Over the next few months, we’ll be publishing a series of interviews with senior leaders at Toyota GB, discussing their careers and what the future holds for the company. Our hope is to inspire the next generation of innovators. In this first interview with Paula Cooper, ConsumerOne Director, we talk about how she got where she is today.
Hello Paula, can you tell us who you are and what you do at Toyota GB?
Paula: I’m Paula Cooper and I work at Toyota GB as the director for Consumer One and the Academy. I am responsible for identifying opportunities to improve customer experiences and improving the way that we engage with our customers, working with data to identify trends and generate insights.
How has your career developed while at Toyota GB?
Paula: When I first started at Toyota I worked in Vehicle Supply, and since then I’ve undertaken many roles and activities. From Vehicle Supply I went on to work in Fleet, out in the field working with our retailers. I’ve then had roles in Lean Operations, Vehicle Marketing, Network Development and Aftersales and, latterly, in ConsumerOne.
What has that development taught you?
Paula: I think what this has given me is a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills, gain a great understanding across the whole of the business, and to apply those learnings each time I move on to a new role. So, if I’m making decisions or need to consider a problem, then I can look at things from other people’s perspective, and I also know who to turn to – who to collaborate with – in order to ensure we make the best decisions moving forward.
What challenges have you faced in your time at Toyota?
Paula: I don’t think there’s been anything out of the norm, but I wouldn’t say it was necessarily a traditional career path! I’ve tried new roles, different roles and taken a few risks as well, starting roles up from scratch. Learning new skills and new types of business is something that everybody has to encounter, but one of the things Toyota does really well is to encourage people, develop people and nurture people. It also accepts the fact that not everything can go to plan and if things go wrong, the most important thing is that you learn from it.
What would you say to anyone thinking about a career at Toyota?
Paula: Well, I joined Toyota a number of years ago and it was a fantastic decision. Things haven’t stood still, I’ve gained fantastic skills and had great experiences. And it’s important to remember a career at Toyota isn’t all about cars. It’s technology, IT, operations, logistics, marketing. You name it, we cover it and the opportunity to gain experience, understanding and skills across so many aspects of business is absolutely brilliant and something I would highly recommend.
If you’re interested in a career in the automotive sector, visit the Toyota GB careers website here.