Fostering Connections

Like many young people early in their career, Equan Tompkins relishes the opportunity to gain exposure to senior leaders, absorbing nuggets of wisdom and career tips while also sharing his perspectives as a young African American. For Equan, those opportunities have presented themselves through his involvement in Young Professionals and the African American Collaborative, two Toyota business partnering groups (BPGs).

“Through BPGs, I’ve had the opportunity to meet Toyota executives, civic leaders and professionals outside of Toyota,” Equan says. “BPGs have enabled me to expand my horizons professionally and personally.”

Through Young Professionals, of which he serves on the Philanthropy Committee, Equan became involved with Junior Achievement, visiting middle schools to provide financial literacy education. At a networking event for the Junior Achievement Young Executive Society, Equan was struck by the bootstraps story of event speaker Craig Hall, a real estate mogul. Equan introduced himself to Hall and his manager and established a relationship with both men who have since provided Equan with valuable advice on how to improve his career path.

Similarly, through the Young Professional speaker series, Equan had the opportunity to hear Pete Carey — Toyota Financial Services Group Vice President of Sales, Marketing, Insurance and Product — speak about professional and personal development and the PIE Methodology for supporting business processes. Afterward, Pete extended a blanket invitation to meet with Young Professional members in small groups or individually.

Perhaps most satisfying to Equan, who works in Toyota Motor North America’s Production Control department, is knowing that he is influencing the influencers. “Pete and other leaders have told me that what they hear from young people has taught them to look at situations differently,” he says. “That makes me feel appreciated and respected.”

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