Driving Women to Automotive: The Leaders of Lexus on the Future of the Industry

Driving Women to Automotive: The Leaders of Lexus on the Future of the Industry

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The automotive industry is facing once-in-a-century changes. In the years ahead, vehicles that are connected, automated, shared and electrified will radically reshape mobility in ways that will have a profound impact on people and communities across the world. In order to shape future mobility, Lexus relies on talented, creative individuals to drive innovation in every area of the business.

To build an exceptional team, Lexus relies on strong leaders with diverse backgrounds, a wide range of skills and unique ideas. But the automotive industry is still experiencing a major talent gap. For instance, women represent only 27% of the auto manufacturing workforce in the United States, even though they make up almost half of the overall labor force.¹

Research shows that support systems like sponsorship and mentoring play an important role in encouraging women to pursue careers in STEM industries. Not only does mentorship help introduce women to available opportunities, but it also helps retain and develop existing talent. In fact, 76% of women said they would choose to stay in the auto industry if they saw a clear path to their career goals.²

Lexus believes that cultivating a culture that reflects, empowers, and respects the diversity of its employees provides a more diverse and inclusive workplace that drives innovation and relevancy. That’s why women leaders of Lexus are dedicated to championing diversity, inclusion and growth in the automotive industry. Active involvement in training programs, school visits, participation in employee resource groups, and serving as sponsors and mentors are just some of the ways these executives are working to attract more women to careers in automotive.

While reaching gender equity in automotive is a collective effort, female leaders in the industry can make a big impact just by sharing their experiences. In celebration of International Women’s Day, we asked some of the leaders at Lexus about their careers, experiences with mentorship and the importance of closing the talent gap in the automotive industry.

Peggy Turner
Vice President of Guest Retention, Lexus

“It’s imperative to have women working in the automotive industry. Their unique perspective and experience are valuable for our future direction. I think that women do not expect they can have a successful career in what was once a male-dominated industry, but we can change that misconception by making sure that women see other successful women in the sector.

I would not be where I am in my career and in my personal life without the guidance of my mentors. Mentorship is critical for both mentee and mentor in all industries, but particularly for women in an industry that has been predominately male. Mentoring helps team members reach their full potential and supports personal and professional development.” 

Cynthia Tenhouse
Vice President of Guest Experience, Lexus

“When we do on-campus recruiting for our management training program, I see women self-select and walk by our table because they assume it’s not a good fit for them. But this is one of the most inclusive environments. Yes, some areas of the sector are still more male dominated than others, but this is a welcoming environment for women, and we need to do a better job of telling that story.

There’s this image of automotive, and it’s a white man in a suit. We need to actually show how we’ve changed. We need it to be visible, through highlighting our female leaders and their stories, but also the other young women who are already diversifying the industry.”

Jaycie Dane
General Manager of Sales Operations, Lexus

“We must continue to promote the vast job opportunities in the auto sector – especially at Toyota Motor North America (TMNA).  We have many roles where a female perspective is valuable, from designing our vehicles, marketing to potential customers, and communicating with customers in our Brand Experience Center for Toyota and Lexus, There’s really something for everyone in the automotive industry.

I know our own TMNA women are great advocates for our company and recruit friends and family members on a grassroots level, as well as advocate from within the company as mentors. Participating as a mentor or mentee is also a great way to expand your network within TMNA. These are very special relationships that can help guide our growth and development.”


Originally published March 8, 2021

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