Five Ways to Support Women in Automotive
Women face many hurdles when pursuing careers in the automotive industry. When it comes to employing women in dealerships, there is a ninety percent turnover rate. Few women think of pursuing careers in automotive and those who do often face obstacles. There are few women working in the industry and even fewer in leadership positions.
However, these are not facts these women take lying down. The Women in Automotive conference was created specifically for the purpose of supporting and encouraging women in the industry and inciting them to make changes that will reverse many of the current disparities and obstacles that they come up against. As Lisa Copeland of The Culture Works mentioned in the opening keynote address, “If the women of the world came together at the same time, for the same mission, they would be unstoppable.”
Here are some of the inspirational charges we took away from the power-packed event.
Be a Woman Who Fears Less
Lisa Copeland began the conference wearing her answer to how to be stronger women on her shirt: be fearless. She shares six traits of unapologetically fearless women: they speak up, celebrate other women, ask for what they deserve, aren’t defined by age, call people out and know when it’s time to walk away. She and others highlighted women’s tendency to be their own worst enemy and dared everyone to take control over their own journey and to fear LESS.
Support Each Other’s Careers
Bill Huffaker of General Motors took to the stage to address oppression and provide ways to address and counteract our own biases as well as those we experience. He went on to highlight ways that we can help other women’s careers and warn us about our simultaneous ability to hinder. He encouraged the women to create support networks that could provide emotional support as well as a “feedback” and “feedforward” loop designed to reflect and set goals to continue to grow in our careers. Erich Gail of the Cardinale group shared the secret sauce behind their strong business (where so many women are leaders). He highlighted the importance of building strong relationships and leading first by serving
Women are Needed to Meet Customer Demand
It’s not just about getting women in to the industry for the sake of equality; it meets a growing demand from consumers. Women have begun to outpace men in terms of car ownership as well as purchase influence. In fact, women influence 85% of purchasing decisions. However, there are few women in dealerships to meet other women when they walk into a showroom. Not only that, but because of this disparity, 90% of women feel that car dealers don’t take them seriously. Marc Bland of IHS Automotive addressed these inequalities and challenged the industry to think of how much more profitable it could be if only it brought women into the dealership.
Vulnerability and Confidence is Key to Success
Tammie Lebleu of Autoloop brought many to tears as she shared her story about overcoming her own mistakes to become one of the most successful saleswomen in the process. She continually stressed the importance of sharing your journey and being vulnerable with your team. On a similar note, Emily Miller of Soulside Network emphasized how to check your ego at the door and commit to building a quality team. She encouraged others to be confident, not cocky; know your value, don’t overvalue yourself.
Mentor, Mentor, Mentor
Throughout the conference, many different speakers and leaders reiterated the importance of mentorship to supporting women in their careers. They encouraged women to find mentors if they didn’t already have them, and to look for women (and men) they could learn and grow from, not with whom they could just “exchange ignorance.” Kathy Gilbert of CDK Global, spoke of the necessity for other women in the industry to offer themselves up to other women as mentors through the newly launched Women Powered University.
After a whirlwind weekend, we were left inspired and empowered and ready to head back into our offices and dealerships, armed with the tools to attract, retain and empower women in the automotive industry.