Virtual event celebrated female achievement while highlighting the amazing career opportunities available in the automotive and business sectors.
On April 12, the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association hosted its 2022 Women Driven Virtual Industry Event.
Celebrating the achievements and opportunities available for women in the automotive space, attendees had the opportunity to listen to some truly inspirational and fascinating content.
Introduced by Petrina Gentile, award-winning automotive journalist and Globe and Mail contributor, the event kicked off with an inspiring session from Nour Hachem-Fawaz, President and Founder of We Build a Dream.
Never give up
Providing some insight into her background, in which she faced many challenges growing up, Hachem-Fawaz discussed the importance of never giving up on your dreams and the importance of nurturing yourself in order to help others. Her own story provided some valuable information about how to overcome fear, doubt, and outside influences that often distract and discourage and how real success comes from persistence and determination. We Build a Dream, a national non-profit, was created to inform of opportunities and create defined career paths for young women, while also providing them with resources and professional development tools. The organization also focuses on addressing industry labour gaps and skills shortages, helping women fill those roles.
A Career Roadmap panel discussion brought together successful women from different areas of the automotive industry, who were able to provide insight and perspective on their own careers as well as the opportunities available in the industry for young women today.
Hosted by Petrina Gentile, the discussion included Jennifer Okoeguale, Regional Marketing Manager, Toyota Canada; Francine Floreani, Dealer Principle Great Lakes Honda in Sault Ste. Marie and Christine Mitchell, President, The Car Lady Canada. The panel discussion provided a background on each of the guest speakers, their own career development, and how the industry has changed significantly over the last two decades with more opportunities for women than ever before. Jennifer Okoegaule discussed her own journey in the corporate/OEM side and how that determination and commitment can be very rewarding, having a dramatic impact on career growth and development.
Francine Floreani, a successful businesswoman and dealer, stressed the importance of relationships in automotive retailing and that while we often refer to it as the car business, it really is a people business.
Christine Mitchell recalled her time as an automotive technician, service advisor, and sales professional and how it led to establishing The Car Lady Canada, leveraging her expertise to provide a solution that’s highly valued by both consumers and dealers.
An open mind
Following the panel discussion, Petrina Gentile had a virtual fireside chat with Claudia Sciama Managing Director of Auto and Consumer Goods, Google Canada.
Sciama talked about her experience in moving from one country (Brazil) to another (Canada) and how learning a new language, a new role and about a different culture can be challenging. She stressed that the important thing, when faced with big changes like this, is to have an open mind and be willing to adapt. By the same token, Sciama also stressed the importance of utilizing your strengths and being patient with yourself as effective change and improvement often take time.
As a mother of four, she also emphasized the importance of properly allocating time for work and specifically for family and personal matters and that while the automotive industry still tends to be male-dominated, gender doesn’t need to be a focal point for women, especially as they gain experience and confidence in their careers.