TICF Career Development Series “All I Know So Far” Shows Power of Seizing Opportunities

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As part of its monthly series, “All I Know So Far,” Toyota Industries Commercial Finance (TICF) hosted Jennifer de Souza, Vice President of Energy Storage Solutions, Procurement and Leasing for The Raymond Corporation. The candid conversation, which explored the role of choice in one’s career and leaping before you look, lived up to the series’ goal to connect, inspire, motivate, and educate—and ultimately help TICF associates grow their careers.

The theme of going with the flow was prevalent, as Jennifer traced her path from earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a law degree (JD) to her role today leading energy solutions, procurement, and leasing for a forklift company.

While she took a circuitous route, she ended up as an international business executive, which is exactly what she told her father she intended to do at the age of 16. It was during her first job in undergrad, working as a technology consultant that she decided to take a different path than becoming a coder, as her computer science degree would indicate. She realized she had a knack for translating complex topics to conversations people could understand and enrolled at Syracuse University pursuing a Juris Doctorate specializing in “Law, Technology and Management.”

The program aimed to focus students on Intellectual Property implications related to current affairs in the world, specifically in Asia, and she decided to embark on a study abroad course at City University of Hong Kong. Although she didn’t realize the impact it would eventually have on her career at the time, it became one of her most foundational experiences.

Jennifer initially worked in a law firm writing patents for large companies like Microsoft and IBM but decided to seek different challenges. Stints followed at large manufacturing companies, where she focused on strategic global operations and supply chain functions with a specialty in Technology Transfer and right-shoring.

While no two journeys are the same, there are some truths Jennifer has realized are universal. Among the insight she shared:

 – Find a great leader willing to give you an opportunity.

 – Dive in when opportunities are presented to gain experience & perspective.

 – Seize the moment and deliver when you have the chance.

– International travel is invaluable, seize any opportunity to do so.

– Surround yourself with good people.

– Give back.

“As you tackle roles that challenge you to innovate and think outside the box, you discover success doesn’t come because of your degree or the passage of time, but because of your results,” she says.