What do hundreds of high-energy, intelligent and talented professional women intent on challenging what’s possible and changing the world look like? Toyota North American Women’s Conference (NAWC).
NAWC is a collaborative effort that was first envisioned by Renee Robertson, General Manager of Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky, manufacturing plant. She came up with the idea of bringing together high-potential Toyota women leaders to network and learn from one another during one of her many trips as an Accounting and Finance executive traveling between Toyota’s manufacturing plant in Erlanger, Kentucky, and Toyota’s Sales headquarters in California. She calls NAWC a “grassroots movement” that continues to grow in size and influence every year.
The NAWC has sprouted from 70 attendees at its inaugural event in 2011 to 325 women in 2017. The planning and execution of the conference are carried out by a small army of approximately 20 dedicated and inspired Toyota women who juggle their conference duties with their “day jobs.”
In developing the conference program, Renee and the planning team make certain to create a balance between education and networking. The 2017 conference in Washington, D.C., featured sharing and insights from Toyota senior executives and breakout discussions on topics including the politics of strategic networking, establishing your presence, public policy, effective communications and sponsorship. Equally as important to the attendees as the educational experience are the relationships they forge at the event and take back home with them. NAWC has made it easier to maintain those relationships by offering a mobile app through which attendees can stay in touch.
What excites Renee most about the NAWC experience is that attendees leave, not just focused on their own career prospects but on applying what they’ve learned and who they met to help other women become leaders.
NAWC works to ensure that its leadership learning and networking opportunities are available to a vast pool of Toyota women — every year, an average of 60 percent of NAWC participants are first-time attendees.