Susan Gubasta remembers
the first time she visited the Canadian International AutoShow. She was in her early twenties and she was “wowed.”
The sheer size and spectacle, the hundreds of brand new cars on display, the aftermarket products, and the dazzling exhibits made a tremendous impact on her.
Fast-forward three decades and the same sense of awe and wonder is alive and well, except that Gubasta is now the President of the 2020 Canadian International AutoShow, which is being held once again at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
"It's an incredible honour to serve as President of the 2020 AutoShow," said Gubasta, who is former President of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (2018/19) and President of Mississauga Toyota. "It has given me a greater appreciation for the talented team and the work that goes into organizing Canada’s largest consumer show."
Gubasta was the first female president of the TADA
in the association's 111-year history and is the AutoShow's first female president.
"It’s been an honour serving in both of these roles," said Gubasta. "Friends, colleagues and the public have been hugely supportive. I enjoy giving something back to the industry that has been so good to me and my family.”
As President of the 2020 AutoShow, Gubasta has provided leadership and support for the Show’s executive team in its quest to dream, experiment, innovate and explore new ideas.
Throughout her 26-year career, Gubasta has been a strong advocate for education and careers in the auto sector. She has served as Chair of TADA’s Education Committee, where she had an opportunity to oversee TADA's education and career initiatives.
She serves as a role model for students and others who are considering a career in automotive and mentors several team members at Mississauga Toyota.
"I like to talk with students, parents, and teachers about the careers available in our industry," she said in an interview. "Many people are surprised to learn how many career paths are available within a dealership, in finance, accounting, human resources, digital marketing, sales, management, and service. It is my hope to educate and inspire others to consider a career in our industry. We need skilled, motivated men and women in all areas."
In 2018, Gubasta joined the TADA's Women In Automotive Mentoring program
, which connects post-secondary students with automotive industry leaders who offer support and advice while encouraging young women to develop their skills that can lead to lifelong careers in the evolving retail auto industry.
"I am a strong believer in mentoring, based on first-hand experience," said Gubasta. "I was mentored by two individuals (my later brother, Paul, and my father) in my career, both of whom supported and encouraged me as I learned about the business and developed my skills and knowledge."
Gubasta is one of four founders of a feature at the 2020 AutoShow called ‘Women Driven
,’ a one-night networking event (Thursday, Feb. 20) aimed at creating greater awareness among women about the diverse careers available in automotive.
"Our goal for ‘Women Driven’ is to bring major automotive players together to form a unified voice in educating women about the diversity of careers available in the retail, manufacturing and aftermarket segments of the industry."
During her career, Gubasta has witnessed the evolution of the automobile industry in terms of aerodynamic designs, advanced safety features, onboard electronics, and marketing. She has also seen how auto shows have evolved for car buyers and enthusiasts, and become a more vital platform for auto dealers, manufacturers, and suppliers.
“The Canadian International AutoShow continues to reinvent itself each year,” said Gubasta. “This year’s AutoShow includes something for everyone – from exclusive premieres, restored vintage cars, concepts and supercars to cutting-edge technologies, EV test drives, career education, and World Gaming Championships. The AutoShow is a feast for the senses.
“Where else can the public view more than 1,000 cars, trucks and SUVs at one place, and learn about an industry that is evolving and integrating into our lives faster than at any time in history?”
For Gubasta, the past year has been a thrilling experience. “That sense of awe and wonder that I felt at my first AutoShow is alive today,” she said, “I encourage people of all ages to attend the 2020 AutoShow to gain a ringside seat to the many exciting vehicles, features, exhibits, and developments in this industry.”
For more information, visit www.autoshow.ca