WOMEN LEADERS: MITSUBISHI’S KIMBERLEY GARDINER ON CHANGING THE AUTO INDUSTRY THROUGH DIVERSITY

I recently had the opportunity to listen to automotive veteran Kimberley Gardiner, Vice President and CMO of Mitsubishi North America. From covering her humble beginnings to her innovative approach that challenges common practices in the automotive industry, Gardiner’s story is one that inspires deep thinking.

KIMBERLEY GARDINER’S BACKGROUND

When she arrived at Mitsubishi, she focused on what she calls the “small batch advantage”. For Mitsubishi, that meant producing only five models of cars in North America. Although Mitsubishi is a smaller company, selling so few models of cars makes them an outlier in the industry. Kimberley shared that working for a smaller company opened many creative doors. It allowed her to turn her ideas into reality and break out of the norm.

After taking some time off to work at a startup, Kimberely received calls from multiple car companies who needed her help. When she sat down with the president of Mitsubishi, she was offered a job with a large amount of creative control. She accepted the position and the rest is history.

THE POWER OF A MENTOR

WOMEN IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY

Representation of women at the C-suite level on the rise, and Kimberley is also pushing to see more women on dealership floors. She believes that women bring a more tailored understanding to each customer interaction. Unfortunately, she remarked that working at a dealership requires long hours, and is not very conducive to having a family.

TAKEAWAYS

I work to make the web a more beautiful, accessible, and functional place. I use dreams as a form of planning. And I play because it’s fun.