Farmhands to Board Room

JANET BARNARD, President of Manheim North America – Farm Hand to Corporate Leader

Janet Barnard spoke at our Women in Leadership breakfast on July 29, 2016. Manheim is a division of division of Cox Automotive and a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises.  Their mission is to “transform the way people buy, sell, and own cars.”

Janet grew up on a “working farm” where she was the youngest of 5 children.  She majored in accounting in college and began in an accounting role at Cox – in Macon, GA – 27 years ago. Since then she has had a multi-decade, multi-role, and multi-move career – from Communications to Automotive  – from field positions to corporate headquarters.

Below are some of the key lessons she shared:

  • When moving into a new position, first earn trust. When you have your team’s trust, you can get buy–in for the transformative changes that need to be made. You can also deal with cost-cutting and force reductions when you’re honest and transparent.
  • Understand the financials.
  • Paint a picture of the future, and communicate progress often.
  • Be bold, never quit.
  • Be vulnerable.
  • Be decisive.
  • Culture is key. Strong employee satisfaction supports strong client satisfaction.
  • Build a diverse team. (She recognizes that her industry is not diverse but has improved the diversity of her team by 40 percent.)
  • Evolve: reinvent yourself, say “yes,” never stop learning, seek stretch assignments, ask for feedback, and innovate every day.

Janet gave advice to women who want to speak up, sometimes in dissent, but who don’t always know how. She said, “As a women, if you are the voice of dissension, you can’t scream and pound the table. That’s just the way it is. Pick your moments. Let everyone get it out, then speak. There is power in having the final word.”

See the full highlights of Janet’s presentation here.

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