MarketSource Women in Automotive: Walking the Talk and Beating the Odds

What’s the Percentage of Women in the Automotive Industry?

Women influence 85% of car buying decisions and represent 62% of car buyers, and there are 1.4 million more women with driver’s licenses in the U.S. than men, says Forbes.

 

Yet only 27.1% of automotive industry leadership positions are held by women. At  MarketSource, women occupy 34% of our automotive leadership positions, putting us 7 percentage points above the industry average.

How did we get here, and how are we driving industry diversity and change? Through a culture that makes it possible for women to excel, no matter their goals, including attending networking and leadership events.

We recently sponsored two of our up-and-coming women automotive program leaders to attend the Automotive News Leading Women Conference 2024.

Headshot of Gina Meadors

Gina Crouch, Program Director

A MarketSource 2024 Woman of the Week and Program Director for our largest automotive program, Gina began her career selling new homes for Pulte Homes. She found her way to the Allegis family through TEK Systems in IT staffing, recruiting, and sales. With MarketSource since 2013, Gina initially worked as a recruiting manager and has been promoted multiple times to the leadership role she currently holds. She has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and sales from the University of Georgia.

Headshot of Gina Meadors

Katie Gordon, Program Director

Katie learned leadership skills early in her career, beginning with her first job in marketing for the John Maxwell Company. From there, her career path has been anything but linear, with positions in outside sales, business development, and program management. She joined MarketSource as lead management in 2020 and quickly worked her way into her current Program Director role. Recently recognized for her leadership potential, Katie was selected to participate in the #GirlsClub sales leadership development program in 2023 and for the MarketSource Women in Leadership program in 2024. Katie holds a Communications degree from the University of Georgia.

I spoke with them when they returned, and here’s what they had to say.

Q: What did you hope to get out of the conference?

Gina: I was looking forward to meeting and learning from other women in the field and from things I hadn’t been exposed to before. I wanted to understand more about influential women in leadership in automotive and how they got to where they are in their career.

Katie: I was excited for the networking opportunities, about increasing my automotive knowledge, and connecting with other women in the industry.   

Q: What learnings resonated with you that will help you in your career?

Gina: The panelists talked a lot about the prevalence and problem of imposter syndrome and combatting it by being true to yourself. It was helpful to hear not just that other women in the field deal with it but experience it differently and how they’ve navigated it while staying true to themselves.

I was pleasantly surprised by one speaker, who was positive and confident. Rather than conforming to be like her male counterparts or compromising her true self to get ahead, she’s found success through her feminine energy and joyful personality.

Another speaker reminded us not to apologize, to speak with conviction, and to couple being your authentic self with awareness. Yet another emphasized how critical it is to build each other up rather than compete for the few openings that exist. With inappropriate jokes so common in a male-dominated field, it’s important not to filter everything you say through others’ lenses and to rise above them if you want to have an impact.

I learned about the value of having both a sponsor and a mentor. Mentors guide you, while sponsors can help advocate for you. Your sponsor needs to be at the right level to help you get where you want to go.

I also learned that 50% of people say they don’t have a single person at work they can trust, which shocked and saddened me. I can’t imagine how anyone can succeed without that in ANY field. At MarketSource, I work with at least a dozen people I can trust. 

Katie: I appreciated hearing about the diverse career paths other women have followed and the challenges they’d faced along the way. It was very validating, because we have to balance unique challenges that our male counterparts don’t, such as being a working mom in a predominantly male field. MarketSource is really supportive of women, but at other companies, I’ve felt held back for prioritizing my family.

The networking was excellent—a goldmine of an opportunity to find common ground with other women industry leaders whose companies’ values align with our mission and vision. For example, I met a woman who sells a product that one of our clients uses. It turns out her product could really help my team and make them more efficient.

One speaker also explored the five dimensions of workplace well-being and how each impacts us in our career: physical, career, financial, community, emotional.

Did you know that statistically, our bosses have more impact on our mental health than our spouses?!  Hearing that put a lot of things in perspective for me.

Q: What’s your hope for the future of women in automotive?

Gina: I have a lot of hope, but I’ve realized we can’t drive change or forge a sustainable path on our own. Individual work is important, but we have to bring others along with us, and we have to help each other grow. It’s also crucial to build relationships with the right sponsors who are willing to be innovative in their thinking and in the ways they foster the next generation.

Katie: I hope to see more women start their automotive careers younger and become leaders sooner. As a manager of 30 recruiters in the field, I’m on the front lines. I’m encouraged to see that more women continue to enter the field, and they bring a lot of value. For example, female techs tend to be extremely strong performers who are very driven and loyal to the dealers they work for.

My team is working to attract even more by educating young women on the value of working in a trade and on the career options in the automotive field. We try to educate students and parents about what it means to work in a trade and what a career path might look like. We do this by holding career events at high schools that have automotive programs, which gives students and parents alike the chance to hear the facts and ask questions.

Q: How can MarketSource play a role in increasing the number of women in automotive?

Gina: Our Women’s Employee Resource Group is important, because it’s a safe space for women to share ANY of their ideas and an outlet to overcome the things that are holding them back. For example, most things you need to do to move up require confidence. The more you practice putting yourself out there, the more confident you’ll be letting go of your hesitancy to say what the men in the room didn’t, and the more comfortable you’ll become bringing your strengths forward, which diminishes imposter syndrome.

Katie: MarketSource is already very invested in growing women in leadership. We just need to continue keeping that investment at the forefront. Along with the Women’s Employee Resource Group, The Women in Leadership program they have will continue to develop Women in Leadership roles.

Learn more about our innovative automotive program and how our commitment to diversity sets us apart.

Author: Karen Salamone

Author: Karen Salamone

Karen is Head of Marketing for MarketSource. She is a transformational B2B and B2B2C leader with a history of building marketing organizations, content teams, and demand generation centers of excellence from the ground up. She is recognized for delivering meaningful insights and fresh approaches and for earning best-in-class content, design, and multi-media awards.

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