Beth Beans Gilbert, Vice President of the Fred Beans Automotive Group, received the 2023 Barbara Cox Woman of the Year Award from Cox Automotive earlier this year. Ken Kraft, Chief Marketing Officer of Cox Automotive, and recipient Beth Beans Gilbert discuss the accolade on today’s Inside Automotive.
The Barbara Cox Woman of the Year Award was established in 2005 and was named after Cox Enterprise’s very own business pioneer director. According to Kraft, Cox embodied what it means to be a successful businesswoman not just via her exemplary work ethic in her field but also in and around her community. Every year, Cox Automotive conducts a thorough selection process to identify existing female employees in the sector who exhibit the qualities and accomplishments of Barbara. According to Kraft, “we go through a number of variables as far as what we’re looking for in a winner and this year, Beth rose to the top of the list this year.”
“This means a lot to me since I have worked so hard the last several years to elevate the female in the industry and hopefully impact a change in the culture.”- Beth Beans Gilbert
Since receiving the award, Gilbert has found it difficult to attract women in the industry, so as a leader, one of the things she is focused on addressing is creating a better balance between work and home life. Likewise, Gilbert states, “understanding the pay structure of the sector can sometimes be a deterrent for women. Therefore, at our auto group, we are attempting to alter some of our benefits, like maternity leave or other unheard of incentives in our field, to undoubtedly encourage more women to enter the business.”
Kraft explains the crucial importance of inclusion and diversity within the industry. He notes, “over half our senior leadership teams are women and our two largest business units are run by Grace Wong, leads the inventory and solutions group, and Lori Wittman, leader in retail solution groups.” He adds, “we are very focused on trying to create an environment where women can thrive in an industry, where historically, they haven’t.” From a marketing sales and operations perspective, Kraft is proud to work alongside the vast majority of his female coworkers.