Director of sales | Canada Tire Inc. | Montreal, Canada | Age: 36
What was your first job in the industry?
My first experience in the tire industry was at the retail level, working on the counter selling tires and service while looking after modernizing the digital footprint of the business. It was a quick and thorough education that gave me a great appreciation for the owner-operators that are the lifeblood of our industry.
What attracted you to the industry?
After years of working in the world of hotel conference sales and later software sales, I was ready to try working with something more tangible! When Billy (chairman) and Gabriel (CEO) approached me with the opportunity, I made the jump. Tires are a critical part of everyday life in Canada and I saw a ton of opportunity as a young professional.
What is the biggest challenge you've faced in your career?
The pandemic created massive disruption to the way we do business and sell. It was a huge challenge to be a sales leader during such an uncertain time when our sales and customer service teams were looking for guidance on how to stay safe, look after our customers, and provide the service we are known for. Shifting to a hybrid and at times, fully remote, work environment while maintaining constant communication and finding the right tools for video chat and conferencing was not something we had fully considered before. Our goal was to protect and support our customers who were providing essential services to the public and who did not have the option to work remotely. I am proud to have kept all members of my teams working, fully compensated, productive and safe.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
I have had the pleasure of working with a number of great people, including Billy Granatstein and Gabriel Granatstein, who have had a huge impact on my development as a professional. They showed me the importance of building relationships, making meaningful connections, and being accountable.
In terms of the path I am on today, Cindy Mclong was the first sales leader who took a chance on me when I was working as a hotel valet in Ottawa. She gave me a chance to work my way up within the sales organization and grow quickly within the profession. Cindy demonstrated to me that there is no substitute for hard work and preparation.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
Creating and launching our CTPoints and CTPlus programs was a big accomplishment. It is a unique points-for-purchases platform that we use to further deepen our connection with customers while allowing them to redeem points for items that make sense for their business, from shop supplies to gas cards. It was a first in Canada, and one I am proud to have been a part of bringing to life with the support of our team.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your workday?
As director of sales, I oversee our team of territory managers as well as our customer service representatives. Budgeting and forecasting for sales, pricing strategy, booking programs, customer loyalty programs, and warranty management are some of the responsibilities I oversee with our team. My days are otherwise filled with lots of communication with my sales and customer service teams, our customers, and the leadership at Canada Tire.
What's been the biggest surprise of your current job?
How many people I can talk to in a day!
Tell us about your family.
Well it started with Beckie, my wife, about 13 years ago, and a year later we added Jagger our 12 year old Golden Doodle. Happy but still craving more excitement, we had two beautiful daughters, Stella (who's 7) and June (who's 3). We enjoy our life in Montreal!
If you could wake up tomorrow with one new skill, what would you choose?
I’m unsure if this would count as a skill or superpower, but after having to work very hard over the past years to be able to speak, write and work in French, I would pick to be able to instantly learn any language!
In a single word, how would your friends describe you?
If you could switch jobs for a day, what job/who would you choose to swap with, and why?
To be able to see what a day of work looks like for a CEO of a large tech company, like Andy Jassy at Amazon, would be fascinating. There is a level of organization and optimization there that I would love to see and experience.
What's the biggest issue facing the tire industry?
Labor. We see it every day with our customers, getting the people to be in the shop who will mount, balance and install tires is a huge challenge.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A National Geographic explorer. My mom had a subscription to the magazine and I was always captivated by the wonderful pictures and stories — and still am!
What goal did you set for yourself this year? Are you on track to reach it?
I set a goal of being out and in front of our customers more this year, and yes, after many miles, I’m making good progress!
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
I expect to be working hard to provide value and helping people to learn, grow and succeed. That, and being very confused at everything my daughters are talking about.