CFLA Future Leader: Josh Wartman
Scott Long - January 31, 2022 - Featured Content Area
The CFLA Future Leaders Initiative’s latest spotlight features Josh Wartman, Director of Sales and F&I, Somerville Hino.
We asked Josh some questions about his career and personal life to amplify his voice in the industry as an exemplary future leader. Take a look below to learn more about Josh.
We created the Future Leaders Initiative (FLI) in 2019 to connect younger employees with leadership potential in the asset-based finance and leasing space. The FLI’s mission is to give the next generation of leaders a voice in shaping our industry.
What brought you to the asset-based finance and leasing industry?
"I joined General Electric (GE) in 2009 during the financial crisis and was selected to join GE Capital’s Commercial Leadership Program. At GE Capital, I started as an Associate Account Manager – underwriting credits for commercial companies, making hundreds of cold calls per week, and working alongside inspiring Account Managers and industry leaders. I moved through a variety of functional rotations – in Sales, Marketing, and Risk – across several cities, including Burlington, Montreal, and Toronto. GE Capital was my ticket into the incredible industry that is asset-based finance and leasing."
What do you like about working in this industry?
"What I enjoy most about working in the asset-based finance and leasing industry is two-fold: the customers and the problem-solving opportunities. The scope of customers ranges from small-medium enterprises (SMEs) to large, multinational firms. The customers span a variety of industries, including food and hospitality, transportation, construction, and manufacturing. I enjoy the diversity of, and engaging with, our customers. In a complementary vein, asset-based lending and leasing is a complex and dynamic space: it is fascinating! Every customer has a different challenge and opportunity, and those can evolve frequently. What an incredible space to keep your mind sharp and build solutions with customers, collaboratively!"
How do you overcome the challenges you face at work?
"Strong teams solve the toughest challenges. When I am faced with a challenge where I need support, I involve my team – direct reports and managers. Something that I have learned over the years is this: high-performing teams are built over time and they rely on trust, clear communication, and constructive feedback. The same high-performing qualities also relate to our customers. Having transparent dialogue with our customers and involving them in strategic planning actually improves the process and makes the final product better. The outcome is stronger relationships. Overcoming tough challenges effectively requires teamwork, communication, and trust. Rely on your team."
What does it mean to you to be a leader and how do you lead others in your organization?
"To me, an effective leader is someone who inspires others to develop, act, and grow. Sometimes being a leader can be a lonely or thankless job: I often think back to my sports and professional coaches who helped me to develop my skills over time – sometimes with tremendous pushback from me! I did not always thank my coaches in the moment, but I would not be where I am today without their support. In my organization, I lead a team of intelligent, high-performing sales and finance professionals. My job is to coach and challenge them to develop their skills. I ask my team a lot of questions to encourage them to think about how they might solve a problem. More often than not, they know the answer. The most rewarding part of my job is witnessing the learning that takes place when team members overcome a challenge. I am always here to support them, and I will always push them to grow."
What sports do you play and why is it important to you?
"I am a huge basketball fan and enjoy playing in a pick-up league near my home. I like the dynamic nature of basketball with respect to play development and scoring methods – close range or from distance. Similar to asset-based lending, basketball can appear ‘transactional’ at first: baskets are scored relatively frequently. However, as head coach Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors will say, there always has to be a long-term team strategy, at every practice, at every game. I enjoy the teamwork that takes place on the basketball court and I appreciate the play-making. Dodgeball is another favourite activity of mine. I play once per week. Picture Ben Stiller from the Hollywood favourite ‘Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story’ – that is not a far cry from how it works in the league I play in today. Okay, now you can laugh!"