62% of all new cars sold in the U.S. are bought by women, and they influence more than 85% of all car purchases, according to data from Cars.com. So, why aren’t more women working in the retail automotive industry? To gain some insight into this question, anchor Jim Fitzpatrick spoke with Amy Phillis, Dealer Principal of Griffin Motors out of Pennsylvania. Today on Diversity in Automotive, Amy shares her story and her advice for other women considering careers in the automotive industry.
Phillis is a fourth-generation dealer principal, having grown up in the car business and, after completing her Master’s degree, returned to the dealership and began working in the service department. Two years later, in 2004, she became the dealer principal.
When asked why there are not more women like herself working in retail automotive, Phillis says a lot of it has to do with perception. When she returned to the dealership in the early 2000s, Phillis says she was intimidated and fearful of high-level business meetings with dealers and OEMs because she was often the only woman in the room. As time passed, Phillis realized that her male counterparts treated her no differently than anyone else.
From her perspective, Phillis thinks that women need to be more visible in the auto industry. When women see other women in successful leadership roles, they realize that it’s possible to be successful in this industry. Retail automotive is no longer an old-school boys club. In fact, Phillis mentors local high schoolers and demonstrates how women can be successful business owners.
Work-life balance is also a major consideration for not only women but younger generations too. Phillis says that a better work-life balance can really help break down barriers for parents who need the flexibility to raise their children. At her dealership, Phillis’ employees have the flexibility to schedule appointments and attend their kids’ extracurricular activities.