Heyward Allen Toyota
He found it sitting right in front of him – at church.
“I was sitting there with my wife,” says Easters. “And directly in front of me is a young man and his wife, and they’re both wearing Team Toyota jackets. And I thought, ‘I need to meet them.’”
Easters introduced himself, and learned the young man was Jarryd Wallace, a Toyota-sponsored Team USA Paralympian.
Wallace was a high school state champion in track and field. In 2010, while he was a junior at the University of Georgia, Wallace started feeling pain in his right shin. Doctors diagnosed him with Compartment Syndrome. After surgery complications, Wallace made the difficult decision to have his right leg amputated below the knee.
Wallace was determined to return to running, and just 12 weeks after his amputation, he was fitted with a running blade prosthetic. He went on to compete in two Paralympic games.
Easters knew Wallace’s story of transformation and change could be motivational for his associates.
“Jarryd has seen so much change in his life,” says Easters. “It would be easy to let the circumstances of change affect him negatively. However, Jarryd decided to embrace change, adapt to it and he’s experienced tremendous personal growth. Change is inevitable, but personal growth is optional. Sometimes we all need to be reminded of that.”
Last winter, Easters invited Wallace to the dealership to coach his employees on transformative change, and how to successfully navigate it in business.
“We practice kaizen in our dealership,” Easters says. “Change is at the core of what we do, and it’s critical that our sales staff and finance team recognize that. Hearing Jarryd talk about how he embraced change to get back in the game – that had a huge impact on our employees. I think they came away with a better understanding of how to adjust and come out on top.”