Women buy 62% of cars and make 85% of car-buying decisions, yet women hold only 26.7% of auto sector jobs, and it gets worse as you climb the ladder: only 13% of the C-suite is women – including the CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra – and “over half of the top 20 companies in this industry have zero women on their executive teams,” according to research firm Catalyst.
Here are 10 tips from Lee’s story for how women can excel in a male-dominated industry:
Stay competitive: GM’s restructuring is to follow market trends they see. Lee developed innovative digital marketing tools to follow trends on the marketing side of the business.
Take risks, speak up: GM and Barra are taking big risks by doing this restructuring and these layoffs now. "The most important thing for women right now in this industry is to take risks…Say what your great idea is and find the people to help you execute those great ideas.” Those ideas can accelerate your career, and those people can become your advocates.
Seize opportunities: One of the keys to Lee’s success has been taking advantage of opportunities, such as, the chance to demonstrate her firm’s capabilities, or applying to be a communications coach with the General Motors “Coaching for Excellence” program.
Develop a thick skin: The auto industry “can be very intimidating, because you are one of very few women….Also, because there are groups of good ol’ boys out there and groups of men who are not always appropriate,” Lee explained.
Be a sponge and diligent: Learn everything you can about the industry and the vehicles you work with. Lee thinks the auto industry “embraces intelligence,” and that smart, hard-working women “can move up quickly” and make a lot of money.
Observe your colleagues: Lee learned a lot in her early career by watching how her colleagues sold cars – from learning the dealership’s systems, to how to talk to customers – while also developing her own style.
Read the whole article here.