How Women In Automotive Benefits the Auto Industry

How Women In Automotive Benefits the Auto Industry

WIA seeks to break down old stereotypes in a way that truly creates channels of opportunity where both women and men can participate.

In today’s modern world, it seems at every corner you hear someone chatting about diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). Unfortunately, real dialogue and progress toward a truly diverse and inclusive culture become watered down with political agendas, feel-good movements and a general perversion of equity’s definition.

However, I have found one such organization in the automotive industry that has an agenda worth learning more about. Women In Automotive (WIA) was formed in 2014 and is currently managed by Veronica Dunford, Kathy Gilbert and Gary May, and operated by their board of directors. Their vision is simply, “To educate, motivate and champion the cause that women can thrive in the automotive industry.” The old stereotype that the auto industry is just for men simply is not true. WIA seeks to break down this stereotype in a way that truly creates channels of opportunity where both women and men can participate.

Why would this be important? With an abundance of change in our industry happening daily, how does this benefit us collectively?

Two critical stats come to mind for me:

  1. What seems to be the most obvious, the automotive industry is the second largest retail segment in our economy. Simple math tells you there are millions of women car buyers. The best in our industry, from the vendor base to the retail dealer, realize the benefits of understanding a woman’s buying persona and the importance of using this knowledge to their advantage.
  2. Women make up a significant component of our collective workforce. Having an industry that embraces this vast pool of resources ensures a better and more fulfilling experience for employees, dealers, vendors and consumers.

OK…so how does Women In Automotive help?

  • WIA seeks to attract all those who wish to support the empowerment of women in the automotive industry, be them women or men. We all have a purpose. However, it’s incumbent upon each of us to realize our passion and then go after it. By providing women with a support structure, those women are able to believe that their passion can translate into a rich career in what has historically been categorized as a male-dominated industry.
  • WIA invites collaboration between a diverse group of people with common interests. If the industry collectively creates a place where free exchange of ideas from a broad perspective is welcomed, no doubt the results will follow. WIA promotes this type of collaboration that, in the end, becomes the engine for innovation in our industry. By including men in their conversations, they have a chance to change the long-standing narrative.
  • WIA educates through content, career development, events and outreach to invite women to explore this industry.
  • WIA also provides mentorship programs, giving men and women the additional tools to excel. When learning about what makes the most successful people win, 100% of them have and/or had mentors, advisors and confidants. WIA makes finding the right mentor in the industry easy and affordable.

Wait…I forgot to explain that sentence…it did say mentor men and women? Yes, although the W in WIA stands for women, it does not exclude men. The idea of mentorship is to gain a uniquely different perspective than your own, to learn from mentors’ previous experiences to better your present and future endeavors. Championing for women and men to both be mentors and seek mentorship just makes sense to me.

Any business that promotes self-awareness, challenging us to exceed our own internal expectations will win in the marketplace.

These are just a few key elements of how the work at Women In Automotive is helping this industry. In the end, WIA remains a strong catalyst, a change agent if you will, to promote women and men in automotive. Through its outreach, I am confident that the insights this industry fosters will improve our collective goals.

I invite each of you to attend the upcoming Women In Automotive Annual Conference on May 15-18, 2024, at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, CO.  www.womeninautomotive.com/conference 

For more information: [email protected] / www.womeninautomotive.com

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