Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Toyota’s Millie Marshall Exemplifies Female Leadership in Manufacturing

Millie Marshall has one of the most important jobs for Toyota in the country and one of the most important jobs in terms of improving the prospects for other women in manufacturing,
Toyota's Millie Marshall Credit: Toyota
Toyota’s Millie Marshall Credit: Toyota

Millie Marshall began her career as a champion of Toyota manufacturing in America, and now she’s become a champion of females in American manufacturing.

The manager of Toyota’s assembly plant in Princeton, Indiana, and president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana, is the first female president globally for Toyota Manufacturing. Five years ago, Marshall became the first female president of any Japanese manufacturing facility when she was named president of Toyota Manufacturing in West Virginia and headed its Buffalo, West Virginia, engine plant.

And Marshall was just recognized as one of four recipients of the Women in Leadership Executive Impact Award, bestowed annually by Linkage, a leadership-development and –networking outfit. Marshall and the others were hailed for demonstrating “a deep commitment to advancing women leaders [and for accelerating] the growth of women in their organization and community.”

Marshall has one of the most important jobs for Toyota in the country because the Princeton plant is expanding and gearing up for increased production in 2019 of the next generation of Highlander SUVs, in one of the most important segments that’s still growing in the American market.

At the same time, Marshall is trying to improve the prospects for other women in manufacturing, especially the generation of American young women and girls who finally might be looking at manufacturing jobs in a different way than their gender traditionally has viewed them.

“Manufacturing in general still has the stigma of the 1960s, where maybe your grandfather worked in it,” Marshall says. “So part of what I’m trying to help do, in general, is change the image of manufacturing and what we actually do.”

Of course, Marshall’s motivation isn’t completely altruistic: Despite high pay and its good reputation, Toyota still has to fight tooth and nail to fill jobs with highly qualified workers in the midst of the nation’s unprecedented labor crunch – especially at Princeton, where the company is in the process of adding 400 jobs.

So, for instance, the plant has hosted a Manufacturing Day STEM event for local Girl Scouts. It also runs a summer STEM “boot camp” for female teachers and brings in parents for evening visits so they can see what manufacturing opportunities are all about these days.

“We show what type of work we do, and our very clean and safe facilities,” Marshall explains. Recently, a group of female plant engineers worked with a visiting group of a couple dozen junior-high girls and worked with them to set up a “collaborative” robot – one that works amid and with humans on the assembly line instead of in fixed positions.

Marshall says that many female leaders at the plant “do mentoring outside. We actually start in elementary school and work all the way up. If [girls] can get a taste of manufacturing in elementary school, we may be able to keep them all the way into high school.”

Read more: Trump’s Trade Strategy Playing Well With Some Manufacturing CEOs


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.