When Beatris Diaz first joined Toyota 14 years ago, she wanted to find a way to feel more connected to her peers at the large company headquarters. Ultimately, Diaz, a Consumer Insights Manager, found the Toyota Organization for the Development of Latinos, or, TODOS.
“I was really looking for that sense of belonging,” says Diaz. “And I wanted to get to know my fellow Latino team members. Toyota felt so big at the time, but that meant there were so many people I could learn from about how to grow my career.”
A member of a Latino business club in college, Diaz was hoping to find a similar sense of comradery at her new company when she heard about TODOS from a colleague, who told her about a group of Latinos who meet on a regular basis to help develop skills and look for job opportunities. According to Diaz, “After one meeting, I was hooked. I had found a group of people who were passionate about our culture and about doing something good for the community.”
“The Latino culture is very much about family,” she says. “When you meet somebody that shares your passions, you bring them in as part of the family and help them feel comfortable. That’s how we operate at TODOS.”
Helping others get involved
Toyota’s Business Partnering Groups (BPG) are employee-driven networks within Toyota based on shared experiences, offering team members a place to form inclusive communities and foster professional development.
Now in its 20th year, TODOS was Toyota’s first BPG, and the group continues to grow, leveraging the talent and energy of the approximately 1,200 members across seven chapters nationwide.
“There’s still a large percentage of people who find out about the group through word of mouth,” says Diaz. “But I would say since the move to Plano, there’s been much more of a push from an HR perspective to promote the business partnering groups at orientation to get new team members involved earlier.”
This “push” is a prime example of Toyota’s culture of inclusivity founded on its pillar of Respect for People. Peggy Turner, vice president, Guest Retention, Lexus Customer Services, and TODOS Executive Sponsor, sums up the value of the groups this way: “BPGs like TODOS help build inclusion and foster professional development opportunities for our team members. BPGs play an important role in Toyota’s strategy to become the mobility company of choice for attracting and retaining talent, suppliers and customers.”
Beyond helping its members make connections within Toyota, TODOS focuses on hosting volunteer events and creating opportunities for professional development. There are usually two or three events for members each quarter, typically during a lunch period.
“It’s all volunteer-based,” Diaz says. “We have our regular jobs we need to focus on, so we want to make sure that if people decide to spend time with us or support an initiative, that they’re walking away feeling that they’re better because of it.”
In Plano, events include a speaker series and a student mentorship program in the West Dallas area, but each chapter is active in its own community. And while the work varies from chapter to chapter the entire organization meets quarterly to check in and establish consistency across all locations. Plano alone is home to over 500 members; the founding chapter often partners with the smaller affiliates to work on projects and events.
Consumer Insights Manager Beatris Diaz
“Hispanic Heritage Month is huge for all chapters,” says Diaz. “We may not be doing the same activities on an identical schedule, but we try to share those schedules with each other so we can support each other virtually.” Adds Turner, “It’s important to recognize and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month every year to connect with our fellow team members, but this year is very important because of COVID. The TODOS team did a great job in developing an exciting, engaging month of virtual events.”
To adapt to the restrictions brought by the pandemic, the TODOS Board is working hard to maintain the frequency of events and provide extra support during the difficult time.
Embodying continuous improvement
A member of TODOS for more than a decade, Diaz has found it exciting to watch the organization evolve. Each time a new member joins and brings a new perspective, she says the group changes for the better.
“TODOS very much embodies the idea of continuous improvement,” she says, referring to the Toyota Way philosophy. “We are learning from one another all the time. Everybody’s always trying to make things better to bring the most value to our team members.”
That value is a two-way street. “I’ve always been extremely passionate about my culture and my upbringing, but it wasn’t until I started meeting other people that I realized how strong that passion is across Toyota,” explains Diaz. “Our members want that sense of belonging, but they also want to make sure that our culture is seen and understood.”
As TODOS grows in inclusivity, that goal can become a reality. At Toyota, everyone can be like familia.
To learn more about TODOS’ 20th anniversary and Toyota’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, check out this discussion with Peggy Turner, VP Lexus Guest Retention, and Beatris Diaz, Toyota Consumer Insights Manager.