Le Etta Pearce, CEO at Dealer Auction, Auto Trader UK / Cox Automotive
How long have you worked in the industry?
Over 20 years
What do you like best about your job?
The opportunity to challenge conventional thinking. Building a business alongside a great team that can lead the way in digital wholesale remarketing. Being amazed every day at the power of data and how it will transform the industry. Continuously learning from very talented people that there is always a better way to do things!
Tell us about how you went about securing your first promotion
Ah well, being much younger then, lacking some of the wisdom that comes with experience, through sheer determination and hard work. Never giving up on a goal, working as long and as hard as it took to do the very best job I could. Having a need to never knowingly disappoint, I would always try to deliver more than what was asked of me. I have found that good people and good businesses recognise this and my results always spoke for themselves.
Who do you turn to for advice or support?
People I trust and admire. No matter what, you have to do things your own way but it doesn’t mean you can’t shape your thinking with guidance and support from others. At different stages in your career you need different perspectives, so surround yourself with amazing, very diverse people along the way and you will forge some very strong, lasting relationships that will help you fulfil your potential.
What advice would you give automotive women who wish to progress?
Well, the good news is, you are in an industry where women already have an advantage. We might be the minority but that makes standing out so much easier. If you want something, go for it because really what’s the worst that can happen. Throughout the last 20 years, I have had the privilege of working with some incredible women, who are both colleagues and friends. Don’t be the one to hold yourself back, believe in your ability and let others who are wearing the T-shirt (been there, done that) help you along the way.
What’s the most important characteristic to have to work in your company?
Wow that’s hard, we are such a diverse team and I think that is crucial to our success so I would have to say ‘Individualism’ – be who you are, be it well because no-one else can be you!
What’s the funniest thing that has happened at work?
Having fun at work is incredibly important to me so there are many many stories I could share but I am going to tell one from my very first post grad role.
As Brand Manager for Chester Barrie, my client was Ralph Lauren. Very early into my career, eager to please and incredibly nervous at the prospect of working with a highly-strung Vice President of Design from New York I was charged with selecting a model to present the latest samples of the ‘Purple Label’ tailored suit wear. I followed the dimensions with precision… so feeling more confident, I accompanied said VP to the board room for the fitting. However, it became clear pretty quickly that something was not to his liking. Very loudly,
in fact loud enough for the entire office to hear, he screamed ‘Le Etta, Le Etta…. Followed by ‘have you seen the fanny on this’! Now in case you don’t know, American's often refers to one’s bottom as a fanny, but you can imagine my horror and embarrassment as he is pointing directly at the poor model basically telling the world that his bum was too big!! The only problem being, post initial shock I began to snigger, then chuckle and finally cry with laughter – let’s just say he wasn’t as amused!
How would your best friend describe you?
To make this one easier, I simply asked a few of my besties! So here you are in no particular order…..
Loyal, straight talking, driven, fun, brave, kind, down to earth plus a few that I didn’t think were fit to publish.
If there is one thing you could change about yourself what would it be?
Oh there are too many, a different one for a different day. But luckily I finally realised that if it matters go ahead - do it and if it doesn’t - don’t stress it.
What do you do to relax and re-energise?
Having a bloody good chat with my friends always makes me smile and renews my motivation. As corny as it sounds spending time with my family… although being very competitive I’m not sure standing on the sidelines at a junior boy’s football match yelling ‘pass’, ‘down the wing’, get in the box’, ‘shoot’ can be classed as ‘relaxing’ but it makes me happy (my son less so!) and when I am happy I am at my best!