Women & Automotive Leadership: Ashley Middleton
We are pleased to share that Ashley Middleton has been chosen as the recipient of a prestigious award presented by Auto Remarketing Canada. The Women & Automotive Leadership Award is given to women in the Canadian automotive industry who exemplify strong leadership abilities. Ashley will receive the award at the Women & Automotive Leadership Forum in Toronto on March 21st and will be moderating a panel at the event as well.
Ashley was featured in the latest edition of Auto Remarketing Canada magazine (page 7). Continue reading or click here to view.
ARC: How is the Canadian auto business most different than when you first started out?
The Canadian automotive business has changed significantly since I started in the industry almost eight years ago primarily due to the changes we have seen in technology. I started at autoTRADER.ca the same year we began transitioning our dealers to online only solutions and away from magazines. Since then, the industry has completely embraced the technological advancements and has pivoted to adapt to the changing behaviours of the automotive consumer.
ARC: What are the biggest challenges facing the Canadian car business today, and conversely, where do you see the biggest opportunities for the Canadian car business?
I think one of the biggest challenges to the automotive industry today is the change in behaviour of Canadian car buyers. The consumer attitude towards purchasing a vehicle/owning a vehicle has changed drastically in the last 10 years. Younger generations are less interested in owning a vehicle due to the availability that they have to public transit and ride sharing businesses. There will always be a need for vehicles but there is significant opportunity for the automotive industry to embrace the new areas of the industry such as ride sharing.
ARC: At almost any workplace, problems or challenging situations will inevitably pop up. How do you as a leader handle those situations?
I handle the challenges head on. Pushing challenges away or running from any problem will lead to even more challenges in the future. I work with a great team at autoTRADER.ca and I rely heavily on my team when I come up against a challenge that I don’t think I can face alone. I am a true believer that collaboration is the key to a successful team.
ARC: What is a leadership/management tactic you employ that is unique or might surprise people?
I strive to lead by example as a leader every day because I believe you can’t expect people to change without first changing yourself. I do my best to be a positive model within my organization to encourage others to do the same. However, as a leader it is important to understand what makes your team tick. Some leadership tactics work with some people while others are not as receptive to the same tactics. Understanding your team and learning from your past experiences is extremely important as a leader.
ARC: We at Auto Remarketing Canada, of course, are big proponents of reading. What is a book you have read that has influenced or helped your career?
On an average day I spend at least three hours behind the wheel driving to customer meetings. A few years ago I discovered that the best use of this time, was to listen to audio books that I would otherwise normally read. I have been able to “read” so many more books this way and I believe it has absolutely influenced my professional and personal life. A book that I read recently that has helped shape my career is “The Myth of the Nice Girl” by Fran Hauser. I have been told several times in my career that I am “too nice” and was often considered a push over. For years I thought I would need to change my attitude completely in order to succeed and reach my goals. This booked helped me understand that as a leader I can still be nice and be a successful leader. In fact, through Fran’s book I have learned how to take this “nice girl” trait and use it to accelerate my career and become and even better leader.