CORPORATE SPOTLIGHT: TOYOTA FINANCIAL SERVICES
By Brittney Dobbins, Esq., Brown Law Group, San Diego, CA
In addition to planning fantastic events for NAMWOLF, Mark Tarango is Managing Counsel of Toyota Financial Services (TFS), overseeing business and real estate loans, workouts, supplier and technology agreements, fork-lift and heavy-truck divisional matters, general corporate transactions and department-wide budget responsibilities.
TFS is the captive automotive finance company for Toyota’s operations in the United States. It is one of the nation’s largest and highest-rated captive finance companies, with more than four million active finance accounts and six million insurance agreements in force. The company’s current managed assets total nearly $106 billion. TFS employs over 3,200 people across the country.
Toyota boasts a diversity initiative that has resulted in over one billion dollars of business with minority and women-owned suppliers every year. Legal participates in this initiative by working with minority and women-owned law firms.
Mark is a proud Bruin through and through. He graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) with a bachelor’s degree in political science with honors, and earned his law degree from the same institution. Mark later returned to his beloved alma mater and remains there to this day as an adjunct professor of law teaching a course he co-founded on the corporate in-house experience.
With over six years of legal experience, Mark joined TFS in 2003 and has been with the company for almost twelve years. During his time with TFS he was asked to participate in a year-long accelerated leadership development program where he worked on a large organizational project with other companywide leaders assessing the organization decision-making capabilities. He also lead efforts to realign the Legal Department’s dealer lending group (both legal and business policies) by taking many business-oriented operations leveraging technology and shifting them to a partnering business unit, freeing up legal to focus on more strategic law related tasks. The realignment efforts resulted in a $1.0 million dollar cost savings to TFS since the project’s inception.
In-line with its commitment to diversity, TFS has been a NAMWOLF member since 2011. Toyota believes diversity makes smart business sense. Therefore, the value proposition was very clear: membership in NAMWOLF increases Toyota’s opportunity to invest in minority-owned businesses. To Mark, NAMWOLF membership has been a bit of a revelation in that TFS established it could obtain, from NAMWOLF firms, the highest level of legal work at competitive rates, while at the same time becoming more diverse and receiving a competitive advantage.
TFS has been a NAMWOLF sponsor for the last two years. This year TFS, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America will be co-sponsoring the annual dinner. Toyota is providing more than financial support as Sandra Phillips, General Counsel, and Chief Legal Officer of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America (Toyota Legal One), has volunteered to speak at the Annual Meeting. This is particularly exciting to Mark who is on NAMWOLF’s new member subcommittee and is co-chairing NAMWOLF’s annual meeting. He has been working with Toyota Legal One for over a year to find the right role for them to work with NAMWOLF. In addition, Katherine Adkins, General Counsel, Secretary and Group Vice President of TFS will participate in the General Counsel panel at the Annual Meeting. This year’s broader Toyota participation is a testament to Mark’s hard work and superior effort to support NAMWOLF’s mission.
Mark values his involvement with NAMWOLF because he has witnessed, first hand, the difficulties that diverse lawyers face when forging a successful legal career. He feels it is important for lawyers with the power of the purse to be aware of their influence and the tremendous amount of room for growth and opportunity to provide equal footing for everyone. Half Mexican with an ethnic name (Marcos Tarango) but a Caucasian appearance, Mark has a unique view on the challenges and hurdles diverse lawyers face in the practice of law. Mark has witnessed others make assumptions about the capabilities of women and minorities in the legal profession, which lead to his deep understanding of the need for a level playing field. Mark understands he has the ability to make a difference as a NAMWOLF member, and it is important for him to do his part in creating that level playing field.
Brittney R. Dobbins
Brown Law Group
Ms. Dobbins focuses her practice on employment law and all areas of business litigation. She has particular proficiency in the area of intellectual property, in the context of brand protection.