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Talk Local: Tatsumi Paredes

Paredes is the senior manager of diversity and inclusion for Toyota North America
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Photo: Tatsumi Paredes

Being a member of growing communities in North Texas has its challenges. But being a local leader, trying to manage balance in your life, is even harder. Local Profile reached out to nine leaders in the Collin County community that have learned through trial and failure how they create balance in their daily lives, and just maybe, you can learn from their advice and experiences to find balance in yours. 

Tatsumi Paredes is a people leader who is an expert in shaping and influencing corporate culture. Her background includes over 25 years of experience in the automotive industry within marketing, communications, branding, sales, strategy, dealer relations, human resources and diversity and inclusion. She is passionate about creating a safe space where people can be their authentic selves, unlocking their full potential to make an impact every day.

What does community mean to you?
A community is like a family. We celebrate our diversity and treasure the things that are unique about each of us. And we have a desire to celebrate successes and uplift each other through challenging times.

How do you find balance in your daily life?
I am a corporate leader, a diversity and inclusion expert, a mother of two teenagers, a wife to a military veteran, and a daughter of immigrant parents. People are multi- faceted like beautiful gemstones. At any given moment I have a role to play…so what is balance? Balance is being able to fulfill my ultimate purpose of making a difference. Did I learn something new? Did I help someone solve a problem? If I know I made a positive impact on myself or someone else, personally or professionally, my life is in balance.

What everyday thing do you excel at?
My strengths are in communication and collaboration. I make it a point to invite quieter people into the conversation. I encourage out-of-the-box thinking and innovation. And I always think about who else needs to know what we are working on so we can make sure we are not working in a silo. There is so much value in diversity of thought — and as leaders, we need to invite and unlock these valuable insights.

How do you decompress or relax?
My family and I enjoy traveling. My favorite trips were to Zion National Park, Key West, and Hawaii. Any opportunity to be outdoors and enjoy some sunshine is refreshing.

When was a time you had to step out of your comfort zone?
There was a time when public speaking was incredibly frightening. Knowing that this was a skill that I wanted to work on, one of my mentors really pushed me outside my comfort zone by finding opportunities for me to practice speaking. In my mind I often thought — why would anyone want to hear anything from me — but, I didn’t want to let him down so I always said yes. After a while, I felt like I was making improvements so I started to raise my hand and proactively seek speaking opportunities to challenge myself. Today, I am glad to speak to an audience of any size on any topic with full confidence that what I have to share can make a difference to someone.

How do you hope to improve your community? (personal/business)
I am passionate about advancing diversity and inclusion by sharing best practices. It is in this way that we can create a greater sense of inclusion where everyone feels like they belong.

When are you happiest?
When someone tells me they were able to achieve a goal because I helped them.

What motivates you?
I am so fortunate to have so many exceptional friends, managers, mentors, and sponsors who have helped me be the best version of myself. If there are opportunities for me to pay things forward to help another person — count me in! Celebrating the success of others is my biggest motivation!

How do you consider yourself a local leader?
During my free time, I volunteer in the community with my family. From celebrating members of our military veteran community with the Plano East Rotary to collect toys through Toys for Tots to raising funds for scholarships with the Marine Corps League of Collin County — I am a proud resident of Collin County and make it a priority to give back.

What do you wish you were better at?
I admire people who can cook amazing dishes from scratch without following a recipe card.

What kind of goals do you set for yourself?
I challenge myself to get to know people who are different from me. It is this way that I have been able to learn so much more about the unique cultures, values, experiences, and perspectives.

To find out more about how to be the best at work, at home and in the community visit Local Profile’s latest issue.