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Wednesday, 18 May 2022 09:04

Safelite’s 1st Female CEO Presents Her Story to WIN Conference Attendees

Written by Abby Andrews
Renee Cacchillo was named the first female CEO in Safelite's history in 2021. Renee Cacchillo was named the first female CEO in Safelite's history in 2021.

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...pathway they may never have visualized for themselves.”

 

To illustrate her point, Cacchillo said Safelite only had two female glass technicians nationwide before the company created a recruitment ad featuring one of them. The day after the ad started running, the company heard from 6,000 interested applicants---40% of whom were women.

 

“Every market has female trainees in class now,” Cacchillo said. “They are still the minority but [the ad] brought their attention to the fact they could have a future at Safelite.”

 

Reflecting on mistakes she made along the way, Cacchillo said the biggest was when a former employer was eliminating her position, so she took another within the same company, even though she wasn’t passionate about it, rather than looking for a more fulfilling job elsewhere.

 

“I wish I had just taken a severance package and found another job,” Cacchillo said. “That was one of the biggest lessons of my life.”

 

Cacchillo said another big lesson she has learned is to not put so much pressure on herself or her team to have all the answers.

 

“Sometimes you should be able to just listen and learn,” she said, suggesting everyone learn how to say “I don’t know,” “let me find out” and “can you help me.”

 

“It’s not about always being on or impressing someone,” she said. “Partners recognize that I’ll ask for help and might need help, but I am curious and learning.

 

“Be part of the discussion and don’t worry about being perfect because none of us are; we all have our flaws.”

 

Cacchillo said she has rolled out three priorities for Safelite.

 

The first is to inspire and embrace change.

 

“Other people might not be ready to go yet,” Cacchillo said. “The question is how to we bring people along in that change, including them in the mindset that this is going to be OK.”

 

The second is to evolve from functional leadership to organizational.

 

“You may have to make sacrifices in your functional area for the overall goal,” she said.

 

And finally, think “now” to “next.”

 

When Sony was trying to make the Walkman smaller and lighter, Steve Jobs was developing the iPod, she said.

 

“We have all these things going on right now, COVID, inflation,” Cacchillo said. “We need to keep looking forward and have that eye there as well.”

 

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