Wow – Toyota’s 24th Opportunity Exchange (OE) conference and trade show concluded this afternoon at the Duke Energy Center, and I couldn’t be more impressed by the excitement and dedication of everyone attending and involved with the event. Our morning started with remarks from Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., as well as messages from Toyota executives including Simon Nagata and Bob Young. Our keynote speaker Javier Palomarez, President/CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, motivated us to remain steadfast in advancing diversity and inclusion in the American economy.
The vibrant atmosphere of the trade show was fantastic. I was part of numerous productive conversations between our Tier I suppliers and M/WBEs as they exemplified this year’s theme — Leveraging Connections & Activating Opportunities. Over the years, this event has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts with diverse suppliers as a direct result of connections made during OE. I have every confidence that we’ll see that trend continuing.
I’m also confident that we will continue to increase our engagement with WBEs in our supplier diversity efforts. My team and I are excited about the Tier II WBE target that Toyota announced at this year’s OE. We look forward to actively engaging this strong economic sector and aligning our diversity processes with competitors and colleagues within and outside of the automotive industry. I want to send a special thanks to Pamela Prince-Eason, President of Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), for her special message to our suppliers at this year’s event.
I also want send a huge “Thank You” to all who made this year’s OE a great success. Without the help and input of our stakeholders and partners, the planning and execution of OE would not be possible. I appreciate members of the OE Planning Committee for dedicating their valuable time and providing input to make this year’s event the most innovative yet. And, of course, we appreciate the insights of our esteemed speakers, presenters, and panelists.
If you attended OE, please remember to complete your surveys. We need your feedback because we want to be certain that this event continues to evolve to remain a productive and valuable forum for building meaningful business relationships. I want this to continue to be a worthwhile investment of your time.
Next year we will be celebrating Opportunity Exchange’s 25th year, a very special achievement that speaks to the event’s impact and the outstanding performance of our diverse supplier base. We look forward to celebrating with you.
In the meantime, thanks for making this year’s Opportunity Exchange a success. We hope the connections and conversations you experienced will prove to be beneficial to your business!