A day in the life of a Director featuring Paula Cooper, Director of ConsumerOne at Toyota GB Plc

To celebrate the launch of the Automotive 30% Club's 2020 IAW Awards, we chatted with our 2019 Inspiring Automotive Woman of the year winner Paula Cooper, who kindly gave us an overview of what her role entails and what a typical working day is like for her.


As the Director of ConsumerOne, my role involves working with Toyota & Lexus teams to accelerate change and innovation. Our mission is to transform and improve customer experience through insight and testing and ensure we do business the way customers love.

There are 4 key components of my role:

  • Customer Experience and Innovation
  • Data and Insight
  • Auto Futures (Physical, Digital, People, Mobility, Connected Car)
  • Academy – development, coaching and training of our Toyota and Lexus networks

I guess it’s the old cliché, of no day being the same, but there are a few common themes. The start of the day is around 5:45 when I greet my beautiful black Labrador, Harvey. Once breakfast is woofed down (him, not me) we play frisbee in the garden and chase…regardless of the weather! He then goes back to bed for a while and I get ready for the day. If I am travelling (usually an early flight) then he has no interest in me and waits for one of the family to surface at a more sociable hour. My family is male dominated; husband and 3 (grown up) boys.

I am lucky that the drive to the office is usually hassle free (apart from the occasional race horse) and sometimes with calls to follow up on a few things. Once in the office, the priority is to get a large mug of builder’s tea with a steady supply planned throughout the day. The scope of my role is broad, always with several projects live and at differing stages of progress at any given time. The subject of any meeting, conversation or decision making varies throughout the days and weeks, ranging from a customer experience initiative, data sourcing, system development, new routes to market, mobility services and content and curriculum for the development of our Retailer networks. These are interspersed with the constants of team meetings and 121s – critical to ensure we are aligned and able to support one another, with the opportunity to keep in touch with my team and how they feel.

Meetings can be traditional, call, video or a combination and I am lucky in that I believe I work with a fantastic team within TGB, as well as having strong partnerships and supportive retailers. Without that combination, we wouldn’t be able to deliver changes or progress what we need to. The automotive business is facing huge disruption and we need to adapt in order to sustain success. If I am travelling, then it is often to our European head office or one of the national offices across Europe for us to share updates and best practice. I meet our retailer partners on a regular basis, and in this role, the focus is on how we improve customer experience, people performance and deliver commercial success from this.

I can also be involved in a coaching or mentor sessions within TGB and I support the 30% Club. I enjoy being able to support people in their development and progress and, actually, the conversations usually prompt me to think differently or look at things with a new perspective. TGB encourages people to stretch and develop, and be the best they can be, at every level and stage of their career. I have both supported and benefitted from this approach and I feel it helps us in our transformation ambitions. The key to our success will be in the strength and mindset of our people and we must ensure we can attract the best of people from a broad talent pool by being an open minded, flexible and attractive employer.

Once home in the evening, then it’s a conversation amongst the family about each other’s day, the occasional niggle about the dishwasher not emptying itself, working out who is home for dinner and what’s in the fridge. There is a good mix of cooks in the house, so dinner duty is shared. Conversations range between the latest game to be released (not lead by me!), the absurdity of some of our politicians, something daft on YouTube, trashy TV and who’s doing what at the weekend.

Depending on what I’ve been doing during the day then there could be a bit of email activity, and catch up, or planning to meet with family and friends and usually lamenting the fact that we haven’t been to Cornwall for a while. A twist and turn drama is always welcome or else something to make us laugh out loud. Between us, we look after Harvey and get rewarded with a very waggy tail.

Yesterday was International Women’s Day, and to celebrate, we launched the 2020 Inspiring Automotive Women Awards. As last year’s overall winner, we’d love to know who inspires you?

I have been inspired by many women and men, often not famous but they have made an impact upon me. I value and respect many types of individuals, but I guess the common themes are integrity, open mindedness, hard work and perseverance.

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