Toronto, Ontario — May 8, 2018 — “Thank you for recognizing that forty-one years old is still young,” Shannon Spano quipped at the beginning of her acceptance speech for the Young Executive Society’s Young Leader of the Year Award. The National Sales Manager, Retail of Wakefield Canada, the exclusive Canadian distributor of Castrol premium products and SuperClean cleaner degreaser, was honoured for her professional accomplishments and her charitable efforts.
A member of the Wakefield Canada sales team since 2006, she was previously recognized as a National Account Manager of the Year for three years in a row. Beyond her career, Shannon served on a board of directors for a local women’s shelter and volunteered on various crisis support phone lines. She also volunteers with Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart Charity. Shannon joined the AIA YES Committee in 2014 and has recently joined the Ontario Division to expand her network. She participates in the AIA Canada Women’s Leadership Conference and is eager to join the Advancing Women in Automotive Knowledge Exchange (AWAKE) mentorship program.
This week, she joins us for our new segment, Wednesday Wisdom.
Collision Repair magazine: Why did you embark on a career in sales with Wakefield?
Shannon Spano:. Twelve years ago, I was working for a big telecommunications firm, and I began to feel more like a number than a person. I began seeking out a company I could connect with and Wakefield’s entrepreneurial spirit was inviting and inspiring. I never expected I would take to the role and industry so much, but I continually feel connected to our customers, our team and our vision. It is utopia when you have a great brand and work with great people that are driven by passion and purpose.
CRM: What do you credit your success in the industry to?
SS:. I always try advocate for our customers by listening first. As a crisis line volunteer, I learned how effective active listening skills were to create a connection with someone. In my early days with the AIA YES Committee, I watched and observed to understand our industry challenges and opportunities. Listening to the needs of our customers prompts me to rally our team, open up fresh dialogue and provide solutions that our customers can truly value.
I have been surrounded by leaders and industry champions since I joined Wakefield. When you enjoy the journey of learning, you develop more depth of knowledge, your instincts sharpen, your network broadens and you can apply this wisdom to become a stronger leader.
CRM: Do you have an achievement that you are particularly proud of in business?
SS: I have pursued and lead many exciting customer wins during my time with Wakefield. While the thrill of new business growth is personally rewarding, it is when I pause and reflect on how our team rallied together for a customer that I feel most fulfilled. Leading teams of talented people and harnessing their unique strengths to bring more value has been my greatest source of pride.
CRM: Do you have a particular goal in mind for Wakefield in the next year? How about the next decade?
SS: Continuing to further Wakefield’s position as a market-leading, first choice solution for lubricants in Canada. I am committed to asking more questions and listening to our customers and our people to deliver sustainable value as the marketplace continues to evolve. The most agile, responsive and visionary companies will win and I am excited to lead and be part of the high performance team culture at Wakefield.
CRM: Do you have any advice for people just starting out in the automotive industry looking for a way to climb the corporate ladder?
SS: Bring grit every day. Have the courage to challenge the status quo and apply your learning as you adapt to change. And most of all, prove yourself through your track record. There is no better way to show you are able to handle the next big challenge or opportunity.