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In this solo episode, Jan Griffiths reflects on the recent developments in the automotive industry and takes a moment to revisit a series of episodes dedicated to strike-related content, featuring key providers and experts offering insights on risk management, operational perspectives, collaborative agreements, and the legal aspects of the automotive landscape.
Transitioning to her experience at the MEMA conference, Jan shares her personal growth in aligning with her values and embodying authentic leadership. The highlight of the conference was an interaction with Stephen Covey. Jan also recaps her participation in the Reuters conference, where she introduced Marques McCammon, President of Karma Automotive. Impressed by Karma's mission-driven approach and authentic leadership, Jan expresses enthusiasm for the company's future in the luxury EV market.
As season four concludes, Jan sheds light on the evolution of Gravitas Detroit, providing details about the company's development and direction. Jan announces the upcoming website revision, the release of her book, and the podcast's sponsorship opportunities in 2024. Jan looks forward to returning for season five in December, continuing to promote authentic leadership in the automotive industry.
Themes discussed in this episode:
- End of the UAW strike
- Insights from key providers and experts
- Personal experiences and growth
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- Updates on the business
- End of season
- Plans and preparation for the future
Featured: Jan Griffiths
What she does: Jan is the founder and CEO of Gravitas Detroit, an organization dedicated to cultivating authentic leadership in the automotive industry by providing courses, workshops, speaking events, and more. She is also the host of The Automotive Leaders Podcast.
Mentioned in this episode:
- Podcast episode with Tor Hough and Sig Huber of ELM Analytics
- Podcast episode with Thomas Kowal, President of Seraph North America
- Podcast episode with Kate Vitasek, Expert in collaborative negotiations
- Podcast episode with Daniel Rustmann, Co-Chair of the Global Automotive Practice at Butzel Long
- Solo episode, “My Love Hate Relationship with Shawn Fain.”
- MEMA Conference
- Podcast episode with Stephen Covey, Global authority on trust, leadership, and culture. Author of “Trust and Inspire: How Truly Great Leaders Unleash Greatness in Others.”
- Marques McCammon, President of Karma Automotive
- Michelle Christensen, Vice President, Global Design at Karma Automotive
- Karma Automotive Launch Event last November 11
- ALP’s 100th episode with John McElroy and Jason Stein
- Podcast that Jan co-host and produce, Auto Supply Chain Prophets
- ASCP podcast episode with Anthony Emery, Supply Chain and Logistics Director for PHINIA
- ASCP podcast episode with Thomas Kull, Professor of Supply Chain Management at Arizona State University
[00:01:18] Reflection on season four and previous episodes: Jan Griffiths reflects on the themes and highlights of Season Four, offering insights into the past episodes and the overarching narrative.
[00:03:28] Experience at the MEMA Conference: Sharing her experience at the MEMA Conference, Jan provides a personal perspective on the growth and evolution of her involvement in the automotive industry.
[00:07:30] Introduction to Karma Automotive: Jan introduces Karma Automotive, highlighting the mission-driven approach and the impressive leadership of Marques McCammon.
[00:10:08] Closing season four and updates on future plans: As Season Four concludes, Jan shares updates on future plans, including a book release, website revisions, and the launch of Season Five, teasing exciting developments.
[00:20:18] Sponsorship: Discussing sponsorship, Jan opens the door for potential partners aligned with the mission of preparing the automotive industry for the future through authentic leadership.
Mentioned in this episode:
[00:00:08] Jan Griffiths: Welcome to the Automotive Leaders Podcast, where we help you prepare for the future by sharing stories, insights, and skills from leading voices in the automotive world with a mission to transform this industry together. I'm your host, Jan Griffiths. That passionate, rebellious farmer's daughter from Wales with over 35 years of experience in our beloved auto industry and a commitment to empowering fellow leaders to be their best authentic selves. Stay true to yourself, be you, and lead with Gravitas, the hallmark of authentic leadership. Let's dive in.
[00:00:57] Jan Griffiths: Today, I have another solo episode for you. There's a lot to talk about now, isn't there? We are seemingly at the end of the UAW strike, but are we really? I heard today that some of the members are not ratifying the agreement. Did Mr. Fain oversell himself a little bit? Maybe. I don't know. We'll see where we go from here.
[00:01:18] Jan Griffiths: As you know. I took a turn from our normal cadence of interviewing, of the interview format that we had on this podcast as we started to enter into the strike because I knew that you needed something different. We all needed to focus on strike-related content, and that's exactly what I did cause that's what you wanted and needed. And so, I produced a series of shorter episodes, some solo episodes, interviews, interviews with key providers, people that would have something significant to contribute to what we were going through as we moved through the strike. If you remember, I recorded an episode the very first day with Tor Hough and Sig Huber at ELM Analytics on risk management. And then I had an episode with Thomas Kowal, President of Seraph, and he had a strong operational view and perspective and lots of great advice. And then the amazing Kate Vitasek from the University of Tennessee. Kate knows a lot about what it takes to create, to co-create a collaborative agreement so that we get away from these power play positions that we saw playing out between the UAW and the OEMs. And quite frankly, my big concern right now with the UAW, what are we going to do to heal the relationships between the OEMs and the UAW? There's a significant rift there, particularly with Ford. And I'm going to find some people to bring onto the show some guests so that we can talk about that. Then let's not forget the legal side of it, we had Dan Rustmann talking about contracts and, again, collaboration with contracts. And the episode that you all seem to really like a lot, which was the one I titled, "My Love hate Relationship with Shawn Fain." Thank you so much for all the feedback on that one I very much appreciate it. And I'm going to contact the UAW media people and see what I can do to get Shawn Fain on this podcast. I would love to interview Mr. Fain, you know, I would. Everybody got a little something, a little nugget out of each one of those episodes and I really did receive a lot of positive feedback, so, thank you.
[00:03:29] Jan Griffiths: Alright, onto the MEMA conference last week. It was really a great conference for me, I'll tell you why. I'll give you a little personal perspective. You know, when I first went to that conference back in the day when it was the OESA conference, oh, I don't even know how many years ago now. But I was intimidated going in there in my role at the time I was probably director, I don't think I was a VP yet of supply chain somewhere, and I was kind of intimidated. And then, over the years, as things progressed and I became more confident and more comfortable in my own skin; who I was, what I believed in, and not being so concerned about sharing my voice and that fear of judgment from others. I began to feel stronger. And then I presented at one point, I remember a panel that John McElroy ran for the session, and I really enjoyed that, still in my corporate role. And then I came into the conference again when I started Gravitas Detroit and that was interesting because nobody really knew what I was all about at that point. And I think people were skeptical. You know, when you start your own business after you leave a corporate job for over 35 years, people think, oh yeah, it's just, you know, she'll be back in a tier one role in no time at all. Well, that was five years ago and that didn't happen. And then last year I was there as the co-host and producer of the Auto Supply Chain Prophets Podcast with QAD and Quistem; so again, you know, different role. And then this year, last week, I walked into that conference, maybe the first time in my life that I have felt 100% totally in line with my values, comfortable in my own skin, not afraid to speak my mind. Those of you who have known me for decades, certainly from the beginning of my career, will be glad to know that I do have a little bit of a filter on, but staying true to myself and really embodying all the traits of authentic leadership. I am really practicing what I preach finally. So, it's taken me, it's taken me a while to get there, but it felt great. And then the ultimate for me in that conference was talking to everybody networking with everybody that I know in the industry, and then sitting down, you know, snuggling into my seat front and center to listen to Stephen Covey. And that was interesting because as you know, I've interviewed Steven on the podcast. I interviewed him right before he released his book, "Trust and Inspire," which is all about moving from command and control to a more authentic leadership model that he calls trust and inspire. And when I interviewed him on the podcast, I interviewed him very targeted through the lens of the automotive industry. So, if you haven't read that book, read the book, Trust and Inspire. We'll drop a link to all of this in the show notes and then listen to my podcast episode with him, with Steven. Now I'm sitting there in the front row listening to him. He has a great story to tell. He is got all the facts and data to back up his position. Then he says, "And I did this really great episode with Jan Griffiths and Gravitas Leadership." Well, I about fell off my chair. I couldn't believe it. The leadership guru of all time, first of all, he actually remembers me. He remembers the podcast interview and he looked right at me. Without a doubt, it was one of the, probably the highlight of my career so far, because I'm not done yet. What an amazing thing to do. You know, he's so gracious. He didn't have to do that. He had nothing to gain by doing that, but that's the kind of guy that he is. And we had a lovely chat after the keynote. So, that goes down as a moment in history for me to remember a MEMA conference that I will never forget.
[00:07:30] Jan Griffiths: And then as if that wasn't enough excitement for last week, I went to the Reuters conference in Detroit and I had the pleasure of introducing Marques McCammon. Now, if you don't know Marques, you should. He is the president of Karma Automotive, and you'll probably remember Karma from the Fisker Karma days. Well, they're two separate companies now, and Karma Automotive is without a doubt a mission driven company. It is being led by an authentic leader, and I believe a leader who embodies all the traits and characteristics of leadership that we need in the future of this industry. And I interviewed him on stage and I got to admit, I was just totally impressed with this guy. I don't have a video of the Reuters interview, but immediately after the interview, he flew to Vegas to reveal the product, the car that's coming out of Karma Automotive, it was revealed this past weekend. And it is a beautiful vehicle. They are targeted on the luxury market. They are targeted on like-minded, mission-driven individuals, but people who quite frankly enjoy driving. And I love the way that Marcus introduced, not only the vehicle, but he introduced his VP of design. To allow her, yeah, that's right, it's a female, to allow her to explain the design process and the features of the vehicle. Now, people often credit their team. You know, how many times have you heard people say, oh, you know, it's not about me, it's about the team. But you know, it's some sort of bullshit, right? That they just say, 'cause they know they're supposed to say that. You can tell the difference between the people that say it 'cause they think they're supposed to say it, and the people that actually mean it and he means it. And when you see the video. And he talks about, and also, Michelle Christensen, his VP of Design, when she talks about the team and crediting the team, you will see and feel the difference. And that's what authentic leadership is all about. And so, yeah, Karma Automotive, I'm all in on Karma Automotive in their new vehicle. It's awesome. I'd love to have one. If you're not connected to either one of these guys, to Marques McCammon or Michelle Christensen on LinkedIn, you should be because they are certainly ones to watch.
[00:10:08] Jan Griffiths: And so, at this point, I am going to bring season four of the Automotive Leaders Podcast to a close, but I'm not going to leave you hanging out there for too long, no. In the meantime, I would encourage you to listen to some episodes in our back catalog. We have over a hundred in our back catalog and one that really stands out in my mind if you haven't already listened to it. It's my 100th episode. Now, you all know John McElroy and Jason Stein and they joined me at the mic to celebrate my 100th episode. And you might think, well, okay, a hundred, you know, what's the big deal? It's a huge deal in the world of podcasting. Most podcasts fail before they reach the 10th episode, 'cause it's a lot of bloody work, to be honest, if you do it right. And John and Jason joined me at the mic, again, so gracious of them to do this. They had nothing to gain by doing it, and they did it because they've seen me grow in my career. They've seen the business grow at Gravitas Detroit and my passion for the media coming out in podcasting. And I reached out and asked them to join me at the mic, and they didn't even flinch. They didn't even hesitate. So, huge shout out to John McElroy and Jason Stein.
[00:11:25] Jan Griffiths: So, we'll take a short break. And the other thing I would encourage you to check out is the podcast that I co-host and produce for QAD and Quistem and that is Auto Supply Chain Prophets Podcast. Now, that podcast is specifically targeted to auto supply chain people. We want to bring guests, bring content for you that will help you prepare for the future in the automotive supply chain. And we've just released a couple of episodes that are near and dear to my heart. The first one is an episode with Anthony Emery from PHINIA. And the reason that's near and dear to my heart is because of the BorgWarner connection. I started my career with Borg Warner many moons ago. They are responsible for lighting the fire inside of me, igniting that passion for automotive and for bringing me across the pond to the US. The thing about Anthony is he's a good leader. He understands supply chain. He's bringing in some new technology, some new software to help understand how we can manage the fast pace of supply chain in the future. But something else about him, and you'll hear it, and that is his commitment to D, E, and I is palpable. So, check out that episode with Anthony Emery. And then, another episode is the interview with Thomas Cull, and Thomas is a professor at Arizona State University. And I have to say, I wonder if the days of the standup lecture are dead and gone. I know, shocking, right? But he talks about what he's doing to prepare talent, to prepare students for the supply chain. And I'll give you a little teaser, it's all about gamification. Yeah, it's happening. So, that's the end of season four.
[00:13:21] Jan Griffiths: Now, to give you an update on the business, it's been a journey. And here I am, five years and still standing. You know, most businesses? Well, I think the statistic is 70% of businesses fail in the first year. So, I passed that milestone, and then of the ones that remain, at least 50% of them fail before they hit the five-year milestone. So, here I am, I'm still standing, and people ask me, particularly when I'm in these conferences, they say, would you ever go back to the corporate world? And my answer is no. And I do feel like a little bit of tension when I actually say that having been in the corporate world for so long, but I absolutely love what I'm doing and I really didn't know what Gravitas Detroit was all about when I first started, I, I knew I had a drive in me to shape the future of the automotive industry, to shape the culture of the auto industry, as we go through this period of massive transformation. But how to do that, oh, that's evolved and it's going to continue to evolve. But now I'm clear that my work comprises of three different parts: the first part is workshops and offsite leadership team meetings. I remember in my corporate role when you always want that meeting where you bring your team together, particularly the global team, at least once or twice a year. We all know how much work is involved with that, right? When you have to prepare the agenda, talk to people ahead of time to see what they want on the agenda. Make sure the agenda is hitting not only what you want, but what the team wants as well. Making sure you've got that balance of soft skills, leadership development, and hardcore objectives, making sure that you pick the right location. Making it fun, making sure you have good food. 'cause there's nothing worse than having an on offsite meeting and having shitty food. And don't ever feed me pizza in one of those meetings 'cause you're going to put people to sleep. I love thinking through all of those details. And then remember at the end where somebody's got the arduous task of copying down the flip charts and putting together the book and the document and a nice little action item table so you know what you need to follow up on. Well, I remember going through the pain of all of that, and now I do that for my clients and I love doing it, and honestly, when I was in my corporate role, I would've done anything to just write a check and have somebody else doing it, so I'm doing that. Then the second part is keynote speaking. I love keynote speaking, whether I'm coming in to do a one-hour keynote to get people excited about the company, about the future of automotive. It could be to a small team, short meeting, or it could be to stadium size event, okay, maybe a bit of a stretch there, but you know what I mean. And everything in between I absolutely love doing that; I'm going to continue to do more of it. And then the third part of my business is focused, yeah, on podcasting, not only doing my own podcast, but to do internal podcasts, private podcasts. I have two tier ones right now that will be launching. If not the end of this year, certainly the beginning of 2024, we had to put things on hold 'cause of the strike, I know you can relate to that. But think of it as your own internal company radio. So being able to interview executives, talk to different people on the shop floor, talk to people about technology, whatever you think is important to your company. I work with you to create the strategy and then I do all the work behind it. You don't have to worry about it. I just take care of everything from hosting it to the backend production, all of it, and I'm excited about that 'cause I think that's the way to communicate in the future.
[00:17:15] Jan Griffiths: As season four draws to a close, and I start to think about season five, I like to take time off to really step back away from it. 'cause it's a bit of a treadmill when you're into producing a podcast production every two weeks. You know, there's a, whole process to it and you need to step back away from it as you do with any initiative, any project in business, and rethink about the strategy and make sure that you're satisfying the needs of your customer or your, in this case, my audience. So, if you have ideas for me, then please let me know. Do you want me to reduce the episode length to about 30 minutes? Some people have asked me to do that. I'm open to it. Are they guests that you want me to have on the show? But remember, they have to be authentic leaders. They can't just be anybody. I have PR companies contacting me left and right to put people on this podcast, and I will not do it unless I know them or I know somebody who knows them and can vouch for them that they are indeed authentic leaders. So, let me know. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I would love to hear from you. I want your feedback. Something else that's happening in Gravitas Detroit World is, yeah, the website's going through another revision. Oh my gosh. I don't even know how many website revisions I've gone through. When I started this business, I knew nothing about a website. Some would say, I probably still really don't know much about a website, but it's going through another revision, and you'll see that coming out before the end of November. And if that's not enough, the book, remember the book? I teased that I think in the summer. And one thing that I've learned during my many years in leadership is this, if you don't have the skillset to do something, just say it and hire somebody. Find somebody who has a skillset. I don't like detailed work. I don't like detailed spreadsheets, never have and never will. It's not my thing. It's not who I am. I'm also not very good at writing, I'm just not. So, if you think that I am writing this book myself, yeah, no, that's not happening. So, I have hired somebody who can take my voice and put it into the written word using a skillset that they have that I clearly don't. So, yes, I have a ghost writer and I'll talk more about her if she will allow me when the book releases. So, we want to get the book out before the end of the year and you'll hear more about that, but the book is it's a little bit about, of course, the mission of the podcast, a bit about my background. But each chapter focuses on an episode. We didn't, we weren't able to cover every episode, so I picked a few episodes, but then at the bottom of each chapter, there's a call to action. Some, some things, there are three CTAs, things that you can do with your team or talk about with your team based on that podcast episode. So, I'm very excited to get that book out there.
[00:20:18] Jan Griffiths: And then in 2024, we are opening up the Automotive Leaders Podcast for sponsors. Now, I've been funding the podcast up until this point. It's Mission-driven. I got no problem with that. But this is the point right now where we have a listenership, we have an audience. Our audience is growing, and we know that we're providing valuable content out there to leaders in the automotive industry. And if you are a company that wants to reach that audience, then, please reach out to me and talk to me. Now, before you do that though, please know that any sponsor that we get for this podcast will have to be aligned with the mission. They'll have to be contributing something to the audience. So, they have to want to help prepare the automotive industry for the future as we go through this period of massive transformation. And they have to be aligned with the mission of authentic leadership. So, if you satisfy those criteria and you want to talk to me about it, then bring it on and we can talk. And if not, that's okay, I'm just going to keep funding it myself because I want this to be, I want to be aligned with the right kind of sponsor for this podcast. So, right now, we're all still working through the startup after the strike, we're all in startup mode. We're going to get through it. We are resilient, we have done in the past, and we're going to get through this. If there's anything I can do to support you. Reach out and let me know. Be strong, be your 100% beautiful, authentic self, and lead with Gravitas, the hallmark of authentic leadership, and I will see you back for season five on December 7th.
[00:22:08] Jan Griffiths: Thank you for listening to the Automotive Leaders Podcast. Click the listen link in the show notes to subscribe for free on your platform of choice. And don't forget to download the 21 Traits of Authentic Leadership PDF by clicking on the link below. And remember, stay true to yourself, be you, and lead with Gravitas, the hallmark of authentic leadership.