STRAIGHT TALK: FRIZELLE MASTERING THE JUGGLING ACT

Written on the 4 June 2015 by Jenna Rathbone

STRAIGHT TALK: FRIZELLE MASTERING THE JUGGLING ACT

SHE is the operations manager for James Frizelle's Automotive Group, the chair of the Gold Coast Titans, a mother of three and an advocate for gender equality.

Rebecca Frizelle is mastering the juggling act, balancing her career with motherhood and her passion-fuelled work in the community.

Frizelle talks to Gold Coast Business News about the challenges she has faced over the past few years including her recent work with the Gold Coast Titans and discusses plans to ensure the Gold Coast is delivered a club to make them proud.

Along with this, Frizelle highlights the importance for gender equality in the workplace, as well as the highlights that have helped forge James Frizelle's Automotive Group as one of the city's top companies.

What are three key leadership strengths you bring to your role at James Frizelle's Automotive Group?

Concise communication, decisive decision maker, analytical.

What have been some of the biggest challenges on the Gold Coast over the past five years for James Frizelle's Automotive Group and how did you overcome these? 

A positive challenge has been the rapid expansion and growth of the business as well as attracting high calibre people to fill key positions.  We are currently looking to fill about 20 vacancies across the group. We have developed a strong HR team, along with marketing and PR strategies which have helped us attract and retain qualified and experienced staff.  In terms of actual facility growth, Brett Frizelle has an ongoing focus on our prime market area and the opportunities that exist within south-east Queensland and northern NSW.

An ongoing challenge is protecting our market share from competitors. We have developed two key characteristics to set us apart:  consistent high levels of customer care and employee engagement. We take pride in creating a dynamic workplace which attracts and retains talented staff and where top-shelf customer service is the standard.

Managing the expectations and requirements of our various factory partners - James Frizelle's carries 14 different brands of motor vehicles and deals directly with each manufacturer to meet their expectations across facility, target, customer care and retention. We have invested significant funds into training, facilities and technology.

What have been some of the biggest achievements of your career?

Being formally recognised as outstanding by our various manufacturer partners and awarded with Dealer of the Year across our various franchises.  In our industry, these awards are in recognition of being the best amongst our peers.

Being appointed as the new Audi, Jaguar and Land Rover Dealer in South Brisbane after a challenging tender process we had to find the optimum site with highway frontage, be able to demonstrate the manufacturer through past performance and our long-term strategic plan that we are the most suitable partner to develop their brand in a new area and grow the market share.

As a mother of three, how do you balance a busy work schedule with personal and family life?

It really is a juggling act, and sometimes I drop all the balls! I have an incredibly patient and supportive husband, Brett, who equally shares the responsibility when it comes to the kids, the cooking and all the other daily household matters.  It is very much a team effort. Our kids, Georgia, Ally and James, have also been raised to be independent and are very understanding of our work schedules.

Are there any expansion plans for James Frizelle's in the near future?

Definitely.  We are already in the process of building two new dealerships at Springwood Audi and Jaguar and Land Rover. These will employ about 100 local people when fully operational by the end of the year.  We also have plans under way to develop a very large truck and commercial centre at the Gaven Central site fronting the M1.  We have a number of other projects that are currently in the design phase that will further strengthen our business.

Since being appointed as chair of the Gold Coast Titans, what have been some of the biggest challenges and highlights?

It's no secret the club had a very difficult start to the season which was definitely my biggest challenge. The added pressure of intense media scrutiny was also a new learning for me. There have been many highlights, but the most important has been ensuring the long-term future of the Titans on the Gold Coast in conjunction with the NRL.  The Gold Coast is rugby league heartland and it is incredibly important that our city has a national team for the long term.  Another highlight has been the exceptional people that I have met and have the good fortune of working with across all levels of the game. The level of community support has been overwhelming and reinforces how important sport is.

What are the plans moving forward to ensure the Gold Coast is delivered a club they are proud of and a club that climbs to a position of strength within the NRL? 

We engaged and worked with a professional sports and business consultant, Dr Dave Arthur, to review the entire club and to work with the board on a long-term strategic plan.  After hundreds of hours of interviews and the internal review of operations, we now have a very detailed plan, with processes and recommendations that are being implemented. This will grow the club across all levels ensuring its long-term viability and success within the NRL.

You are an advocate for gender equality in the workplace why is inclusion and diversity important in a working environment and how do you believe equal rights are progressing?

Gender equality is incredibly important. In the sales department of our business, 3 per cent of our team were women and 97 per cent of the team were men. Clearly this needed to be addressed so we could provide a better service to our clients and also for the growth of our business.  It's not about which gender is better, it's about recognising that men and women are different - our thought processes differ and we each bring different skill sets to the table, thereby enabling a stronger and more successful team.  The NRL are very focussed on bringing more women into the game, from board level through to community. It doesn't make sense for any business or organisation to leave half the team on the sidelines.

What changes does the Gold Coast need to see in order to create a sustainable and dynamic future for both the community and business?

We need to attract and support organisations that will invest in our city and develop truly iconic attractions to drive both global and local tourism. The benefits from large-scale, iconic developments include improved and upgraded infrastructure, growth of our excellent education sector, and finally jobs, jobs and more jobs.  I want our children to stay on the Gold Coast and raise their children here.


Author: Jenna Rathbone
About: Jenna Rathbone is a Queensland-based journalist who writes on a range of issues including business and property affairs and social issues.
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