Ford Motor Company of Canada President/CEO Beverly Goodman echoed a comment from hockey great Wayne Gretzky when offering some career advice, specifically about taking chances, to the attendees at the second annual Empowering Auto Conference.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” said Goodman. “It’s so true for all of us as we go through life.”
The 2023 event took place on Sept. 18 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Ont., and attracted a crowd of 550-plus attendees, that is two and a half times more than the inaugural conference last year at the Aga Khan Museum. Many of the attendees were students who were there because of generous sponsorship from companies that purchased tickets.
Goodman, who began her career at Ford in 1996 as an intern on the financial team, and who served in a variety of functions before being appointed to her current position in February 2001, said the industry has changed dramatically since she began; it’s now more inclusive.
“There were often times when I may have been the only woman in the room or the only female at the table. I didn’t let that bother me. I didn’t let it get to me,” said Goodman. She told attendees to lead with their core values.
“Really thinking about who you are, what defines you, what matters to you, and why it matters to you and really having a deep understanding of that,” said Goodman. “Because you’ll accomplish many things in your life, but at the end of each day you want to able to look at yourself and say ‘I’m really proud of what I accomplished, but more important, I’m proud of how I did it.’”
Empowering Auto, which was co-founded by Hyundai Canada executives Katherine Mior, Aryan Habib, and Jenn McCarthy, is a federally registered non-profit organization created to help change the face of the automotive industry and make it more inclusive and representative of Canada’s diverse customer base.
“That’s why we took gender out of the title (when creating Empowering Auto),” said Mior in an interview with Canadian auto dealer. “We didn’t make it ‘empowering women,’ because we wanted people to know that everybody is included and we are on a journey to make the entire automotive industry more diverse. We don’t want to exclude anybody. It’s open to all of us who are here to learn and to bring awareness. I think that’s a big part of it. We are focusing on women with much of our panel discussion, but this compass can grow bigger than that as well.”
Mior said Empowering Auto is unique compared to other types of industry conferences geared towards diversification. “This could be an auto show of sorts,” said Mior. “There’s more brands here than at some auto shows. That’s pretty awesome as well.”
Habib said targeting sponsorship support helped to invite students and expose them to various aspects of the industry, along with the many types of jobs available. “At the end of the day we need to introduce fresh talent to our dynamic industry,” said Habib. “How do you do that without exposing them to our industry?”