On the Rise: Lindsay Lafortune
Business Analyst and Inside Sales | Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America Inc. | Age: 32
What was your first job in the industry?
Yokohama Off-Highway Tires America was my first job in the tire industry. I joined the company six years ago as an inside salesperson on the Alliance brand, handling the northern Midwest states.
What attracted you to the industry?
I had been in advertising sales in the newspaper business, and it was hard to watch the industry shrinking. When a friend of mine introduced me to Yokohama Off-Highway Tires, I really liked the opportunity to help supply tires to farmers, construction workers, warehouse workers, and people who use these tires every day.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
Just getting up to speed when I joined the company. The only thing I knew about tires is that they were rubber and round and made vehicles go. I did a lot of reading—including Modern Tire Dealer!—and talking to people in the industry to learn the technical side of the business.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
I don't think there has really been one person. Dhaval Nanavati, our president, used to be the head of sales, and he definitely helped me out a lot in the beginning. Now, Trent Wallin, who is our North Central sales manager, and the other sales reps have all had a big influence on me. I lean on our product managers when there's something I don't feel I fully understand about a certain product or another, and I go to the vice presidents for advice on the business side. What's great is that everybody's always been willing to help.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
I'd say just hitting the numbers every year, and maintaining customer relationships. I have won a sales award every year, but really the biggest thing is that it helps the company grow and move forward.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your work day?
It definitely changes day to day, and always keeps me on my toes! That is part of what I love about what I do. I am currently in a dual role doing inside sales and running reports for the North Central region. A huge part of my day is spent interacting with customers — whether it be for sales calls, building relationships, or answering any questions customers might have. I also support the outside sales team, and help with problems that may arise.
What’s one thing you wish someone would have told you before you took your current job?
Relationships with everyone are a huge part of building your career and becoming successful.
Tell us about your family.
While I don’t have any kids, I do have two fur babies – a German shepherd named Tessie and a Labrador retriever named Brodie. They come with me everywhere they’re able to and love adventure just as much as I do!
What did you learn about yourself in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Motivation and structure are a huge part of my work day. I kept myself on a regular schedule so I could stay motivated. I also learned that I am definitely a people person and missed the day-to-day, face-to-face interaction with everyone when we all got locked down.
Name a talent you wish you had.
I really wish I knew multiple languages. It would be great to be able to travel anywhere in the world and speak to anyone in their language.
How do you recover from a bad or stressful day?
I typically go to the gym and work off the day’s stress or hop in my Jeep and take a cruise with the doors off. I enjoy hockey as well but haven’t been able to play in a while.
What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
Cassius by Gordon Thorburn. It’s about a police dog handler that can’t find the right dog, but ends up finding Cassius who becomes an exceptional dog for him.
If you won an Olympic gold medal, how would you have earned it? (You can make up a sport.)
Selling tires! Or problem solving – I enjoy figuring out solutions for problems and puzzles.
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
Right now I think it would be supply. It seems like regardless of how many tires are produced there still aren’t enough in the market. It is definitely a good problem to have since demand is so high!
What advice would you give to tire dealers who are desperate to find good employees?
Work/life balance is a major factor for me. If a company is willing to treat me well and help me when needed, it makes me more willing to go above and beyond to exceed expectations.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
Twenty years from now I would like to still be in sales but at a higher level. I enjoy the interaction with customers and coworkers, and hope to continue in roles that let me continue to be successful.