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American Financial Services Association

Marguerite Watanabe

Marguerite Watanabe

PeopleWomen's Leadership Council

Marguerite Watanabe

President
Connections Insights

Marguerite has worked in the auto and automotive finance industry for 30 years allowing her to understand its strengths, weaknesses and, most importantly, opportunities. She devotes much of her time in sharing her expertise and connections. Her company provides insights on where innovative product and service solutions can be implemented to improve business processes and shareholder value. Marguerite’s strength is her unique mix of experience in automotive manufacturing and sales, captive and non-prime auto financing, credit reporting, lead generation and consulting – as well as her international experience with companies in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Prior to forming Connections Insights in 2006, Marguerite worked for Nissan North America and Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation in the USA and Japan, Equifax, BarNone and BenchMark Consulting International. Marguerite serves on the AFSA Vehicle Finance Board, AFSA Education Foundation, Women's Leadership Council, Operations Regulatory and Compliance Committee and the Business Partner Board. She facilitates the AFSA Independent Auto Finance Executive Group and Commercial Credit Committee.

She also sits on the National Auto Finance (NAF) Association Board of Directors. Marguerite earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and her Masters of Business Administration from Pepperdine University.

Areas of Expertise
I provide insights on industry trends and make meaningful connections among business partners in order that innovative product and service solutions can be created and implemented.

Areas of expertise upon which I would like to continue learning.
How to help the next generation navigate their paths to success.

What three keywords best describe you?
Connected, Engaged, Supportive

Personal Motto
You only get out of something what you put into it.

What are you passionate about?
Family (both family and work) and making a difference, one-step at a time.

What is something interesting about you that members might not know?
I speak Japanese.

Who has been a role model for you?
Rather than one specific person, I would say I have tried to learn from everyone I meet, positive or negative.

What are you most proud of?
Professionally, perhaps it was starting my own company despite all the apprehensions I had.
Personally, it is definitely my family and the mutual love and respect we have for each other.

MENTORING
What would you say are the key success factors for a mentoring relationship?
Together being able to brainstorm and share thoughts, ideas and possibilities "outside of the box" whether that box be a current job, industry or networking circle.

What advice would you give yourself as a young executive?
Without overthinking it, consider each fork in the road as an opportunity and a pivotal moment.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started your career?
You never know when you will be called to "step up" (for a meeting, project, job, etc.), so always be prepared.