WinA Member of the Month
With a career spanning over 10 years and across several dealership brands, Monique Cotton’s journey from trainee Sales Consultant to Regional Manager for Gumtree Australia’s Motors team is certainly one to inspire. However, just like the vast majority of women working in a traditionally male dominated industry, Monique’s journey hasn’t been without it’s many challenges.
Interested in being featured as our Women in Automotive member of the month? Let us know!
Tell us a bit about your current role or involvement in the automotive industry.
Monique: I am currently working as a Regional Manager for Gumtree Australia within the Motors Team. As a Regional Manager, I look after the relationships between our dealer partners and our business, strengthening the platform’s support network for our partners and building awareness around the breadth and quality of vehicles on offer on the platform. At Gumtree, we provide dealers with the tools to successfully connect with serious buyers by acting as a digital extension of their dealerships.
In addition, I also support our team to feel empowered towards achieving both personal and professional success. During the current pandemic and challenges we’re facing, it has never been more important to ensure teams are staying connected and motivated and it has been a mission of mine to continue to rally the team to be inspired on a daily basis. I will say however, it’s
been very exciting to see everyone adjust to working from home. I believe the perception of remote work is changing for the better which will hopefully open a lot of doors for people who need to work remotely for all kinds of reasons in the future.
What was your first professional experience within the automotive industry?
Monique: I started within the automotive industry as a trainee Sales Consultant, almost ten years ago at the Number 1 Volkswagen Dealership in Melbourne. I have retained great relationships with the Dealer Principal and General Sales Manager who gave me the opportunity to learn and grow as a young female entering the industry. It was a lot harder as a female in the industry at that time to try and prove yourself, even though there are still a number of inequalities evident today. So, it became my goal to be a No.1 Sales Consultant within the Volkswagen network, which I achieved!
Do you think you have experienced challenges within the industry that your male counterparts haven’t?
Monique: When I started in the automotive industry, I would often get male clients asking for a male consultant because they assumed ‘I wouldn’t know what I was talking about’, being a young female in my 20’s. I quickly learned that becoming the best at what I do, as well as gaining as much knowledge as I could within all aspects of dealership operations and sales process, would help ensure my success within the automotive industry. As my career progressed and I grew professionally, I made sure that being a female in the industry did not become an obstacle. I excelled at any job I was given and became the best version of myself both personally and professionally, with continuous focus on self-development.
What is your biggest achievement within the automotive industry, personal or professional?
Monique: I would say my biggest achievement within the automotive industry would be my career history to date. Just like everyone, I have made my fair share of mistakes in my career, but I make sure to learn quickly from these mistakes and always better myself through the process.
Most recently, a professional achievement of mine has been my team’s success as of late, where I have begun to see great results being delivered despite the current challenges our industry is facing.
Outside of this, I am also particularly proud of my achievements within Gumtree as I continue to prove myself as a solid and consistent people leader, which most recently has seen me get involved in a cross-functional team within the business to help champion the team culture to drive growth.
Do you have a favourite resource as a woman working in the automotive industry? Maybe a book, event, organisation, mentor, or online platform?
Monique: My favourite resources are my mentors. From my previous bosses to colleagues I have worked with, and people I have met throughout my career journey. There is no better way to learn, in my opinion, than to continuously seek feedback from people that have helped you to become who you are currently, both personally and professionally.
In terms of resources outside of mentors, the growth I’ve seen of WinA has been amazing, what it has become now is inspiring. I told my colleagues about my nomination for WinA’s member of the month and they were all over it, everyone had either heard of or interacted with WinA and were so excited for me. It’s become a real industry leader.
Who is your inspiration as a female in automotive?
Monique: My inspirations are the people, including my team, who I work alongside on a daily basis. They continue to inspire me each and every day. Other than that, all the ladies within the industry who have the resilience and agility to push through with some amazing and long tenures within their roles, I celebrate you.
What is the best piece of advice that you have received or that you could give to another woman working in the automotive industry?
Monique: Don’t ever become complacent in what you do. This was a piece of advice I received from my very first Dealer Principal (Thanks Yan, currently a DP at Penfold Mazda) when I first started in the industry. Always reflect, always thrive to be better, always look for ways to improve. Don’t blame others for your non-success and also, sink your teeth in, be prepared to get your hands dirty and keep working at it! The automotive industry has this beautiful side to it where the harder you work, the more you put in, the more rewards you will get out of it. The sky is your limit!