Taking the Driver's Seat
Brianna Newman takes the driver's seat
By Nicole Laidler, Spilled Ink Writing & Wordsmithing
When it comes to her career, Brianna Newman ‘13 is already in the fast lane. At just 25 years old, Brianna is the director of partnerships for The Minery Ltd., a London, Ontario tech firm that is in the business of putting the automotive industry back in the driver’s seat of the customer buying experience.
Founded in 2010 by Heather Macpherson, the company provides two fully integrated web-based workplace performance and improvement digital solutions, supported by client-facing consulting services. It’s Brianna’s job to work directly with clients at the corporate and dealership level, both in Canada and across the United States.
With no background in technology and only a passing interest in cars, it’s hardly the career Brianna (BA ’13, Global Commerce and Social Justice & Peace Studies) envisioned as a student.
“I thought I would do law, but then I took a business class and loved it,” says Brianna, who grew up just outside London in the small community of Delaware.
Brianna has never been afraid of taking on new challenges. During her time at King’s she volunteered as a Soph, held several positions on students’ council, signed up “for every club I could,” and worked at the Registrar’s Office assisting other students with course selections and class scheduling.
So when a mutual friend suggested reaching out to Heather Macpherson after graduation, Brianna jumped at the opportunity to learn more about The Minery.
“I met Heather at Starbucks and we hit if off right away,” she recalls. “The idea of joining a female leader who was launching a start-up was intriguing. I was the first consultant she hired.”
The Minery was developing HR4Dealers - a mobile digital solution designed to help automotive dealerships address and streamline complex challenges around recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining staff.
Brianna’s first client was Marino’s Auto Group, which represents five dealerships with 165 full-time employees located across the GTA. “It was a whole new experience, but I don’t think I would be where I am today professionally if I hadn’t had it,” she says.
Her next stop was Los Angeles, where she was the lead on implementing The Minery’s second platform – called Imprv - at Acura U.S.
“We thought it would take three months, but I ended up moving to Los Angeles for two years,” says Brianna.
Imprv targets the needs of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) by providing a set of customizable online tools that allows users to gather performance data, identify trends, pinpoint improvement opportunities, take action, and track progress and results, with the goal of supporting the customer experience across the entire corporation.
Working at the Honda Acura headquarters and travelling to dealerships across the United States was a lifechanging experience. “I was very fortunate to build good relationships with people within the Acura network in the States. I was able to develop a lot of advocates,” Brianna says.
“The team at The Minery made me look good, and that helped a lot,” she adds. “There were many instances when things could have gone another way, but I learned that if you keep your composure and remain confident you can hold your own.”
Today Imprv is used by Acura U.S. and Acura Canada, as well as Honda Canada.
And although she recently moved back to London to work out of The Minery’s downtown headquarters, Brianna’s role often takes her on the road. “I have no set hours but I love what I do so it doesn’t feel like work,” she notes.
Her advice for graduates wanting to take charge of their professional future is simple.
“Take the plunge and stand strong,” she says. “If you want to continuously learn and develop yourself you need to take the job you are not quite ready for.”