Day two started off bright and early at 7:30am as we headed off to the Toyota campus to hear from various Toyota team members. Topics ranged from the buying process to community service and Women in the workforce and philanthropy. The first speaker up was Kimberly Gardiner, who engaged the Bloggers by asking us to introduce ourselves and talk about our favorite and least favorite things about the car buying experience. Answers included test driving, negotiating, research, and customization.
Michael Rouse, VP of Philanthropy and Community Affairs for Toyota spoke about the various channels that the car brand gives back to the community. He detailed with the Bloggers Toyota’s commitment to giving back through strategy and execution. I was surprised to learn that Toyota has given away a half a billion dollars to charity since 1991. Another way that they support the community is by providing a 2.5 hour defensive driving program for teens and their parents; with 20,000 participants that have taken part in the program since 2004. The defensive driving program is slated to take place in Lexington, KY, Chicago, IL, and Philly for Fall 2012.
After hearing from David, Kimberly, and Michael… the Bloggers were shuttled off to Toyota’s South Campus for the Ride and Drive. During this time Danyelle and myself teamed up to test drive the Toyota Prius Hybrid Liftback, Camry Hybrid, and the Rav 4. We actually got to film video while test driving the vehicles… check back next week for the individual car experiences complete with Toyota Rep Interviews.
After our afternoon drive we breaked for lunch in the Toyota Employee breakroom where we feasted on sandwiches and spring water while mingling. After lunch we were shuttled back to the Toyota Plaza for panel sessions. During our first panel session we got to hear from three dynamic women: Nancy Fein, Dionne Colvin, and Beena Patel who spoke about diversity and women in the Toyota workplace. I believe Nancy said she has worked with the brand for 25 years, Dionne 23 years, and Beena being the newbie has worked with them for 5 years. The ladies seemed genuinely happy to work at Toyota and each discussed individual experiences that made it worth working for the brand.
Our last panel session included Susan Samuel, Amy K. Taylor, and Katy Soto who talked about technology, environmental safety, and communications. I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to Amy about Toyota’s green initiative the night before. She was a true “light” to be around and spoke passionately about her role in the company. After the panel sessions, we were shuttled over to the Toyota Museum where we got to view up close all the cars that made Toyota GREAT over the years! I took a lot of pictures; check them out below.
We ended Day 2 by going out to dinner at Depot in Torrance. I am really glad I got the chance to bond with my fellow Bloggers, Team Toyota, and the Clever Girls. It was an unforgettable experience for this California New Yorker.
Please check back for my Ride and Drive video footage Next Week…
Disclosure: I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment in exchange for participating. The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of the Toyota.