Ryhan Cornell is a third-generation co-owner in the family-owned ABC Companies where she works as an account manager serving the Southeastern Region to support sales and service in the territory. She is a member of ABA’s Women in Buses. Ryhan is the mother of two boys and resides with her husband and children in Winter Park, Fla.
Having literally grown up in the business, I feel proud to be working in the motorcoach industry today. While it’s true that it is a male-dominated industry, every day I see more and more women entering into leadership roles either as business owners, or as executives and key managers within their organizations, as well as through advocacy partnerships, association chairs, change-leaders and active participants industry-wide.
Throughout my daily interactions with men and women it is clear that, from a gender perspective, both bring different strengths to the table. And, that these divergent perspectives drive greater creativity and innovation. For me personally, I have found that leveraging my “soft skills” has been a very natural way to build relationships while also maintaining the knowledge and expertise required to build confidence and trust with my customers.
I strive to bring a good balance of personal attentiveness and professionalism to my relationships. Many the sales call has been devoted to simply listening and being empathetic to a customer’s unique situation. And while business focus is important, I often find that people just want to talk about what is going on in their lives. Sharing family news, celebrating births, lamenting losses, acknowledging important milestones and discussing the myriad of events that every mom, dad, brother, sister, etc. is affected by in life! I think it’s just in my DNA to be family-oriented -- since it is the very essence of our family-owned business and the driving force in our success since my grandfather’s days more than six decades ago.
I’ve never felt that my gender has hindered me in this business. Conversely, however, being a business owner does bring a stronger set of demands. Ownership elevates one’s visibility. I work hard, because I feel that I must hold myself to a higher standard so that both men and women can assess me on the merits of my efforts. I hold myself accountable to both personal and professional achievement and more importantly to the organizational success of all.
I believe that talent comes in many shapes, sizes, colors and genders in life and business. Wouldn’t it be a very mundane and predictable world if we all looked at life through the same lens? Like the organization I serve, I welcome diversity from every walk of life and want to especially encourage more women to join me and participate in this exciting industry!