Wednesday, April 6 was the first annual Women & Automotive conference at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto, presented by Cox Automotive Canada. Speakers at this event included Erin Elofson from Facebook Canada, France Daviault from AIA Canada, and our very own Trish Rowsell. The goal of this conference was to bring together both male and female automotive professionals to discuss the challenges faced by women in the industry, and this goal was definitely achieved. There were over 200 attendees from all facets of the automotive industry including OEMs, fixed operations, finance, sales and more. There were also informative panels with an impressive line-up of speakers including representatives from Facebook, Canadian Black Book, and General Motors.
One inspiring keynote speech titled ‘Creating a Pipeline of Female Managers’ was delivered by Maria Soklis, President of Cox Automotive Canada. She discussed how reputable studies have determined that companies with the largest performance gains are those that have a pipeline of female managers as opposed to a token female executive stuck somewhere on the corporate ladder.
Trish spoke about how dealers can remain profitable in lean economic times and gave them straightforward, relevant strategies that they could take back to the dealership with them. Using examples from her industry experience, she gave dealers realistic and effective ways to decrease marketing costs and still reach, or even exceed their sales goals.
Even though the automotive industry has come a long way, there is still a lot of room for improvement. At Strathcom, we definitely know the value of having an equal workplace. Over half of our management team are women, and 75% of our sales team are women. We hope to see the number of women in the automotive industry continue to increase this year as it has been for the past 10 years, and we look forward to seeing even more attendees at the Women & Automotive Conference next year – April 5, 2017!