Maria SoklisExecutive Vice President, North America
With 25 years of automotive industry experience in a wide variety of roles in 3 countries, Maria Soklis’ most recent appointment is the Executive Vice President of DSMA, North America.
In her previous role as President of Cox Automotive Canada and Brazil, Maria successfully led the Canadian organization to become one of Cox Automotive’s leading international markets and had significantly grown the business through the development and execution of its national business strategy and operations. While the business began with only the Manheim operation, Maria guided the integration of several more brands, including NextGear Capital, Dealertrack, Dealer.com, Kelley Blue Book, Ready Logistics, and others to help support a connected automotive ecosystem building transparency, efficiency, and digitization during times of significant transformation in the industry. Maria also had oversight of the introduction of the Dealertrack organization in Brazil and led the team responsible for building the Cox Automotive brand in this market. She was also a valued member of the International Board for Cox Automotive.
With a background in Social Development and Social Work, her passion for community service drove her to also lead the organization’s CSR program, Cox Cares, that included initiatives like bringing like-minded partners and clients together for the first-ever Canadian Automotive Industry Build in support of Habitat for Humanity, and Cox Automotive Canada’s quarterly conference to encourage gender parity called Women With Drive. In 2020, Maria was also a driving force in the organization’s efforts to strengthen its inclusivity efforts and combat systemic racism through her support of the Black Employee Network and by being the Automotive Industry’s first leader to sign the BlackNorth Initiative’s CEO pledge. Maria also contributes regularly to the industry and government’s efforts to build diversity in the automotive world.
Before this Maria Soklis was the Vice President & Chief Operating Officer for Kia Canada. In this role Maria had oversight of the corporate office, 200 staff, 4 regional offices, a parts distribution warehouse and 186 dealers.
She drove the business from operation losses to record profitability. She increased sales by over 86%, doubled market share and outranked three key competitors in the top 10 brands in Canada. Maria also helped drive dealer satisfaction to the top 6 non luxury brands as measured by CADA. She established Drive Change as a pillar for corporate social responsibility and instituted Drive Change Day for dealers, suppliers, partners, and corporate staff.
Prior to her time at Kia, Maria held various cross functional roles of increasing responsibility at General Motors Europe, International and Canada.
In 2021 Maria was one of the recipients of the CEO Today Business Women of the Year Awards. She was named an “Executive of the Year” by the Canadian Lenders Association and an “All Star” in 2018 and 2020 by Automotive News. Maria’s personal achievements also include Outstanding Alumna and Honorary Senior Fellowship from the University of Waterloo and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for dedicated service to peers, community, and Canada – but she was most proud of her team’s accomplishments. This was especially evident recently in what might have been her proudest accomplishment with Cox Automotive Canada named one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers for three consecutive years in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Maria was previously a member of the Advisory Board for DSMA and was recently appointed to the Georgian College, Automotive Business School’s Board.