Auto Service World
News   May 3, 2023   by Adam Malik

What you may have missed at AIA Canada’s conference

It was a day chock full of expertise, insights, tips and knowledge at the Automotive Industries Association of Canada’s National Conference.

Held in Toronto near the airport, speakers in the main hall or in breakout sessions gave the latest information on industry trends, career tips, technological innovations and more.

The day kicked off with AIA Canada’s leadership team of president J.F. Champagne, and senior directors Alana Baker (government relations) Stuart Klein (collision) and Brendan Mullen (digital marketing and communications) providing updates on the association’s goals, the industry’s challenges and what’s ahead.

Concurrent sessions were held under three umbrella themes. Under Women in the Aftermarket, Christine Botham, assistant vice president of automotive operations at Canadian Tire talked about how relationship building drives results. Then Emily Chung, owner of the shop AutoNiche in Markham Ont., talked about the barriers and challenges women face in a male-dominated industry.

The Young Professionals in the Aftermarket hosted sessions looking at increasing your brand and presence on LinkedIn, hosted by Jacki Lutz, senior manager of global marketing communications at Sensata Technologies, while Sabrina Thring, senior vice president of revenue operations in paint and collision, Driven Brands, talked about building winning teams around you.

Under the “Market research and data” theme, Guido Vildozo, senior manager of Americas light vehicles sales forecasting at S&P Global Mobility, gave a global and then Canadian-specific outlook while exploring the impact of battery electric vehicles as the country moves towards an electrified future. He was followed by J.D. Ney, Canadian automotive practice lead at J.D. Power, who talked about how consumer behaviours have changed and the need for the industry to shift along with them.

Back in the main hall, an industry leaders panel with Mauro Cifelli, president and CEO of Groupe Del Vasto, Jasna Smiljcic, senior director and country leader with Gates Canada and Steve Leal, president and CEO of Fix Network World was moderated by Champagne. They discussed supply challenges, adapting to change, training, talent and more.

Mathew Growden, head of auto retail team at Google Canada looked at vehicle buying trends and customer pain points.

The day wrapped up with Andrew Au, a global thought leader on digital transformation and culture change, who challenged attendees to embrace change, understand what lies ahead and evolve.

A pair of big awards were handed out. Brad Shaddick was presented the Distinguished Service Award, AIA Canada’s highest honour. Brad Cochrane was named the Young Leader of the Year by the Young Professionals in the Aftermarket.

The night before, an evening networking reception was held. Please see our photo gallery below and Instagram reel for more highlights.

AIA Canada National Conference 2023

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