Vehlo, the parent company to aftermarket brands such as Autoshop Solutions, Tire Guru, Shop Boss, Protractor, Omnique, AutoServe1, Fitment Group, and 360 Payments, held its annual company-wide meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from January 15-16, 2024.
The two-day event included a leadership panel moderated by Rob Hough, executive vice president of Vehlo. Hough brought four Vehlo leaders on stage—Shannon Vann, senior vice president, marketing; Tony Mercury, vice president, revenue at Autoshop Solutions; Anita Gibb, PMP, COO at 360 Payments; and Christian Nimsky, Product + M&A Integration, to talk about how they lead teams.
What would you say was the most important lesson you've learned on your journey into leadership?
Shannon Vann, Senior Vice President of Marketing: I’ve got two quick things. So, the first I learned early in my career as a leader was that the only thing constant is change. And for whatever reason, I decided that I was going to be OK with that. Not only myself but to help my teams navigate change in an industry like ours ... Being OK with change has helped me lead others through it and look within and learn to love it.
The other lesson I learned is—this is also the answer to the question (about) the best advice I’ve ever gotten—I was probably about like 12 when my mother started saying, "Be yourself." That is one of the only things that I've ever done that she wanted me to do ... I think that being yourself and being a human being helps you be a better leader for people. It allows you to not compromise yourself as you continue to grow your career.
What resources did you all leverage on your journey?
Tony Mercury, Vice President, Revenue at Autoshop Solutions: There have been many times when I don't know everything, and I think that's one of the biggest things as a leader that I find is that you don't know everything, and identifying that person who does know what you're missing. There are so many smart people in this room today, and I've reached out to a lot of people on the leadership team just to say, ‘Hey, here's what I'm experiencing. Are you familiar with this? How did it work? What was the outcome or what's your path? What was the resolution?’ That way, I don't have to cut my teeth (on it). Somebody else already cut theirs and they know what they're doing.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Anita Gibb, PMP, COO at 360 Payments: I am the team mom. My success has always been about supporting them and providing them with the resources that they need. It’s about being nurturing and caring. I really do care about every single one of them and that's how we lift each other up. That's how we get better together as a team. Even as a project manager it’s always about my team's and figuring out what they need to get their job done, what they need to be successful, and then helping them get there.
Everybody has a career path. The middle career path is like a hard right turn. Are there any good stories about seismic changes in your career path?
Christian Nimsky, Product + M&A Integration: So, it's hard to think of something from an external point, like a big career shift, but I would say for me, probably the biggest one was going to start a company from scratch as a co-founder. (Pitching) for venture capital and to secure that and then to actually try and build the company. It was crazy, but I think it's really important. If you haven't had a time in your career to try and do something like that, especially if you want to sell to small- and medium-sized businesses like we do, give a shout at that.