Dave Fifield, president of Wakefield Canada, discussed the importance of developing a personal brand and understanding the value of patience when moving up the corporate ladder.
“If you want to play better golf, you need to golf with better players,” advised Dave Fifield, president of Wakefield Canada. Fifield was speaking to a roomful of young aftermarket attendees at the AIA’s Young Executive Society conference last month.
The AIA Canada Young Executive Society (YES) Conference, which was held at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Vaughan, Ontario, is designed to provide tomorrow’s automotive aftermarket industry leaders with insight into some of the trends shaping the world today.
In addition to his sports metaphor, Dave Fifield offered the aftermarket audience sage advice on what he had learned from his 30-year career with Castrol.
Fifield joined Castrol Canada upon graduation from Ryerson University with a bachelor’s in chemical engineering. He has held senior positions in sales, marketing, business development, and technology. Fifield spent several years working in the U.S. for Castrol North America, with responsibility for sales in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Following BP’s acquisition of Castrol in 2000, Dave took responsibility for the Castrol and BP lubricants’ brand marketing across the American region.
In 2004, Fifield relocated to the U.K. as vice-president, marketing strategic accounts, responsible for developing global strategic partnerships with Fortune 500 companies. In 2008 he joined Wakefield as chief operating officer, responsible for all aspects of Wakefield’s business operations. Dave was promoted to president of Wakefield in 2013.
Fifield is past chairman of the AIA Market Research Committee, and currently sits on the AIA Board of Directors as second vice chair.
“Early on in my career, I realized the importance of developing something for myself. It was the concept of a personal brand. I realized that I did not want to be the guy with the pocket protector in the lab coat. I wanted to be the guy who understood the market, launched new products and new tools for the sales team and helped drive the business world,” explained Fifield. “What I learned at that time was the importance of delivering results. When you are a young guy working at your goal in your job or career, it’s important to deliver those results, because delivering results is what builds your personal brand.”
Fifield shared several key messages from his career. “Know what motivates you and do your best. You have to understand, ultimately, what your passion is: what gets you out of bed in the morning. If you can’t get to that place, you need to find something else.”
Another quality Fifield addressed in his presentation was the importance of patience. He advised the young people in the room to not rush their careers. “When I was younger, I was in a hurry to get to the next level, and I can tell you that had I gone faster, I might not be where I am today. The most common conversation I have with young people today in my organization is, they are always wondering what the next step looks like for them, and they are always wondering when that opportunity will come available.
“What I tell them is, don’t be in a hurry. Two things need to happen. One, you have to be ready for that next move, and two, the organization needs to be ready for you to move to that next level. Don’t underestimate the power of both those things. Timing has to be there as well, so be patient. And the last piece of advice is, don’t be afraid to take a chance,” advised Fifield. “Your generation is shaping our future and you are the future leaders in our industry; make the most of this time.”
The second guest speaker, Ron Tite, an 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 your own personal brand. “The Internet has turned the concept of marketing on its head. We are in a battle for time,” he said. “Consumers are 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.”
Tite spoke to creating a core set of values and living by them. “Be a rebel with a cause,” he said. “It’s 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,’ it’s that true personality that counts. Honesty and transparency equals trust.”
Outgoing YES chairman Dave Illes (left) and incoming YES chairman Derek Chinn.