Real Model Interview Episode #1, Rachel Rollason, Toyota (GB) Plc

Rachel Rollason
Toyota (marque logo)
Describe a typical day for you

After a family breakfast, I have a 20 min drive to work in, of course, my Toyota Land Cruiser, where I listen to the Today Programme on Radio 4 on my way in. I grab a coffee from our barista on the way into the building.
The day starts with a stand up meeting where the whole team update on daily issues and actions. It’s a great way for the Social and Press and PR team to keep up to date and briefed and it gives us a newsroom feel.

Our Social Media Community Managers are mainly home based to cover the hour of service we deliver to our communities which keeps us ahead of the industry in terms of engagement. They come into the office on Mondays and this is an opportunity to update them on anything they need to know as well as looking forward to the week ahead.

I attend lots of meetings with internal stakeholders throughout the day to keep in touch with their projects and share our activity. I tend to grab a sandwich at my desk or have a lunch meeting most days but do attend
our team lunch table when I can in our fabulous restaurant for a relaxed catch up and break. If I am not at an event or overnight meeting I try to leave the office to have plenty of time with my sons at home before going for a run every other night and then I love a good HBO box set.

What do you like best about your job?

I work in a fabulously creative team who are full of ideas and it is a great, fun environment to work in. Our office is not only modern and airy but is located in lovely Surrey surroundings with gardens. Toyota worked with Surrey Wildlife Trust and Kew Gardens to refocus our already lovely surroundings to give more back to nature with the focus on identifying and using native plant species from the surrounding countryside to encourage more wildlife. We call it Eco-HQ. The new features include an orchard, meadow, pond, beehives, bat boxes and bug houses.

Car launches are the most exciting part of working in the car industry and this year sees a monumental year for car launches across both Toyota and Lexus brands – we are currently working on Corolla, RAV4, Supra, Lexus UX, Camry, Lexus ES and launches.

I am also immensely proud to work for such a progressive and large global company. Although Toyota GB plc is what we term a sales and marketing company, in social media, we work on content and engage with communities about initiatives as diverse as the Toyota Hilux winning the Dakar Rally to the Lexus Sport Yacht Concept.

Who in your life has been a major positive influence for you?

When I started working in marketing I had a senior role model female colleague who worked extremely hard, stood up for her beliefs and supported her team all the way. She also took no nonsense from anyone. This is something I have learned from, and my sons often play out to me ‘Mummy you say to tell people to hang on a minute’.

What was your biggest success/ best day at work?

I love it when something I have planned gets buy in and people across different divisions come with me. We have a culture in Toyota of nemawashi – it’s part of our culture and it is the Japanese word for an informal process of quietly laying the foundation for some proposed change or project, by talking to the people concerned, gathering support and feedback, individually before presenting the final plan to the group. If you do it well it virtually guarantees success.

What was my best day at work? I am not a show-off but will say that I have had fantastic work days all over the world, with fabulous colleagues in Toyota and Lexus. I am a car nut, so when driving a new, fast car around a race track say in a hot country, or hosting a customer golf event at a world class golf course, then I do have to pinch myself and tell myself this is work sometimes. I have also had great experiences
representing the company on various committees and panels from which I have learned so much.

What are your future goals?

To continue to learn whenever I can and enjoy what I do each day.

Who do you turn to for advice or support?

We have a great coaching culture here, of which I am part. For me, that means that I have a vast network of coaches and coachees to give me advice and support. This spans everyone, regardless of grade here

from students to Directors. I have a good network of friends in different industries who I often turn to for advice, and the 30% Club found me an amazing mentor last year who I learned a lot from.

Who in the world do you most admire, and why?

Akio Toyoda, the President of Toyota Motor Corporation. His drive, passion and excitement for the brand’s future is inspiring. He test drives cars, has a vision for product design and the brand’s future direction to become a mobility company - whether it be alternative energy sources, interconnected traffic & amp; safety systems, human assisting robots or new modes of personal transport, Toyota is constantly focused on developing for the future.

Which 3 words best describe you?

Enthusiastic / Doing / Organised

How can we attract more women to join the automotive industry?

Show the global and local (dealership) nature of the industry and the range or roles and possibilities in it.
Highlight that many companies need specialists (accountants, marketers, engineers and lawyers for example) and many offer opportunities to move around the business and become a generalist.

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?

Find and stick to something you enjoy and see where it takes you.

Share this..