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Not purchase related, but looking for advice on how to better handle being a women GM in a company of 17 other Male GM's. JS

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Jenny Trostel, Partner at Anderson of Hunt Valley Congratulations on your position. In a male dominated business, women are challenged everyday. Be tough, make smart decisions and don't get to bossy. The owner of your organization knows that you do good work, which is why you have the GM position. Stand firm, don't offer to do the "girl" stuff. Read every book that you can get your hands on to make you a better manager. As one of my sales managers said when someone asked about working with a female owner, " I don't know how it was at your house, but at my house my Mom was in charge, is it any different when you run a business. Women in the auto business make a difference. Good Luck!

Patricia Algier , Owner at Valley Dealer Exchange Inc Dear Joan, I am the owner of a Dealership but it has always been mine and although I am surrounded by men in this industry I have never had colleagues only employees, however I can tell you what I experienced along the way. For years I was the only woman at the auto auctions buying cars. It took over 5 years for another dealer to greet me even though they all knew me. I just took care of business and once they see you are serious you will earn their respect. Unfortunately we as women do have to earn it but a man in our position would just be granted respect. Sometimes using a bit of the feminine side is helpful after all we are different and have qualities a man does not and rather that trying to be one of them just be you. Remain professional don't take things personally and keep emotions in check, men freak when emotions are displayed . Patti

Shelly LoCascio, Dealer Principal  at Irwin Lincoln Mercury Mazda Joan, This is a difficult question with no simple answer. I would say be yourself and don*t worry about being "one of the guys". If you are professional and do your job you will gain the respect of your co-workers. Have a sense of humor because some people just won*t ever understand that women are just as capable and sometimes better than their male co-workers. I have been at my dealership for 30 years and the dealer principle for the past 16 years. Last week I introduced myself to a customer in my waiting lounge. "Hi, my name is Shelly, I*m the owner. He turned to his wife and said "honey, this is the owner*s wife". You just have to laugh. Good luck. Shelly

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