Home / Reviews & Info / Interview: KYMCO Canada’s Sabina Heilman
Interview with Sabina Heilman of KYMCO Canada

Interview: KYMCO Canada’s Sabina Heilman

In a past life I had the opportunity to interview Sabina Heilman, Director of Finance & Communication at KYMCO Canada. Ms. Heilman was on the road, visiting KYMCO dealers across la belle province. She’s in a position that’s all too uncommon in the power sports industry: a woman with an upper management level position.

I asked her questions about her thoughts on riding and on her experience as a female Director in the motorcycle industry. As we cruised down the road listening to the tunes of 97.3 FM, Quebec’s Worst Radio Station, the conversation went a little like this:

Sabina HeilmanYM: Who do you ride with these days?

Sabina: I like to ride alone. I prefer the quiet. No email, no cell phone, none of that. Just me and the road. It’s good!

YM: Do you take part in any motorcycle events?

Sabina: International Female Ride Day and the Mad Bastard Rally are the two big ones. I don’t always get to participate. KYMCO sponsors them both and huge events mean lots of planning. I don’t have enough time for the fun ones, and I don’t believe in the not fun ones.

YM: Is the power sports industry changing? Are we beginning to see more women in all levels of the motorcycle world? Are women in Director and Upper Management positions still rare?

Sabina: Still rare. Definitely. Times are changing in terms of ridership. Staff and employee base is changing. On top Executive-level it’s still rare to see women. Maybe not at the dealership level, but manufacturer level and import/export level is still very male dominated.

YM: What do you think of other women working up the ranks in the power sports / motorcycle industry?

Sabina: I would love to see other women at the same level as me. They’re very capable and the industry would benefit, but I don’t think they’re given the opportunities to do what I do.

YM: How’s Motoress (Vicki Gray) doing?

Sabina: Motoress is in a league of her own. Vicki’s forging her own path and creating her own industry. She’s a trendsetter for men and women motorcyclists alike.

YM: Who else comes to mind in Canada?

Sabina: There are female racers and lots of women that are making big changes to the industry. We just see too few with executive powers.

YM: Are people surprised when you tell them what you do and the decisions you make? What do they say about the “She-Boss” in the motorcycle world?

Sabina: Not if they know me. I’m not really interested in anyone’s opinion based on my gender. I’m good at what I do. They can either respect that or not.

YM: So, being a woman in the motorcycle business, gift or curse?

Sabina: I would never say it was a curse. Is it a gift? I don’t know. Is it an advantage? Yes. I don’t have to follow the conformity, the trends, the old boys club. Being a woman lets me think and work outside of the box and outside of the spectrum of what male executives would think to do. KYMCO typically doesn’t do trade shows. We circumvent convention.

KYMCO Venox

YM: What have been some of the biggest challenges or learning experiences for you?

Sabina: Every day is a different challenge. Every day I learn something new. Thank God for my academic background which taught me about constant learning, and building brick by brick. Each brick in building a company is important. If you aren’t constantly thinking ahead, with both short and long term objectives, you lose sight of where to place everyday tasks and opportunities.

About Adrian

Adrian is the YouMotorcycle Editor. He never planned on becoming a blogger, but liked the idea of sharing his passion and encouraging others to get out and ride. He believes that anyone thinking about buying a motorcycle should hurry up and buy one, and that everyone who already owns a motorcycles should ride more. He likes V-Twins, scooters, and breaking social norms. He occasionally wears a suit and high-top sneakers when he rides to work. Sometimes he takes out his tools and everything goes from bad to worse. Sometimes everything just falls into his lap. Whatever the case he stays grateful and always tries to learn. If you feel motorcycling is a lifestyle, follow him via social media.

8 comments

  1. Great questions. It balanced the unusualness of her being a woman in a typically male-dominated area and sought to get her input on how she approaches working at KYMCO.

    But they have a bike called the Movie 150? Who is coming up with the names?

    • I would say someone in Taiwan. Although some of the models get different names here than in other markets. Example: Jager/Frost/Dink(?), all the same bike, three different markets.

  2. Sabina,
    Tell them to bring back a real motorcycle like the Venox!

  3. RT @YouMotorcycle: Interview w/@KYMCO_Canada’s Sabina Heilman on the moto biz & being a female powersports exec https://t.co/Gv1Lb8mm4E htt…

What do you think?

x

Check Also

MISSRIDER and Amanda

Interview With MISSRIDER’s Daughter, Amanda Velázquez

Madeleine Velázquez, a.k.a. MISSRIDER is a long distance adventure motorcyclist. Her rides have taken her from the Pacific to the Atlantic, from Canada to Panama, and most recently to Alaska and back. She even saved Ewan McGregor from himself along the way. MISSRIDER’s adventures have been well documented on YouMotorcycle, ...

How the Motorcycle Industry Works on DealerNews

Flashback to That Time DealerNews Shared Our Story

Wondering how the spoked wheels of the motorcycle industry spin? Here’s how. DealerNews liked it so much they shared it, all the way back in 2013. Click the pics to check it out. This story is part of series of 29 images or articles in 29 days to celebrate the ...

GearChic

Round Two with GearChic Joanne Donn

In November 2013 Joanne Gearchic Donn was featured as YouMotorcycle’s Woman of the Month. She had demonstrated a passion of motorcycling as lifestyle. Joanne had worked in the motorcycle industry for years including attending conventions such as EICMA in Milan, Italy. She was running her own website, GearChic.com, as well as co-host ...