We attended SOUTH-TEC 2017 and reached out to one of the speakers, Julia Crews, to gain some more insight into her involvement with this year’s tradeshow, what she does in the industry, and much more.

Keep reading to check it out!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What led you to have the opportunity to speak at SOUTH-TEC?

I have been in the automotive and manufacturing business my entire life. My dad owned car dealerships, auto repair shops, and had auto shows at his dealership. I was changing the oil and tires before driving. My aunt owned an air compressor company in Atlanta, and my mother was an entrepreneur taking impressions for dental offices and making braces from home back in the ‘80s. My life was surrounded by vehicles, women-owned businesses, assembly lines, and entrepreneurs. It is a passion to fulfill training needs, develop organizational leadership, and build leadership programs for women.

When WIA reached out to me as a speaker, I jumped at the opportunity. As Head of Training and Leadership Development with Panasonic Automotive, this was the icing on the cake to share how we are developing women in this amazing industry. This is an industry where only (roughly) 15% of employees are women, but 97% of women drive vehicles.

2. What are some of the topics you will be covering at SOUTH-TEC?

Topics include:

  • Exploring what values drive you
  • Identifying leadership behaviors that are aligned or consistent with your values
  • Radiating with confidence/leadership
  • Creating an @IgniteWomenLeaders movement for yourself and others in your organization
  • Developing a strong pipeline for networking with other women in the company or within other companies
  • Developing a mentoring program
  • Professional coaching
  • Creating a remarkable women leadership program
  • Energizing and affirming other women by pouring value into others, and being transparent
  • Leaving a positive wake
  • Living with purpose – avoiding gossip and peer group pressures and fostering model leadership as key values

3. What are some of your best kept secrets when it comes to good team building?

Best kept secrets – excellent question. Well, I am a believer in the DISC Assessment. This particular assessment addresses “behavior” that is observable, therefore for excellent team building (creating excellent teams), understanding behavior assists in a more fluid communication among team members, and facilitates time management. Being aware of others’ perceptions of time can help a leader know how to communicate more efficiently to that individual and set expectations that are realistic to all parties involved on a project with minimal frustrations. Understanding the dysfunctions of a team and how to communicate effectively and efficiently is one of the best kept secrets.

4. We saw you created the Women’s Connect program. Can you tell us a little more about it?

This program began with the Vice President’s vision. He wanted to grow women in the company as well as provide opportunities for the ladies to network with other women at every level. I came to Panasonic Automotive with this as the top priority initiative. So, I jumped in and rallied the team together to build a mission, vision, and values for Women Connect. We came up with the name to ensure women would see that connecting with other women inside and out is beneficial to their professional growth. We developed a site for a calendar of events for the ladies to go to in Share Point.

We launched with a big kickoff introducing Women Connect with duffle bags and a logo that is superior. From there, I developed the Remarkable Women Leaders Certificate program where we met once a month, the team of ladies read a book and had a Leadership Roadmap to work in between sessions. They also selected groups of 3-4 to form teams throughout the process to hold each other accountable. The ladies were required to meet with their team of 3-4 at least two times before we met once a month together as a whole.

The ultimate goal is to grow their emotional intelligence in the area of Leadership while utilizing the network provided to strengthen their professional and personal growth.

This amazing program graduated 37 women in Newark, NJ, 36 in Peachtree City, GA, and 25 in Detroit, MI. The ladies (teams) developed programs to improve processes, and grow new programs for the women in the company. We now have a board and are growing continuously with guest speakers, training, and field trips. The success has been unparalleled. Remarkable.

5. Do you have any advice for companies that are looking for quick ways to strengthen the bond between their team members?

Yes, bring me in to work with teams . On a serious note, have teams take the DISC Assessment to understand how to communicate with each other, resolve conflict and identify any stress a team is facing, which in turn will strengthen team members.

More About Julia Crews

Interested in learning some more details about Julia? Here is some additional information she gave us:

  • She has been a member of the Recording Academy for 17 years, served as Chairman for GRAMMY Salutes Gospel and CCM Atlanta, and served on the membership committee for 7 years
  • She is a new member of WIM and member of Women in Technology and ATD
  • Founder of Ignite Women Leaders and Ignite Millennial Leaders. Her community involvement is with Feed the Hungry, a church in Atlanta that feeds the hungry every day, running races for breast cancer awareness
  • She was asked to serve on the Faith Leaders in Washington, D.C. (September 2017), and supports STEM programs for women in Georgia

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