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Toyota Women Recognized for Leadership in Manufacturing Industry

Manufacturing Institute honors three Toyota employees for excellence in their respective areas

National Association of Manufacturers 2023 Women Make Awards in Washington on April 20, 2023.
National Association of Manufacturers 2023 Women Make Awards in Washington on April 20, 2023.

Toyota once again had three honorees at the Women MAKE Awards (formerly known as the STEP Ahead Awards) presented by the Manufacturing Institute. The three Toyota employees were among the outstanding collection of women recognized for delivering leadership in the industry and making contributions to communities in which they live.

This year’s ceremony celebrated 100 Honorees plus 30 Emerging Leaders, which recognizes 30 women under the age of 30 who have achieved unique accomplishments at the start of their careers.

Toyota Honorees:

  • Christine Garramone, CPSM, C.P.M is a general manager in the Purchasing Supplier Development division, managing supply of all powertrain components assembled into vehicles assembled in North America. Her leadership and innovation created a structural change at Toyota that enabled ongoing receipt of high-quality, competitive parts and components. Garramone is a mentor and trusted confidante, serving as a sounding board for other women. She serves as an executive board member and the vice-chair of Inforum automotiveNEXT, which is focused on strengthening the talent pipeline for women in the automotive industry. In 2022, she co-led a live student mentorship program impacting more than 80 students. Garramone also serves on the WBENC board, a nonprofit dedicated to supplier diversity and investing in the development of women-owned businesses as suppliers.
  • Maura Smith is the general manager of Line 1 Production at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky (TMMK), Toyota’s largest manufacturing operation in North America. Smith played an integral role in guiding the facility through the COVID-19 pandemic. She worked with local government leaders on a regional task force to ensure the health and safety of the plant’s 10,000 team members while meeting local, state and federal COVID protocols. The resulting on-site testing protocol, with minimal loss in weekly production, became a model for other Toyota facilities in the region. Smith is actively engaged in activities that increase opportunities for women in manufacturing and has mentored dozens of women. She is also on the board of directors for United Way of the Bluegrass (UWBG), where she supported the launch of a program that partners with community agencies to bundle social services to support financial stability.

Toyota Emerging Leaders:

  • Jessica Buck is a senior vehicle dynamics engineer at Toyota’s North American R&D headquarters in Michigan. She oversees development of the ride and handling performance of a future next-generation model. She also represented Toyota in the 2021 Rebelle Rally, an eight-day analog navigation rally through various terrains in California and Nevada and helps new team members and co-ops during the onboarding process with career perspectives. Additionally, Buck volunteers as a grief facilitator at a local healing center for grieving children, teens, young adults and their families.

Each year, the Manufacturing Institute, the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers, recognizes women in the science, technology, engineering and production areas of the manufacturing industry who exemplify leadership and excellence in their careers.

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in North America for more than 65 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands, plus our more than 1,800 dealerships.

Toyota directly employs more than 48,000 people in North America who have contributed to the design, engineering, and assembly of nearly 45 million cars and trucks at our 13 manufacturing plants. By 2025, Toyota’s 14th plant in North Carolina will begin to manufacture automotive batteries for electrified vehicles. With more electrified vehicles on the road than any other automaker, Toyota currently offers 22 electrified options.

Through the Start Your Impossible campaign, Toyota highlights the way it partners with community, civic, academic and governmental organizations to address our society’s most pressing mobility challenges. We believe that when people are free to move, anything is possible. For more information about Toyota, visit

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