Charity Barnes ’96 on How to Get Where You Want to Go
Submitted on February 4, 2020
The first event in the Business Invited Speaker Series this spring brought Charity Barnes ’96 to campus to discuss her journey from Georgetown College to Vice President, Information Technology at Toyota Tsusho America, Inc.
From her early days at college, she dreamed of being an attorney, starting as an International Studies major. Quickly, though, she realized that the classes she enjoyed the most were her Business courses, and she switched to an Accounting major. Barnes urged students to think outside the box when it comes to careers and how they use their education in pursuit of those careers. “Don’t limit yourself. Pursue your interests,” she implored.
Not setting limitations helped her reach the top of an industry traditionally dominated by men. Her innovative thinking, drive, and key communication skills led to her rising through the ranks at Toyota Tsusho before eventually being named Vice President, Information Technology and Chief Information Officer.
In her talk, she highlighted the importance of taking opportunities presented to her, focusing on a leadership summit she took on, in addition to her other duties. Even through all the work, this was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. The summit, which brought together leaders from Toyota Tsusho from all over the world, eventually led to her being named Chief Information Officer.
Throughout her talk, she focused on the importance of communication and asking questions. “Never hesitate to admit that you don’t know,” she told students. This mantra led to her learning more than she ever could have imagined and rising to a position she only could have dreamed of.
The next event in the spring Business Invited Speaker Series will take place on March 4th and will feature Chris Barkley ’00, Vice President, Revenue Cycle Management, Confluent Health in Louisville, Kentucky.