Beating the odds

The CADA Laureate winners featured in this issue are truly deserving of the award, and now join the ranks of a group of dealers who are legends in our industry.

It’s tough to become a CADA Laureate. Really tough.

Only three Laureates are named each year, in three distinct categories.

The odds are very much against you: first of all, you have to be among Canada’s 3,200-plus car dealers who are CADA members.

Next, you have to be deemed worthy by your peers—you can’t self-nominate. The nominations can come from fellow dealers, manufacturers, suppliers, or from association executives.

CADA receives several hundred nominations annually from industry stakeholders. The nominators have to provide a detailed submission outlining all the reasons they are a worthy candidate.

So, doing some rough math, your odds of even being nominated are less than 10 per cent.

From there, those submissions are vetted down into 15 finalists—five for each of the three categories of Ambassadorship, Business Innovation, and Retail Operations.

You have about a 5 per cent change to make it to the top 15, out of the approximately 300 submissions. (I’m using 300 as a rough count, as I don’t know the actual number of submissions.)

When you are one of the 15 finalists, your odds improve slightly and are now up to 20 per cent of being named a winner. But the odds are tricky here, because the final decision is made by independent judges from Ivey Business School at Western University in Ontario.

But going all the way back to the universe of about 3,200 dealers, your chance of being named a CADA Laureate is really only about 0.09 per cent. Which is why Canadian auto dealer magazine shines a bright light on the Laureate winners and finalists: they are truly the most exclusive group of car dealers in Canada.

The CADA Laureate winners featured in this issue are deserving of the award, and now join the ranks of a group of dealers who are legends in our industry.

So, congratulations to Mike Stollery, Michael Rawluk and Michelle Melendy!

For the past 10 years, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing each of the winning Laureates just after they were informed of their victory. It’s always a highlight for me.

CADA receives several hundred nominations annually from industry stake-holders including dealers, manufacturers, suppliers and association executives.

Something one of this year’s Laureates asked me inspired me to write this editorial. “What do the Laureates have in common?”

I’d like to share a few of my thoughts on that front, and this might just help you increase your own odds of joining the CADA Laureates.

They are decent people. Like, really decent, likeable people. They truly care about their communities and their teams. They give back to their communities because they can afford to, but also because it’s the right thing to do.

They always put their teams first and insist on sharing the recognition. They realize they didn’t get to the top on their own.

They are curious, innovative and always looking to try new approaches.

They are good business people. They measure results and performance and hold themselves and others accountable.

They respect their fellow dealers, and have high regard for the other Laureates. They understand what it means to wear a CADA Laureate jacket, and they want to give back to their industry.

They often reflect back on a parent, or mentor who helped them out along the way or inspired them. They in turn, become an inspiration for others.

So, if that list above sounds like a dealer you know, then nominate them next year!

About Todd Phillips

Todd Phillips is the editorial director of Universus Media Group Inc. and the editor of Canadian auto dealer magazine. Todd can be reached at

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