Thank you President Emeritus Sorenson for that kind introduction...
and thank you to Babson for inviting me here today.
President Healey…Chair Capozzi…Provost Rice…Dean Rolleg…Members of the governing boards…parents, spouses, friends…and my fellow graduates…
It is my extreme honor to speak to you today as Babson College celebrates its 100th anniversary…
And may I be among the first to congratulate this very special, class of 2019!
let me get right to the point….
I know that some of you may be sitting there…
stressed out about where you will work after graduation…
you may be wondering what company will offer you a job…
Well…let me take that worry off the table for you right now…
and offer each and every one of you…a job at Toyota!
I haven’t actually cleared that with my HR department yet…but I’m sure it will be ok.
So now that the employment issue has been solved…
let’s talk about more important things…
Like how you plan to celebrate this momentous occasion…
I mean, how wild is tonight’s party going to get?
And more importantly, can I come?
But I can't stay out too late because tomorrow is the finaley of Game of Thrones.
I have to tell you…when I was at Babson, I had no social life.
For me, taking classes in English was a real challenge.
It took all of my focus and free time. I never went to parties…I never went to a hockeygame.
I just went from my dorm… to class…to the library…to my dorm… to class…to the library.
So when I attended Babson, I was, in a word… boring.
But once I graduated, I went to work in New York…
where I immediately made up for lost time…and became “king of the night”!
Now I’m not suggesting you do the same…I can tell…just by looking at you…that none of you are boring.
I’m sure you have enjoyed a very active social life while you were here.
But since I’m here to offer you words of advice….
let the first be this…don’t be boring…have fun.
Really figure out what makes you happy in life…
what brings you joy. When I was a student here, I found joy…in donuts.
American donuts were a joyful, astonishing discovery.
I want to encourage all of you to find your own donut.
Find what makes you happy…and don’t let go.
You should know I didn't come here to tell you the usual stories about
the mountains you may have to climb…or the challenges you’ll have to meet.
Because I think we should just go ahead and assume everything is going to work out
I think all of you are going to be a big success!
I really do. And that’s where it gets tricky.
Because you are going to be successful.
You are going to climb that ladder…and make that money.
But will it be doing something that is fun?
Something that you really love?
Because when you are as talented as I know all of you are…
it is so easy to wake up one day and find yourself
in golden handcuffs…with a mortgage…and three kids that you need to put through Babson.
So whether you’re entering a family business or not…
now’s the time to figure out what speaks to your heart the most.
The beginning of your career is really the best
part…. because you have the freedom to try different things before the inevitable responsibilities of life pile up.
So use this time…this freedom
that your youth provides…to find your happy world.
And don’t be afraid if it’s not what’s “expected”.
I’m lucky in some respects, because I knew what I wanted to do at a very early age.
When I was a little boy…I knew for sure that I wanted to be…a taxi driver.
It didn’t completely work out, but it’s pretty close.
I get to drive cars…and be around cars…all the time.
And if there’s one thing I love more than donuts…it’s cars.
Toyota has been building cars for over 80 years now… but we actually started out
in the weaving loom business.
My great grandfather invented the automatic weaving loom…
But It was my grandfather, Kiichiro, who took us from making fabric…to making cars…and created the company we have today.
I’m actually the third generation Toyoda to run our company…and perhaps you have heard the saying…the third generation knows no hardship…or the third generation ruins everything.
Well hopefully that will not be the case.
I mean, I did graduate from Babson after all! As luck would have it though... as soon as I became CEO…we had the great recession...an earthquake and tsunami…and a recall that meant I had to testify to congress in Washington D.C.
At that moment…I really did want to take a job as a taxi driver!
But I’m happy to say, we’re doing fine now…partly because I use what I learned here
at Babson…every day at Toyota.
Perhaps the greatest lesson of all…was the sense of entrepreneurship…that was instilled in me here.
Even with a company as big as Toyota…I still try to think of it…as a start-up company.
In fact, one of the challenges of running a business that’s been in your family for decades…
is how willing are you to make dramatic change when it’s called for?
How do you look at things objectively…and not hang on to something…for sentimental reasons?
How do you take the risk of making fabric one day… and cars, the next?
Our industry is undergoing revolutionary change today…as are many others. Even I can’t predict what kind of car we will be driving 20 years from now….
but my time at Babson taught me to embrace change…rather than run from it…and I urge all of you to do the same.
I am often asked whether I am burdened by having the name Toyoda…and when I was
your age…I might have said yes.
But today, I’m very proud of what the name represents… and the hundreds of thousands
of people it supports around the world.
So let’s fast forward…and assume you have become successful
doing what you really love…now let me give you some advice…from one CEO to another:
Don’t screw it up. Don’t take it for granted. Do the right thing. Because if you do the right thing…the money will follow.
Try new things…even if you’re old.
When I became CEO of Toyota 10 years ago…I was told by one of my mentors that I couldn’t expect to be taken seriously by our engineers….unless I really knew how to drive…at the highest level.
So at the age of 52…I took on the challenge of training to become a master driver.
Not just so I could drive our racecars…which I do…much to my father’s dismay…
but so I could communicate how I think our cars should drive…with our engineers.
The point is…you’ve always got to be learning something new…no matter how old you are. Never give up being a student…because being a student is the best job…you will ever have.
Find people that inspire you…-Oprah…-Yoda…-Tom Brady…-your parents…-your friends…Feed off their energy!
Be a person that inspires others.
Be a good global citizen. Care about the environment, the planet…about what’s happening in other parts of the world.
Don’t worry about being cool…be warm. Decide what you stand for.
At Toyota...we have a set of values that include Integrity…humility…and respect for others.
We call it...the Toyota Way.
And it gives our company a north star…a guiding light.
Find your own guiding light… and let it inform every decision you make.
Let it help you make the world…a better place.
Ladies and gentlemen….fellow students…
today is where it ends…and today is where it all begins…
In Japan, every time a new emperor ascends to the throne…a new era begins. And the calendar starts over at year one. We just had a new era begin in Japan on May 1st.
Every era has its own name...and this one is called Reiwa, which means…“beautiful harmony”.
In many respects all of you are beginning a new era of your own…where the clock is set back to one…and the possibilities are endless.
I hope your era is one filled with beautiful harmony…much success…and many, many donuts.
Thank you very much.
Source: Babson College