Driven to Succeed – Heather Ballentine
One of the best Lamborghini salespeople in all of North America, Heather Ballentine is redefining the gender dynamics of the automotive industry.
If you enter the workforce making $13 per hour and, years later, become a successful entrepreneur in the top one per cent of the salesforce for Lamborghini sports cars in North America, you must be doing things right. That’s the top line on Heather Ballentine, a success story who oozes style and excitement, experience and independence, with more than a generous splash of individual panache.
Ballentine is the very personification of a self-made entrepreneur — an entertainment media mogul, former pin-up model, actress, motivational spokesperson and successful, super-lux Lamborghini salesperson now with Lamborghini Uptown Toronto — and it all came from very humble beginnings on a farm in remote Arkansas.
In an exclusive interview with Dolce Magazine, Ballentine made two of her personality attributes immediately clear: passion for what she does and unbridled confidence with which to do it. These are two ingredients that spell success in whatever line of endeavour one chooses to undertake.
“I just happen to be that girl who grew up loving cars, especially exotic cars, and Lamborghini has always been one of my favourite brands, as it fits my personality,” says Ballentine. “I really love what I do, am very passionate about it, and I want to be the best at whatever I’m doing. Some in this industry think women can be posers. Well, I’m no poser, I’m 100-per-cent legit and I’m the best at what I do. Now I just do my thing. Get on board or get out of the way.”
The world of super-luxury, high-performance sports cars is predictably male-dominated, especially when it comes to the sales side of the business, and while that may have caused some problems for Ballentine in the beginning, she now dominates, selling to customers all over the world.
“In the beginning I got flak, especially from those who had been in the business for 20 or 30 years, as there had never been a woman selling ‘super-lux’ at the company, but I never let it bother me,” recalls Ballentine. “I’m like a chick with blinders on, just doing my thing and keeping my eye on the prize. I think you have to work harder if you’re a woman in a male-dominated industry because they think you don’t know the product. That just motivated me to know the product inside and out and better than anyone else, and to give my customers the best possible overall experience.”
The top of a super-luxury industry is a long way to go for the woman who packed all of her belongings and her cat into a U-Haul van and left rural Arkansas for schooling in Los Angeles, where she majored in musical theatre. A series of fortuitous events led her in just a few short years to fronting a rock band that toured 17 countries.
“You have to be passionate about what you are doing, otherwise you will fail”
From there she went into acting, landing a role on television’s General Hospital, doing national commercials and even working as a pin-up model for a brief period. Then she met a man who was Canadian and who convinced her to move to Toronto.
“When I came to Canada I was more ready to settle down and have a career, and cars were a natural thing for me,” says Ballentine. “I’m the girl who’d rather have a smaller house and a larger garage and a different car for every day of the week — that’s just me. I now specialize in one thing, Lamborghini. I chose to focus on that and I’m good at what I do. I do one thing and I do it the best.”
Channelling her inner artist and leveraging the creative side of her personality that led to her success in the entertainment business, Ballentine has become a force on social media, which allows her to connect with followers of her life, her lifestyle and her adventures around the globe. As an entrepreneur, she is also president of Ballentine Entertainment and co-owner of WDH Productions.
“When I recently went to Italy to test-drive new cars, they all knew who I was because of social media, and I now have people who want to buy from me from places like Pakistan and Indonesia,” says Ballentine. “If you’re young and an entrepreneur, social media is an amazing tool. It’s helped me to become a very well-known sales specialist in this field and with the Lamborghini brand. ‘Lambo’ buyers are younger, edgy and clicked in — they’re all over social media.”
With wisdom beyond her years and a track record of success in multiple fields, Ballentine does not hesitate when asked what advice she would give to other women entrepreneurs.
“You have to be passionate about what you are doing, otherwise you will fail,” she says. “You have to be driven and motivated and believe in what you’re doing. If you’re in a male-dominated industry, it’s going to be more of a challenge, but you can rise above these challenges and set your sights on the end goal, which is becoming the best you can be at whatever it is you’re doing. But once you succeed, it’s important to find that correct balance in your life, otherwise work can consume you.”
It is that final point that is perhaps the guiding life philosophy of Heather Ballentine. “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” she counsels. “And I subscribe to the 24-hour rule. If you are ever faced with a critical challenge or issue arising in your life, give it 24 hours, and let it all just settle down. That’s when challenges don’t overwhelm you, and you can deal with them properly.”
Whether as a brand ambassador, a super-lux sales specialist or a social media guru, Heather Ballentine is the very definition of today’s new and modern entrepreneur.
interview by sarah kanbar
Photo by robin gartner
Makeup by Candace Mallari-David | Hair by Stephanie at Blo Vaughan