“I AM collision; if you cut me, I bleed car,” WMABA Executive Director Jordan Hendler described her passion for the industry during her appearance on the Body Bangin’ podcast with Micki Woods (Micki Woods Marketing).
“Jordan is all things body shop and another female in the industry I look up to. She’s a great influence in this space, has a passion for the industry and is a proponent for many wonderful things,” Woods introduced her guest, citing Hendler’s role in WMABA as well as her involvement in the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) and the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) as providing “a wealth of knowledge acquired by hearing from all the different pieces of the collision repair puzzle.”
The dynamic duo dove into the benefits of association membership – and more importantly, involvement in the organization, especially as it pertains to industry conferences and other opportunities that allow collision repair professionals to gather for education and networking.
“Participation is the whole point of joining associations for shops and vendors; we’re better together,” Hendler explained. “Being able to unify our resources and work on issues in our local markets or even nationally allows us to collaborate to improve the industry for everybody.”
She went on to compare association involvement to watching a sports game:
“Whether you watch it on TV or you’re in the stands, the experience you have is vastly different. On TV, I may or may not get excited enough to put my jersey on and paint my face, but it’s completely different when you’re a fan at the game. Attending industry conferences is like being in the stands – you’re able to talk to vendors about their products and share information and experiences with colleagues who become friends. That’s the most important thing…when the boat runs aground, people need to know who to turn to and who’s in their corner.”
“It’s that camaraderie and locking arms that we’re all in this together,” Woods agreed. “I always take that away from conferences and symposiums. We’re part of the collective, part of the whole, and it just pumps me up because it’s so exciting. The energy of being there is so vastly different, and you pay attention at a different level when you’re physically present.”
Although virtual training options have become more plentiful in recent years, Hendler and Woods concurred that there’s no replacement for in-person events.
“You’re unencumbered by someone walking into your office while you’re trying to focus,” Hender pointed out. “Our minds wander all the time, but the shared energy at a live event is an important factor for the memorability of everything we learn.”
“Conferences are not necessarily about what the person on stage is saying so much as about what it sparks for the individual that creates an ah-ha moment to take back to the shop to marry with that facility’s procedures,” Woods astutely observed. “With fewer distractions, you have the capability to start thinking and let subconscious thoughts bubble up to the surface, which is something we all need: a way to get away but still plug in.”
Talking about perspective and how rarely shop owners really think about their shop, Hendler recommended that shop owners walk across the street from their business and look at it from the perspective of a new client bringing their car in.
“Do you see trash or a bush blocking something? Do you have a clearly marked customer entrance? It’s all about perspective, and this is no different. You cannot have a perspective of a national industry that you’re a part of every day until you walk out of your shop and drive or fly to one of these events. It’s the most valuable thing you can do for personal growth in management.”
“We learn so much just hearing from other people,” Woods added. “We’re often so trapped in our minds. Hearing other people’s perspectives – their experiences and what they’ve learned – is awesome.”
Although Hendler wears many hats, her role as executive director of WMABA fills her with “such pride. Our association is 50 years old, and it has done and gone through so much. Associations are the lifeblood of this industry. It’s amazing how we can pull national-level speakers into local events to create opportunities that aren’t always easily found.
“It usually takes chaos to grow membership, which is crazy but true,” she continued. “When times are good, when shops have a backlog and things are going well, they don’t think they need us as much, but when an industry catastrophe happens, such as the tsunami of electric vehicles, could cause a measure of chaos where people think, ‘Oh my gosh, I have no idea what I’m doing. I want to understand and do it right.’ That’s when they realize they need to get involved.”
“That’s one of the things that COVID taught us: how quickly things can shift unexpectedly,” Woods suggested. “When you have a tribe to be able to lean on and pull from, it really can help you weather storms. Even when things are going well, we can always be better; we can always do better. I love those personal conversations where you get all these little pearls of wisdom. And that’s one of the benefits that conferences and events provide…that shift of perspective that we all need.”
Hendler particularly appreciates when industry professionals are “recognized and noticed for rising to the top and setting themselves apart simply from doing things right and with passion. Passion is the differential of all things.”
Check out the entirety of episode 39 of Body Bangin’ at bit.ly/BBlifeblood.
Want more? Check out the August 2022 issue of Hammer & Dolly!