Susan Elkington
Project General Manager
Toyota Motor Corporation – Toyota City, Japan

Toyota City, Japan

“To truly enjoy manufacturing, remember to take the time to know the people, the operations and your customers.  They are core of the business. Secondly, understand your product. Always make decisions as if your name was on it.  Lastly, know that every day there will be a challenge; embrace it as an opportunity.”


Throughout her 20-year career, Susan has held a range of progressively responsible roles and opportunities to exhibit outstanding leadership and expertise.   Her newest assignment is a rotation to Toyota’s headquarters in Japan beginning in January 2014.

Susan was named as Toyota’s first female Vice President of Manufacturing for a vehicle assembly plant in January 2013.  During her tenure, she was able to reinvest in her team during the economic downturn through training and community outreach, she was able to keep all staff in place during a time others were making cuts. 

In addition to her devotion to team members, Susan also is committed to diversity and inclusion within manufacturing at Toyota and in the state of Indiana.  Noting the absence of women in manufacturing early in her career, Susan made it her mission to change the look of the field.  She led TMMI’s diversity and inclusion initiatives as a diversity champion and is the Toyota champion for the Society of Women Engineers.

Her involvement in manufacturing extends beyond her work at TMMI.  She has been heavily involved as a board member of the Indiana Automotive Council, where she took the lead role in many of its initiatives.  One of these being  the creation of  training centers throughout Indiana to help students earn debt-free associate degrees while supplying Indiana manufacturers with the highest quality skilled maintenance technicians in the country.

Susan’s philanthropic efforts are notable and varied, as well.  She holds board positions for the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, the Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana, the Japan-America Society of Indiana, and the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Business Council.   Susan supports her local STEM club and enthusiastically shares her talents and time to encourage others.

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