYOTA Power of Exchange
    Date: Spring 2019
    Location: Dallas, TX

For more information about Toyota Supplier Diversity and the company’s Power of Exchange and Opportunity Exchange conferences, please visit OneToyotaSupplierDiversity.com.

Posted on October 5, 2018 and filed under Future Friday.