Ashley Gulevich came into her family’s trade business after spending 10 years in the travel industry. Excited about the change, she knew she had a lot to learn–and planned to rely on her listening skills to help Coastal Heat Pumps grow and build for the long haul.
As general manager of the British Columbia (Canada) trade company, she believes success relies heavily on the ability to really hear other people.
“The skill of listening really is make-it-or-break-it for any sort of change or projected change you want to go through,” Gulevich says.
That ability served her well when she worked for an airline company.
“One value in particular stuck with me and formed who I am,” Gulevich says. “It’s that you don't need to know the answer, but you need to know where to find the answer.”
Coming into the trades, Gulevich knew she had a lot to learn. It turns out that her family’s values were at the core of what the company was all about–but she had to go through a process of listening and learning to get to that realization.
“My dad built this company on values and trust, and integrity,” she says. “The same way he raised me and my siblings. But I couldn't see that until I just listened. I had to go on job shadows. I went with every technician to see what it was that they were doing.”
Gulevich notes that listening is a skill you have to hone. And she says active listening is a two-way street that carries multiple benefits. It can also help solve existing problems within the company.
“Just by sitting and listening and hearing what people are saying, you can proactively solve so many things,” she says. “And that is the action. And I know that we get so busy doing, doing, doing, and tangibly actioning things, but that can work away from us.”
Really working at hearing employees can help management switch from being reactive to proactive leaders, Gulevich says.
“It was really important for me to simply start bringing in awareness to being proactive as an option instead of reactive,” she says.
It’s a mindset, she believes.
“Reactive is that I could just fight this fire,” Gulevich says. “Proactive is that we can accept where we are at, find a solution that is not going to answer the question now, might cause frustration, but we can solve this for the next five years.”
It’s a long-range approach that all starts with listening.
Ashley Gulevich recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel as part of Season 8 of the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included Gulevich’s thoughts on:
(6:17) Why listening is a skill that instills action and growth
(11:10) How she translated her travel industry experience to the trades
(22:12) The importance of self-care for working professionals
(31:39) Dealing with misconceptions of women in the trades
(32:16) Guidelines for working in a family business
To hear more stories from the trades, subscribe to Toolbox for the Trades on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, our website, or anywhere you get podcasts.