The auction industry is largely male dominated, so as a woman entering the business, I was confronted early on by the “boys club” mentality. Several auction owners even declared that I would never survive. It also became apparent that finding local employees with auction experience—Phoenix isn’t an auction hub—would be a challenge, and that the technology supporting this $284 billion industry was so antiquated that we’d need to invest time and money to develop a solution.
To overcome these obstacles, I recalled a saying my father taught me: Never give up, and don’t be afraid. Those words motivated me to prove myself as an industry leader.
Auction Systems developed its own software that is now industry leading, and we found and trained people who had a passion and wanted to help others learn and grow within our industry. Once we became successful in the U.S., China became our newest market venture. We soon realized why many American companies do not conduct business in China—persistence is required to sort through government licensing requirements and the rules can change instantly.
Through this journey, I’ve learned three major lessons:
Be authentic. Many of us are actually trained not to be our authentic selves. I often gain attention, not for an amazing personality, but because I am being who I am.
Fix issues at the start. Quick corrections at the onset of a relationship set boundaries and expectations, and stop mistakes or behaviors before a bad habit forms, for yourself and others.
Don’t focus on obstacles. This will help you realize what is really important and the goals you want to achieve, rather than focusing on situations that can prevent you from achieving those goals.
Today, Auction Systems is a global business and, ironically, none of my naysayers remain in the industry. As a trendsetter and industry leader, I developed my own personal style of leadership, and encourage other women to find their individual paths to success.
Is there a role model who has had a profound impact on your career and/or life? What did he/she motivate you to do?
My biggest role model was my dad, who was a great inventor, entrepreneur, and minister. Being able to balance owning several companies while serving the spiritual needs of people gave me a strong model to follow.
Has discrimination affected you as a woman in the workplace? How did you deal with it?
I certainly think some people discriminate against women leaders in the workplace, but I love diversity and a challenge.
What advice would you give young women building/preparing for a career?
If you don’t focus on the fact that you’re a woman, others won’t either. You must be able to manage your emotional life and learn to compartmentalize. Do not bring your personal life to work. Likewise, don’t bring your work life home with you.