True, Transparent and Engaging


Outgoing YES Chairman Dave Illes (left) pictured with incoming YES Chairman Derek Chinn.
(Photo: Huw Evans)

AIA YES Conference emphasizes the need for investing in “personal branding.”

At the AIA Canada Young Executive Society (YES) Conference on March 29, which took place at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Vaughan Southwest in Vaughan, Ont., an assembled crowd of automotive aftermarket industry attendees got the opportunity to listen to some inspired keynote sessions as well as the opportunity to network and test their skills and teamwork during an interactive workshop.

Part of the mantra behind the YES Conference is to provide tomorrow’s automotive aftermarket industry leaders with insight into some of the trends shaping our world today and into the future.

Kicking things off following a catered lunch was the announcement of the new YES Chairman, Derek Chinn, who takes over from Dave Illes.

The speaker sessions began with an Industry Mentor presentation from Dave Fifield, President of Wakefield Canada Inc.

A long and varied career with Castrol and its afilliated businesses, has seen Fifield go from working on the research and development side in engineering laboratories to front line sales and marketing as well as a range of progressively senior executive positions, including stints in the U.S. and U.K as Vice President of Sales and VP of Marketing for Castrol’s North and South American operations, as well as Vice President, Marketing Strategic Accounts (where Fifield was responsible for fostering partnerships with Fortune 50 companies).

Returning to Canada from the UK in 2006, Fifield later joined the entrepreneurial ranks by becoming Chief Operating Officer of Wakefield Canada in 2008; and President of the Company in 2013.

From his own experiences, Fifield notes that despite the rapid pace of change driven by technology, it’s important to grasp the fundamentals when it comes to a career path—namely don’t be in a rush to get somewhere, take something from each experience you have and know what makes you tick.

He talked about surrounding yourself with “great golfers,” and focusing on being part of a well-orchestrated team. “Focus on the opportunity you have to contribute to the business and the task at hand,” he said. By doing so, “your career will take care of itself.”

In today’s 24/7 connected world, Fifield noted that’s important to be on your game and to not become complacent. “Never think you’ve arrived,” he said but also noted that striving to find that work/life balance is equally important. “Don’t be afraid to push back,” he said. “You can work 18 hours a day and you still won’t be done. People will respect you if you say no.”

Express Yourself

Ron Tite, award-winning marketing expert and CEO of the Tite Group, a Toronto-based content marketing agency, talked about thriving in the “Expression Economy.”

Tite discussed the importance of creating, building and maintaining our own personal brands.

He noted that today, it’s all too easy to get swept up in the technology we have at our fingers to communicate. “What’s most important is not the device we use, but what has happened because of the device.”

Tite noted that the Internet has turned the concept of marketing on its head and today; an intern can steal a traditional marketer’s thunder, simply because they are better able to express themselves through the power of global distribution.

“We are in a battle for time,” he said. “The consumer is kicking our butts. People today are voting with their time not their wallets. If you don’t get the time, you don’t get the wallet.”

He noted that the most well recognized brands in the world, many of which are long established players like IBM, Coca Cola and even Malboro, continue to survive and thrive because they are constantly changing what they do on a daily basis.

Tite referenced that no organization in the history of capitalism has actually changed; it is the people that enable it to operate that change.

He talked about creating a core set of values and living by them. “Be a rebel with a cause,” he said. Tite talked about companies like Slack, whose core mission is to kill email and retail outlet Guitar Centre in the U.S. that “sells the greatest feeling on earth.”

He noted that its imperative in business to ensure both your personal and organizational values are aligned, if they aren’t you will lose brand value.

In the Expression Economy, Tite noted that true personality is what counts. “Be honest with yourself, add value and be transparent. Honesty and Transparency equals Trust.”

And in today’s business environment, decades of marketing pitches mean the concept of genuine trust has never been more important for organizations when when it comes to successfully engaging their customers.


Dave Fifield, President of Wakefield Canada, discussed the virtues of patience and that when it comes to life and careers, the journey is as important as the destination.
(Photo: Huw Evans)


Ron Tite gave a truly outstanding presentation on thriving in the “Expression Economy.”
(Photo: Huw Evans)


Attentive audience represented a large cross-section of automotive aftermarket industry professionals.
(Photo: Huw Evans)

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