European Leading Women
Name: Monica Perez Lobo
Title: General manager consumer experience
Company: Toyota Europe
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Age: 47
Family: Husband, Fernando; sons, Fernando, 9, Guillermo, 7
Born: Madrid, Spain
Nationality: Spanish
Languages: Spanish, English
Education: Bachelor's degrees in law as well as business administration and management, Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid, Spain

Monica Perez Lobo

What attracted you to the auto industry?

The complexity of the auto industry is what interested me. It still does.

First automotive job:

My first contact with the automotive industry came in 1997 when I worked at Alison Associates, a consultancy specializing in business management solutions for national sales companies in Spain. We collected financial data from auto retailers to analyze and create benchmarks they could use to improve profitability.

What was your big break?

I joined Toyota Europe in 2005. It was my first job working directly for a vehicle manufacturer. Toyota was already my favorite brand so getting the job was a dream come true. 

What is the major challenge you have faced in your career?

The recent financial crisis in Spain. I’ve been in charge of dealer development management at Toyota since 2012. During this difficult time we have had to make very hard decisions.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?

I went on a discovery trip of Japan in 2014 to learn about Toyota’s history, its values and its emphasis on putting the customer first. While this is not a person, this trip has been a source of inspiration.

What should be done to encourage women to enter the auto industry?

We should have more female role models within the automotive industry so the women outside understand this is an industry with plenty of opportunities for them. To retain women, having a baby shouldn’t have a negative effect on your career. This continues to be a challenge.

What’s your favorite weekend activity?

Being at home with my family. Taking a walk or bike ride.

What keeps you awake at night?

I sleep like a baby unless one of my children decides to take refuge from nightmares in my bed.

Name one thing about yourself that most people don’t know.

I love to watch low-budget romantic movies on TV.

If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

I would have dinner with my husband, Fernando. We never get to spend enough time together.

If I had it to do all over again, I would

Probably make the same mistakes. I have learned valuable lessons and enjoyed wonderful experiences on this journey. 

When and where was your last vacation?

My last vacation in August took me to the very south of Spain. I went to a little village close to Tarifa. I got to relax, be with my family, enjoy pescaito frito which is fried fish, went to the beach and sat in the sun.

Name one talent you wish you had.

Better memory! I have to write down everything to be sure that I don’t forget the things I have to do.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

I tend to ask a lot of questions so I received a lot of good advice from my team, my bosses, family, friends and colleagues. It’s difficult for me to single out something specific because I’ve learned so much from all of them during different stages of my life. 

What advice would you give your child?

Don’t limit yourself. Everything is possible if you fight for it. At the very least you have to try!

If you were a car, what car would you be?

I would like to be the new CHR. It’s innovative, cutting-edge, powerful and sexy! 

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