Changing the Narrative from Insight to Action
Kira Pinard-Welyczko
| 19 February 2020

Changing the Narrative from Insight to Action

Key Insights from CDK Global and the 2019 Women in Automotive Winter Conference

Women in the industry are driving forward, but not fast enough

Google’s Thomais Zaremba kicked off the conference by sharing a startling insight: “At our current rate of change, it will take 108 more years to close the gender gap”.1

Networking, attending conferences and sharing personal stories are simply not enough to move the needle and create space for women to grow and develop into industry leaders. Thomais’ insight left me wondering what actions are women, our male peers, and corporations really taking to walk the walk behind all this supporting women talk?

Take CDK Global for example:

  • Two of 12 Executive Leadership Team members are women
  • Moving down a level, a mere 40 percent of VP-level leaders are women
  • Overall, only 36 percent of CDK employees are women

Take the industry as a whole:

  • The C-Suite Gap: A 2019 study by Korn Ferry found that across the most prominent C-suite titles, an average of only 25 percent of top leaders are women (up a mere 3 percent from a year ago).2
  • The Pay Gap: In 2019, women only made $0.79 for every dollar made by men.3
  • Promotion Preferences: A 2018 study found that women are more likely to promote women, and men are more likely to promote men.4

Gathering and sharing this data is vital to increase awareness, but awareness is merely the first step to change. As women, it’s our responsibility both to discuss these issues and to act to combat them. This action comes in the form of career ownership.

Successful Women in Automotive Own Their Career Growth

Multiple presentations featured women’s personal stories of advocating for themselves, building knowledge, bouncing back from failure, and confidently participating — even as the only woman in the room.

  •’s Kerry Wise talked about building a strong foundation of knowledge by working in many varied roles, allowing her to grow and be promoted internally without hassle. Through doing a job before moving into it, she has been able to gently and strategically prove her ability to manage all responsibilities tied to a new role — turning promotions from a question to a no-brainer.
  • CMO Brooke Skinner Ricketts shared her experience of growing simultaneously as a marketing professional, partner and mother. She offered simple but powerful tips that have helped her succeed in all aspects of her life:
    • Do the hardest thing on your list FIRST. Tackling challenges creates the space, time and motivation to do more.
    • Leadership is not a title. The currency of leadership is INFLUENCE.
    • Know what you're worth. Know what you value. Negotiate for BOTH. Women don't ask, women should ask.
  • RepairPal's Jill Trotta shared her story of proving her worth and asking for the responsibility and pay she felt she deserved and getting it not once, but multiple times!
  • Chasing Bentleys author Melissa Burrow shared the sheer power of accountability in transforming lives and organizations.

Ultimately, these women did not wait for opportunities to suddenly appear, or for their value to be realized and rewarded by others. They created opportunities for themselves through hard work, constant learning and action.

Women in Dealerships Today Pave the Way

At CDK, Kathy Gilbert has championed female dealer relationships and we’re proud to have nearly 500 female dealers as customers. This is more than twice that of our major competitors — Reynolds & Reynolds, Dealertrack and Auto/Mate.

Here are some successes that female dealers and dealers investing in female representation shared:

  • Del Grande Dealer Group (DGDG) shared their pride in having grown an employee team that is majority women (64%!).
  • Female Dealer Leaders shared stories of hiring and promoting women internally and helping them build the confidence needed to excel in traditionally male roles in both Sales and Service.

These insights prove that making intentional changes to recruit, hire and promote women at dealerships is not only possible, but can also pay off and change store cultures and customer experiences for the better.

The Power of Women in Customer Experience

CDK continues to conduct research around Women in Automotive to continue to advocate for and establish career paths for women in the industry. Through this research, we’ve examined the intersectionality between what female job-seekers, dealers and consumers want to inform solutions that work for everyone. Based on 30 interviews and a 200-respondent consumer survey, we’ve discovered what we believe to be a dealership trifecta: The Customer Experience Manager role.

  1. For women, this role provides a desirable opportunity (selected by the most women overall relative to other roles)5 with a clear growth path as an alternative to a pushy sales role or others that might require non-family-friendly hours.
  2. For dealers, CX Managers are often responsible for soft selling, long-term relationship building and customer satisfaction metrics.6 An investment in this role can pay dividends in OEM incentives and service revenue. Additionally, our Consumer Experience Survey suggested that contact with a CX Manager can result in a moderate increase in Net Promoter Score (NPS) (+17.7), a metric commonly used to track customer loyalty and retention7. Further, female consumers who interact with a CX manager show a strong lift in NPS relative to those who do not (+24.9).8
  3. CX Managers assert that for consumers, better female representation in this role can help to increase their level of comfort and willingness to set foot in a store in the first place.

Women in CX roles today are taking action and driving change in this male-dominated industry. And this is only the beginning.

1108 Years: 108 Years: Wait for Gender Equality Gets Longer as Women’s Share of Workforce, Politics Drops
(World Economic Forum, 2018);
Women C-Suite Ranks Nudge Up—a Tad (Korn Ferry Institute, 2019);
3The State of the Gender Pay Gap 2019 (Payscale, 2019);
4Men and Women on Career and Home Life (Fairygodboss, The Female Quotient, Progyngy, 2018);
5Job-Seeker Survey (CDK Global, 2019);
6 Customer Experience Manager Interviews (CDK Global, 2019);
7What is Net Promoter Score? Definition & Examples (Qualtrics, 2019);
8 Consumer Experience Survey (CDK Global, 2019);
Kira Pinard-Welyczko
Kira Pinard-Welyczko

<p><strong>Kira Pinard-Welyczko</strong> joined CDK Global in January 2019 and has rapidly built a strong foundation of knowledge around automotive retail, supporting CDK projects spanning market research, customer voice and product research. Before joining CDK, Kira conducted market and UX research projects for big technology clients in the Seattle area. She’s passionate about sifting through data to surface fresh insights and sharing untold stories through research. Outside of work, Kira’s a self-proclaimed foodie and music lover, and loves zipping around in her 2013 Subaru Forrester.</p>

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