Smart Girl Stories
Jennifer Lennox
Stories of inspiration from Smart Girl Stories across the globe. Meet Jennifer Lennox – AutoCanada’s Head of Culture

Meet Jennifer Lennox – AutoCanada’s Head of Culture

Women In a Male-Dominated Industry Paving the Way for Others to Grow, Lead, and Inspire

In September 2022, Jennifer Lennox, CHRE, was named to AutoCanada’s Senior Leadership Team as the Vice President of People & Culture. She was no stranger to Human Resources, having spent over 20 years in people development, talent acquisition, training, executive leadership, and HR strategy. She was no stranger to automotive, but at a new company, she was a stranger to everyone. In her capacity as Vice President of People & Culture, she was hired to partner with the Senior Executive team, HR Team, AutoCanada General Managers, and employees across Canada and the US to build a world-class culture.

Ah…culture. One of those words that can mean so many things, but what does it REALLY mean?

AutoCanada’s Canadian Operations segment currently operates 66 franchised dealerships in Canada, which are comprised of 25 brands in 8 provinces. AutoCanada’s U.S. Operations segment, operating as Leader Automotive Group currently operates 18 franchises comprised of 16 brands in the USA. Large geographic footprint, a broad spectrum of positions, people from different backgrounds – couldn’t culture mean something different to every one of AutoCanada’s nearly 6,000 Team Members? The answer is yes, because different perspectives coupled with diverse backgrounds and varying goals, experiences, and responsibilities impact one’s definition of culture as well as one’s experience.

Getting To Know The Company

Tasked with this REALLY important initiative at a pivotal time in the company’s history, Jenn first had to get to know the company, and by that we mean she had to get to know the people – internal (employees… whom we like to refer to as Team Members) and external (customers, original equipment manufacturers, vendors, community). During her first few months, lots of time was spent in the field talking with as many people as possible. Having meaningful conversations, truly listening, not just hearing what they had to say (a SMART GIRL quality for sure).  

One of her first moves in defining the culture was to partner with AutoCanada’s President in identifying (with the help of all of the conversations), unveiling and rolling out the company’s values.

  • People: We are dedicated to the retention, growth, and recognition of our Team Members.
  • Operational Excellence: We set an unwavering standard of best in class.
  • Customers: We build customer loyalty.
  • Integrity: We have the courage to do what is right.
  • Innovation: We challenge the boundaries of what is possible and embrace change.
  • One Team: We win together.

Great, values defined…that’s the easy part. Now to roll them out, live them, breathe them, and have others do the same. SMART GIRL challenge accepted. Her commitment to creating a positive and inclusive work environment that enables employees to thrive, and to supporting the organization’s growth and success fueled her dedication and her end result of the values initiative – success. But it’s a constant; the values were introduced, but the work was far from over. The bigger challenge comes with maintaining them and ensuring that their meaning, and that Team Members’ belief in their meaning remains.

A Challange Faced Her Entire Career

Continuing on with people, Jenn noticed that a challenge that she faced her entire career – the % of customers that are women is higher than the % of women in the business– remained. Important to note this is not specific to AutoCanada. In fact, while the number of women employees in the automotive sector is growing, women are still underrepresented with only 27% of the workforce being women or identifying as women. It is an improved statistic compared to the 19.9% statistic reported in 2016, but we have lots more work to do.[JL1]  In June 2023, Jenn shared in an interview with a Canadian Auto Dealer that “You need to be intentional and that’s really, really important. It doesn’t just happen.” She continued to say, “A big priority for [AutoCanada] down the road is to really promote more women in the workplace. This is where we’re at right now. We are not doing anything at the moment other than just getting our voices out there as much as we can,” she added. Jenn is a woman of action; words only mean so much. The words were spoken in June 2023, and less than one year later, AutoCanada is preparing for the company’s first-ever AutoCanada Women’s Network with a kickoff meeting (open to all AutoCanada teammates, regardless of gender) scheduled for July 2024. 

The AutoCanada Women’s Network (ACWN) will be a community of dynamic women across the organization, united by a shared commitment to growth, empowerment, and success. From seasoned professionals to rising stars, the AWN is a place where women can connect, collaborate, and cultivate their potential.

Jennifer Lennox: A Mission To Empower Women

At the heart of the AWN is a mission to empower women to reach new heights in their careers and beyond. Jennifer Lennox and the team at AutoCanada understand that confidence and security are essential ingredients for success, which is why the AWN is dedicated to providing resources, support, and opportunities for women to flourish. I sense some SMART GIRLS coming out of the woodwork here! Here’s just one reason…. by championing the success of women in automotive, AutoCanada not only strengthens their organization but also paves the way for a more inclusive future beyond AutoCanada reaching the broader automotive industry community.

 [JL1] Automotive Industry Statistics in Canada for 2024 | Made in CA

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Jamie Levin

Jamie Levin

Jamie Levin is a strategic communications consultant and founder of JLevin Communications, LLC with 15+ years of experience spanning internal and external communications, events, community initiatives and engagement.


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