Being a Strong Leader

As a technologist for most of her 17 years at Toyota, Beth Comenat worked hard, and often behind the scenes, but wanted more out of her career. She had an “a-ha” moment when she learned from 360-degree evaluations that her peers, managers and direct reports perceived her as a high performer who was quiet, would often hide behind others, and deflect credit.

Seeing a potential leader who needed a little encouragement and development, Toyota Financial Services (TFS) selected Beth as one of 32 Toyota women leaders to attend the 2017 Women in Leadership (WIL) Institute in Dallas. The four-day event attracts women leaders from Fortune 1000 companies, nonprofits and global government agencies.

Beth and her fellow WIL participants received education and training on five essential requirements for being a strong leader: Being clear, bold, connected, influential and inspiring. The Toyota delegation met two hours every evening to discuss what they learned during that day’s sessions and the challenges they faced at work. Following the conclusion of the program, participants leveraged monthly follow-up webinars and an individual coaching session to review a career action plan mapped out during the program.

Since her WIL experience, Beth, who now works in Marketing, has renewed her commitment to lending a hand to other aspiring leaders within and outside of Toyota — she recently was selected to be a mentor in Toyota’s Diverse Business Mentorship Program for women/minority business enterprises. “Often, people recognize their own value and opportunities available to them, but they don’t see the value of others and their potential opportunities,” says Beth. “Seeing how others can contribute is a big part of leadership — when they shine, you shine.”

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