In honor of National Women’s Equality day, I’m recapping the best interviews in my women in automotive series.
Although Women’s equality day was August 26th, we don’t think you can put a time limit on something like this.
In July I spoke with Lauren Wolfe, the Senior Manager of Consumer Experience for Drive Motors. She says all women need to succeed are to be given more opportunities, “I can’t tell you how many times in my own career let alone just witnessing it in the store that i see customers walk past the male salesperson to work with a female because they feel more comfortable.”
In May, I sat down with Jay Rao, at the DrivingSales Presidents Club in Fort Lauderdale Florida. Rao is the Professor of Strategy and Innovation at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and says the automotive industry won’t be able to adapt and change without more women.
“It is a completely testosterone driven industry we need way more estrogen in your industry.”
He also says men could learn a few things from the way women lead, “They are very different leaders they are more empathetic much greater empathy men suck at empathy that's why customer experience hasn’t changed because men don’t have empathy.”
Kathy Gilbert, Director of Sales and Business Development at CDK, spoke me with via video interview in early August. The one piece of advice she gave to women who wish to succeed in this industry is to speak up.
“I think women need to leverage their voice. Be authentic you have something to say.”
She realizes speaking up and getting a seat the table is not easy work. But after you do it one time, it will get easier, “Once you start speaking it gives you the confidence to keep speaking. Once you step up it gives you the confidence to keep doing that,” She said. “You’ve gotta get past that initial 'oh wait i don’t know'. Once you get past that and you speak up, and speak your mind it gets easier to do.”
Laurie Foster, Executive Director Auxilio Group also attended Presidents Club in May. She’s hopeful that the industry is changing to be more accepting of women, but says the fight isn’t close to over.
“The numbers are growing but it’s really important that we think not for one second we are close to acceptable levels of women let alone normalized levels."