At Brilliant Read Media, we always strive to bring you meaningful and powerful stories from India and around the world to empower and motivate our growing community of business leaders, investors, management students and aspiring entrepreneurs. This week we invited yet another business leader Melanie Borden for an exclusive interview with us. She is the Vice President of Celebrity Motor Cars, LLC.
Melanie is a highly motivated, creative and passionate leader with a history of success in automotive digital marketing sales, providing training and development, using marketing to create positive brand associations and assisting clients to grow sales. She has worked with the top Automotive OEMs for the following brands: General Motors, Honda, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Subaru, Ford, Nissan, BMW, MINI, Land Rover, Maserati, Lexus, Mazda, FCA, Acura and Hyundai.
Let’s learn more about her inspiring journey, her way forward and her advice for our growing community!
Excerpts from our exclusive interview with Melanie:
We are aware of your contribution to the ecosystem, talk us through your background and your journey as a women leader, please;
I have spent the majority of my marketing career in the automotive industry. I have worked in various atmospheres from social media startups to a public tech company in consulting, marketing, and business development roles. I have worked in various atmospheres from social media startups to a public tech company in consulting, marketing, and business development roles. I started in automotive in my early 20’s working for ADP Dealer Services, now called CDK Global.
During my tenure there, I worked with many Lexus dealerships as part of a certified digital marketing program which included Celebrity Motor Cars’ first location, Lexus of Route 10 in Whippany, New Jersey. Having built a business relationship with his dealership Lexus of Route 10, Celebrity Motor Car’s CEO approached me in 2017 to come work for him to implement some processes, controls, and strategies for his entire auto group’s marketing.”
I came on in 2018 as the Marketing Operations Manager and in March 2019 I was promoted to Vice President of Marketing.
I develop and implement every single facet of the marketing and advertising strategy, and singlehandedly built the in-house advertising agency.”
Celebrity Motor Cars is a franchised Highline (luxury) auto group based out of the New York and New Jersey Metropolitan area in the United States including Lexus of Route 10, BMW of Springfield, Mercedes-Benz of Goldens Bridge, Alfa Romeo of Morris County and Maserati of Morris County.
How did you find your passion and purpose and started working with it?
At the end of 2019, I was thinking about how I needed to do more with my marketing knowledge. I wanted to find a way that I could bring more value to the company I work for by helping others within the business and how I could use the experience to grow personally in my field.
I saw an opportunity for the sales team within the company to brand themselves, while at the same, also promoting the dealership. Many of the team members wanted to be more active on social media but weren’t exactly sure how to get started, so we started offering new social media training, specifically focused on branding.
As Celebrity’s VP of Marketing, I felt I had to lead by example. So, as a starting place, I decided to focus on branding myself, using a social media platform for business that has so much opportunity, LinkedIn. That thought developed into a massive social media and branding adventure for myself. Creating my own audience on LinkedIn has led to an international community of positivity and sharing. Some of the most meaningful connections I have made in business have been in 2020 on LinkedIn.”
I love being a source of positivity and motivation for my peers. We have to be leaders for our children who are the next generation and teach them kindness by example, this starts on social media. What I have found this year is that people connect with positivity, optimism and crave a deeper human connection. After a year of isolation, it feels great to share and relate with like-minded individuals regardless of what they do and where they are located.
How do you manage yourself and keep on going despite the challenges? What drives you?
I am driven by an inner fire, a desire to learn, help others, and succeed by doing so. LinkedIn has been a wonderful outlet for me to do so by sharing marketing knowledge to individuals and businesses.”
The greatest challenge I have faced recently like anyone else working is the changing office environment with Covid. I have been very fortunate to work for an employer who has given me the autonomy to run my department from my kitchen table while my kindergartener is on Google Classroom.
I manage myself just as if I was in the office, just from my home office. I keep a structured approach for myself and my family which has worked very well for us over the last year.
Please share with us – what has worked well for you so far?
I started posting heavily earlier in the year on LinkedIn to start branding myself as a leader in my industry, however, I was hesitant to include a narrative about myself as a working mom.
I wasn’t sure how it would come across, but what I quickly realized being a mom is a part of me, and so is my career in marketing! It is absolutely a way for me to connect with other working moms (and dads) on LinkedIn and in life. Working through COVID been so challenging for everyone, but as working moms, it’s especially hard for us.
We are the hardest on ourselves, and each other. We judge ourselves for everything from how we look to how we parent. We have been tasked with an extra challenge of navigating through this last year while teaching, working, parenting and trying to retain some sense of ourselves. Creating an international community of working parents has been really just so inspiring for me. I love that a mom in India, UAE, Russia, the United States or England can all comment and collaborate.”
I have learned so much from the community on LinkedIn. I have received thousands of messages and comments from parents all over the world in 2020 who tell me about their stories and how mine resonates with them. So much so that it actually inspired me to write my first book a children’s book called “Our Mommy Works with Cars”, to showcase all of the amazing women and working moms who work in the automotive industry based on my daughter’s experience of coming to work with me. This will be the first book in the series about moms who work in different industries.
We would love to know your advice for all those starting out as an aspiring leader?
Be yourself and be confident in who you are and what you do. If you are in a leadership role, you are there for a reason and your influence can be a positive impact on someone’s life.