Q&A with Kim Gubera of Pirtek USA
When the pandemic hit, PIRTEK USA’s services were quickly declared as essential, but the company didn’t allow this to slow down efforts to reach out to clients and offer additional customer service.
When the pandemic hit, PIRTEK USA’s services were quickly declared as essential, but the company didn’t allow this to slow down efforts to reach out to clients and offer additional customer service. Instead, they accelerated their outreach using technology upgrades, increased their support to franchisees, supplied on-site and curb-side-pickups, and even went as far as moving staff and customer interaction under tents outside their brick-and-mortar stores.
Gubera’s leadership during the pandemic is linked to her personal perseverance. She grew up in a low-income, single-parent household. It took her 9 years to finish her education while taking care of her child. Starting in finance, she didn’t expect to find herself in a franchising role – yet now she harnesses her strength and work ethic as the CEO of a hydraulic hose franchise. Today she has helped PIRTEK USA surpassed their goals for 2021 despite COVID.
What is your advice for women seeking mentors for professional growth?
In most cases, you need to ask. Ask those whose business knowledge and/or leadership styles that you admire for help. That is not always the easiest thing to do but you can’t expect others to just choose you as a mentee.
I would not recommend that women only seek out women mentors necessarily. It’s more about how much that mentor can contribute to your career growth rather than their gender. And then, be prepared to do the work. Most of the responsibility will fall to you to ask when you need their input, to arrange meetings, and then, of course, you must be willing to do the work they suggest. That work might mean more education/learning, exercising more flexibility, more introspection, change…none of these things are easy.
The final thing would be to change mentors if conditions warrant. People change and you may outgrow a mentor, or they may move on to do other things. Maybe they have contributed all to you that they can. Make sure you both are evaluating how the arrangement is working for each of you. In a perfect scenario, it is a reciprocal relationship where both parties are learning from each other.
Can you share some of your experiences that help you reach the top of your organization?
I feel like what has primarily led me to where I am is that I work hard, and I have high standards. I will outwork everyone, and the quality of my work will be of the highest quality…always, consistently. This is not out of a competitive spirit but rather just my philosophy of giving my best to everything I do.
Another factor that has helped me get to where I am today is based on some advice I received about seven years ago. That advice was to ‘find my voice’. Even though I am a very opinionated person, something always held me back from speaking up about 90% of the time. Some of that could be my personality, some of it might be cultural norms. About six years ago, however, I decided that I had to use my voice and share my opinions. I did have a lot to contribute. I had education, I had experience, and I had years of progressive growth in business. Wasn’t it my responsibility to the organization or to my teammates to share that? By looking at it from that perspective, I started speaking up and the results were astonishing to me…in a good way.
Finally, I am very focused on staying relevant and improving. I want to keep growing and evolving. I keep in close touch with my mentors, and I really LISTEN to what they tell me. I continue to work on ‘me’. Stay relevant and stay engaged!
Kim Gubera – CEO and President of PIRTEK USA
Kim Gubera is one of the very few female CEOs in the global hydraulics industry and she has successfully led PIRTEK USA, a B2B onsite and retail hydraulic hose service business, not only through a global pandemic but also to the third fastest-growing franchise based on unit percentage.