Melissa Sinclair, VP Strategic Business Initiatives for ProMax   

2021 Honoree

VP Strategic Business Initiative

What is the proudest accomplishment of your career thus far?  

Each individual recognition and additional responsibility that came along my path validated my ability to contribute and lead others, but my promotion to an executive at ProMax was an incredibly gratifying representation of all the time and effort I put in leading to that moment. Also, being able to have a fulfilling career in an amazing organization, and raise my children without compromise is something I am very proud of and thankful for.   


What is your best advice to other women who want to excel in the automotive industry?   

Trust and believe in yourself, keep your emotions in check, and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.  

Trust and Belief – The biggest challenge for me when entering the industry was establishing credibility. However, I was confident in my own ability and relentlessly worked to prove it to others. Thankfully I work for a company that appreciates hard work and recognizes quality contribution no matter what shape or size it comes from.   

Keep Emotions Under Control – This is different than being vulnerable — that makes you human, but emotion clouds judgement. So, when it comes to making decisions and earning the right to be heard, it is important that people recognize the thoughtfulness of your words and your expertise behind them, instead of your message getting lost by how it was delivered.     

Get Dirty – My dad taught me I could accomplish anything in life that I wanted to and that any goal I had for my myself would come to fruition through hard work. He told me that everything I needed was already within me, not because I am a woman, but because I am his daughter. This is the single biggest confidence I have carried with me, and it has continually driven me to never give up on anything I believe in, no matter what level of effort it takes to accomplish.   


What are some of the ways you have seen the industry support women?  

Honors like this are few and far between, which makes it even more special to receive. While I am not widely familiar with organizations or resources available to women in the automotive industry, I have been fortunate enough to work for a company that recognizes talent and rewards when goals are accomplished, for men and women alike. The environment at ProMax fosters opportunity and promotes a culture of supportive, intelligent and talented individuals who hold each other accountable at a very high level. I never felt like I didn’t have a chance to win here at ProMax, which speaks volumes for any company in the automotive industry. #WhyProMax  


What is one thing the industry could do better/differently to support women?   

Acknowledge their power and influence before being asked to. Women tend to get overlooked because by nature they operate differently than men. Whether being less assertive or simply less vocal about what they want or believe they deserve, women will often agree to take on additional responsibility for their own personal growth, but don’t necessarily get financially rewarded for it. And despite the proven positive impact women have on increasing revenue, accelerating growth, mentoring team members and maintaining a level of stability, many times women simply don’t get the credit they deserve. Ultimately, women are looking for someone to inspire them and help them grow. So, if you see someone doing well, with a hunger and a desire to do better, empower them to do better!  

Until working at ProMax, I encountered many situations where my contribution was undervalued, which ultimately led me to seek opportunity elsewhere. I never expected acknowledgment because I was a woman, but I did expect it because of my hard work and the results of my direct contribution.   

If more companies will proactively recognize women who perform at a high level, instead of continuing to operate under the belief that men have more potential, they will certainly experience positive impacts on their business. There should be mentorship programs and opportunities for everyone you employ, and any time you recognize and promote ambitious hard-working individuals, regardless of gender, you will directly reap the benefits.