Western Canadian Dealers Summit: Leadbox Highlights and Takeaways

By Amber Cruickshank

Cars, Cowboys, Hockey and AI 

The 2023 Western Canadian Dealers Summit was an experience to remember, with a unique blend of industry insights and cultural encounters. The Western Canadian Dealer Summit’s annual gathering of industry leaders, dealer delegates, sponsors and speakers to discuss automotive trends and explore the latest advancements in the auto industry did not disappoint. Organized by the MDA of Alberta, Saskatchewan Auto Dealers Association, and New Car Dealers of BC, this premier yearly event took place at the picturesque Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise this past November. 

Noteworthy presentations covered topics from AI and the next phase of technology, including insights from the Canadian Automobile Association, Google, and TikTok. Beyond technology, the summit featured inspirational speakers like former hockey player Jeremy Roenick and a charitable auction, reinforcing the event’s significance in fostering industry collaboration and philanthropy. The dynamic nature of the automotive industry took center stage, emphasizing the importance of adaptability for long-term success. The experience extended beyond business, offering a memorable Western-themed banquet at Brewsters Barn, providing attendees with a 

Highlights and Takeaways from Leadbox 

Leadbox President and CEO Ian Cruickshank and Randy Leal, Sr. Director of Sales, were in attendance and happy to share their biggest takeaways. 

Ian Cruickshank – President and CEO, Leadbox

“The event was extremely well put together, and the venue was AMAZING. With a fantastic venue comes great food that even accounted for this vegetarian’s needs. 

The content was well selected and flowed well. Some parts seemed more technical than the audience likely needed, but there was something for everyone. 

My personal favourite was hearing about Joe Chura’s path from working on the Ford Taurus production line to creating his line of non-beers. He framed his talk around “how 15 seconds can change your life. ” After hearing his story – the value of compounding time is undeniable. 

The guest list was on point. So often, the Dealer/Vendor ratio is off. Thanks to great content and a great venue, there were many interesting people to chat with and learn from. 

One of the biggest highlights for me is that this event feels much more like a group of peers getting together to share. It’s not uncommon to attend a conference with a significant division between Dealers and Vendors. At this event, we’re all in it together. It could be the mountain air, but I think it has to do with the spirit and the intention behind the event. The combined efforts of the leaders of the MDA, NCDA of BC, and the SADA to make all parties feel welcome and included is commendable. This welcoming nature was apparent to me at the Friday night barn party. Many of us donned our plaid shirts and boots, and some of us were in hats. We all had a great time – I even got up to join in on the Line Dancing (I was horrible at it, but we all had a great time together.) Most of all, it was a great event, with all participants cutting loose and having some old-school county fun. Way to go WCDS!

I’m looking forward to the next one!”

Randy Leal – Sr. Director of Sales

“As one of the final shows of the 2023 season, the Western Dealers Conference did not disappoint. The lineup of great speakers presenting relevant and engaging content was eclipsed only by the incredible views provided by Mother Nature! Of all the conferences we attended this year, this one felt the most organized, attended and appreciated. I liked the layout of vendor tables in the main room because it allowed me to take in the speakers and absorb the content. 

Like Ian, my favourite moment was the talk given by Joe Chura. His story is motivating all around, and he highlights how time and change compound into real successes.

There was one aha moment that, although after hearing it, seemed so obvious, it made me stop and think about what the next couple of years in the industry might look like. During the industry panel, the dealers talked about how, in many cases, the sales staff in dealerships completely changed during COVID-19 and that many of the sales staff in dealerships haven’t sold cars in post-pandemic times. The panel agreed that there will be and is starting to be a real need for skills training in showrooms. 

Kudos to the teams organizing, and Thank you to everyone who stopped by to say hello during the event. I look forward to seeing you all again in 2024!”