In our complex, ever-changing and fast-paced automotive industry, opportunities to take stock and assess progress can be few and far between. At Cox Automotive, our goal is to continue to strengthen and inspire our workforce, while we forge ahead and aim to be among the most progressive companies in the world.
Cox Automotive’s Women With Drive initiative was borne out of a strong desire to nurture and better support female empowerment and leadership opportunities in the workplace. In Canada, we recently held our third Women With Drive event, an action-packed visit to Long Point Eco-Adventures in St. Williams, Ontario, where we broke down personal barriers and spent quality time brainstorming and problem-solving with numerous female team members. Those in attendance included administrators, project managers, HR professionals, technical advisors, accountants, marketers, salespeople, drivers, strategists, and more.
Our time together provided us with a perfect opportunity to plan for the future, measure progress and success, while simultaneously discussing where women are today in the automotive industry. Additional topics of discussion included:
- Supporting team members through a more formal mentorship program
- The importance of empowering fellow female team members
- Evolving the onboarding process to include an immersion of the company’s other business units
- Increasing cross-brand job shadowing opportunities
- Opening the doors to more female co-op employees
The leading women in the automotive and high-tech industries have developed a reputation for being honest about the struggles they’ve faced and the sacrifices they’ve had to make in order to achieve a healthy work-life balance and to get to where they are today.
As Cox Automotive Canada’s leader, I aim to be strong and effective when it comes to defining boundaries, but I also want to provide an example of what it means to be somebody who recognizes the importance of shaping a culture for the next generation. I didn’t get here on my own. Over the years, I’ve known leaders and had role models who ensured I was consistently supported and steadily progressed throughout my career.
Advocates of gender diversity in the workplace know the ingredients for success are not just about being socially progressive. Studies increasingly show that having a pipeline of women on your team is good for the company’s bottom line. My goal is to encourage a culture at Cox Automotive Canada that offers our team members – male and female alike – a chance to realize their dreams.
Our primary objective with this third Women With Drive event was to see our female team members walk away with new information that would help them to further their careers, as well as the careers of their female team members and counterparts.
Everywhere you look across Cox Automotive Canada’s various business units, there are woman who are, in some way, helping to build or contribute to the company’s success. Our Women With Drive events have the power to provide inspiration for more of that same thing.
There is one element, I’ve noticed, that consistently unites the various participants in Canada’s Women With Drive initiatives, and that is our commitment and desire to seeing women get ahead in the workplace. And to that I say, “Keep going. Remember why you started, work hard, and make the sky the limit!”
President, Cox Automotive Canada
Maria Soklis was named President of Cox Automotive Canada on June 8, 2015. Maria, who leads the development and execution of Cox Automotive’s Canadian business strategy and operations, is also responsible for the Manheim, NextGear Capital, Dealertrack Canada and Ready Logistics businesses, in addition to integrating other Cox Automotive businesses and brands into Canada.