We work in a fickle industry where negative stereotypes are fueled by a historical acrimony toward all of those that call dealerships home.
An industry where a large percentage of those employed are males with decades of archaic beliefs toward how shoppers want to buy and service their vehicles.
A business that has done very little to employ women, let alone champion them to fulfill leadership roles.
A marketplace with very little to no training provided on how to serve the majority of its primary and most influential consumers: Women.
Until now. And it’s a shame. While I am proud to be speaking at the upcoming Women in Automotive Conference in Orlando Florida later this month, I’m upset there even needs to be a conference dedicated to women. But there does need to be. Even as a man, I recognize that. Since entering automotive, I have hired, trained, championed, and mentored women because there is a need to do so.
We should have been more progressive, more professional, and more endearing to women candidates and women consumers throughout the years, but for generations, retail sales was dominated by men with big hearts toward the community, yet small minds toward the customer. Alas, it isn’t too late to turn it around.
If you are a woman in automotive, I implore you to bring this remarkable, first-of-its-kind conference to your ownership and management’s attention. It was designed for you by women like you. Every dealership should be investing their money and their attention to growing a female presence within their store, and it begins with supporting their current female staff’s education.
This is the first step for dealers to put their money where their mouth is. If you have been overlooked from being sent to other conferences that have came and went for no good reason, they are holding you back. This isn’t about “girl power”. This is about what’s right. Based upon the extremely affordable cost to attend this event, there is simply no good reason why a profitable dealership in 2015 can’t spare you for a few days and send you to Orlando in an effort to grow your knowledge, lift your spirits, and find a mentor.
If you work at the type of dealership where heavy-handed male management gets a glossed over look when you present this to them, before replying with a half-hearted “some other time”, it may be time for you to look elsewhere. If you are being stifled and unable to grow into a leadership position, you should instead spend time discovering other opportunities that exist within a more diverse and forward-thinking dealership nearby. Maybe your current management will see the err of their ways when you’re gone. As they say, you never know what you have until you have lost it.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to educate yourself among your true peers. I hope to see you in Orlando in two weeks at the Women in Automotive Conference.