Becoming a Change Agent with Volkswagen’s Kimberley Gardiner

Becoming a Change Agent with Volkswagen’s Kimberley Gardiner

Does the idea of change make you uncomfortable? For most people, the answer is yes because let’s face it, change IS hard. But we also know that progress only happens when we step into the discomfort and embrace change.

Meet Kimberley Gardiner, SVP & Chief Marketing Officer at Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., who shares her career journey and how the desire for impact led her to become a change agent. 

Kimberley shares how once she decided to share her ideas authentically, even when they went against the status quo – in a very male dominated industry - she was much happier, more satisfied, and more engaged. This decision to push to do things a little differently, a little better, led to the success that she has achieved.

Kimberley brings more than 20 years of automotive experience to her current role at VW. She most recently served as the Chief Marketing Officer for Mitsubishi Motors North America. She joined Mitsubishi from Kia Motors America where she directed marketing efforts for the brand. Previously, she served as CMO and Vice President of Operations for 5th Kind, a global digital asset management company. She is known for being an innovative thinker with a passion to help drive change in the automotive industry – a great fit for helping to push for mainstream adoption of electric vehicles led by Volkswagen.

In this episode, Kimberley shares why you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for advice, her daily success habits, how to build your own personal board of directors, and how to plan and achieve your long-term goals.

Highlights:  

[02:53] Kimberley’s career journey
[07:55] Embracing being a change agent
[10:27] Managing your personal brand
[13:24] Don’t be afraid to ask for advice
[16:17] Building your board of personal directors
[17:52] Kimberley’s daily success habits
[22:50] Overcoming failures and setbacks
[27:17] Executing and achieving your goals
[31:48] Learning to say no
[35:30] How to embrace change
[40:08] Kimberley’s advice to our listeners

Quotes:

“You build business relationships like friendships, tell a little about yourself, ask for 5-10 minutes, and be very specific in your ask.” – Kimberley Gardiner 

“When you encounter a failure, think about what you can learn from it rather than replaying the event over and over in your head. Put the record player away and move forward with the lesson.” – Kimberley Gardiner

“Positioning success in terms of how it ladders up in the long term will help you be more successful in the short term.” - Kimberley Gardiner

“By saying yes to everything you shortchange the things that are really important to you.”- Kimberley Gardiner 

“The more you paint that picture early on, of what change can look like in the future, in a way that a person or team can relate to - saving you time, helping with turnover, achieving goals faster, and ultimately being more profitable, with a smaller footprint, the more people will be excited about the opportunity ahead.” - Kimberley Gardiner 

About Kimberley Gardiner:

Kimberley Gardiner, SVP, Marketing & CMO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

Kimberley is responsible for leading brand marketing for VW, including building on

the momentum generated by the introduction of Volkswagen’s first all-electric SUV, the ID. 4.

Kimberley brings more than 20 years of automotive experience to her current role (joined VW in late 2020). She most recently served as the Chief Marketing Officer for Mitsubishi Motors North America. She joined Mitsubishi from Kia Motors America where she directed marketing efforts for the brand. Previously, she served as CMO and Vice President of Operations for 5th Kind, a global digital asset management company. She is known for being an innovative thinker with a passion to help drive change in the automotive industry – a great fit for helping to push for mainstream adoption of electric vehicles led by Volkswagen.

Kimberley holds a bachelor’s degree from Mills College and an MBA from Indiana University.

Links:

LinkedIn: kimberley-sweet-gardiner

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