Who is Clarify Group Inc.?
A new Canadian research and advisory group combining decades of automotive experience, a global perspective, and unique digital tools. At a time when the industry is transforming like never before, we bring clarity to the road ahead.
Our industry is experiencing transformative change on a scale and pace we’ve not seen before — from how we perceive the vehicle itself (mechanical device or software platform), how it’s powered, how it’s marketed, sold, serviced and upgraded over time, and how it’s financed (or subscribed to).
In these uncertain times, it is sometimes hard to tell whether the glass is half-empty or half-full. And that’s where Clarify enters the scene, with our ability to help clients understand and respond to the evolving needs.
Many industries are undergoing radical transformation.
For automotive, it’s just the beginning.
Darren joined Clarify Group in 2021 as equity partner and Managing Director after a distinguished tenure leading global business units for J.D. Power. Most recently, Darren led the Company’s operations across South Asia, South East Asia and Oceania as Region President. He was responsible for client service and the delivery of voice-of-the-customer based insights and solutions that supported the growth and success of corporate clients in multiple industries across nine countries including India, Thailand, Vietnam and Australia.
Prior to his assignment in Singapore, Darren led J.D. Power automotive operations in Canada and Latin America from 2011 to 2017 as Senior Director. He established the Mexico City and São Paulo offices and led these businesses to rapid growth. Darren joined J.D. Power Canada in 2000 as Director of the Performance Improvement Practice before assuming the role of Country Manager in 2009. Darren began his career at Xerox Canada Ltd. before joining Nissan Canada Inc. in sales and dealer operations for both the Nissan and Infiniti Brands.
As Managing Director, Darren leads Clarify research, data analytics and consulting operations including the corporate office team in Markham, the national team of automotive retail excellence and hospitality experience coaches and the Company’s global network of strategic alliance partners. As a respected industry analyst, Darren is a frequent conference speaker and regular contributor to Canadian auto dealer and Affaires automobiles magazines on topics including customer experience and industry transformation.
Darren earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto and an MBA with distinction from the Schulich School of Business, York University. He completed the Digital Business Strategy online executive program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management in 2020.
Dr. Gordon Shields
Research and Analytics Director
Gordon has over 18 years experience in the automotive industry, conducting research and advisory projects across major automotive markets in Asia, Europe, GCC, Oceania and North America.
Before setting up his own research agency, Angus MacBride in August 2020, Gordon held several senior roles at J.D. Power in Singapore and Europe from 2003 to 2020, most recently leading the agency’s work on electric vehicle benchmarking.
Gordon’s focus is on supporting automotive brands on brand health, customer experience (sales and service), and product performance and quality projects. In addition, he has managed a series of market entry studies from Australia to Thailand and is equally comfortable running competitor intelligence projects.
As a highly experienced international researcher, Gordon manages single and complex multi-market quantitative and qualitative studies, as well as providing deep insights to clients directly or via senior stakeholder workshops and ideation sessions.
Gordon prides himself on providing outstanding value to clients, and is open to new research challenges, industries and markets.
He received his doctorate from the Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany in Political Science.
Niel Hiscox leads Universus, a leading developer of automotive content for digital platforms. Their work includes video production, marketing creative, blog and other online writing, enews creation and deployment, and digital signage installations at dealerships across the country.
In addition to his automotive work, Niel is a past and founding member of KPMG’s Digital Strategies practice. He is a past advisory committee member for Georgian College’s Advertising and Marketing program, and a former instructor at the Automotive Business School of Canada.
Niel is a frequent speaker and panel moderator at industry events, including CADA’s Summit, Kijiji’s DealerTalk conferences, the Nova Scotia Dealers Association’s CADEX event, the publishing industry’s annual Magnet conference, as well as dealer events put on by provincial dealer associations across the country.
Niel earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University in Montreal, and an MBA in Marketing from McGill University.
Director of Innovation
Todd Phillips is Vice-President and Director of Innovation at Universus Media Group Inc., a marketing agency, automotive industry publisher and software reseller based in Markham, Ontario.
Universus is a leading developer of automotive content for digital platforms. Their work includes video production, marketing creative, blog and other online writing, enews creation and deployment, and digital signage installations at dealerships across the country.
For more than a decade, Todd has been the editor of Canadian auto dealer, the leading media property for Canada’s car dealers, gaining invaluable and in-depth knowledge of Canada’s automotive ecosystem.
An award-winning journalist with more than 30 years experience in newspapers, magazines, television and online media, Todd regularly interviews key players across all parts of Canada’s auto industry, including OEM leaders, prominent dealers and heads of dealer groups across Canada, and suppliers.
Todd has also worked as a media analyst for governments and private-sector clients.
He received his Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University in London, Ont. and his Bachelor of Arts High Honours in Political Science from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ont.
Manager, Automotive Advisory Services
Kushal Dhamija joins Clarify Group with nearly a decade of automotive industry and consulting experience on two continents.
Kushal began his career in 2012 in sales and dealer operations with two leading automakers — Tata Motors and Honda Cars India.
He then joined the automotive practice of Ernst & Young in the Mumbai office in 2016 as a consultant, supporting retail standards, customer experience, financial performance and business transformation projects across multiple clients including BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Skoda-Volkswagen. Kushal was promoted to senior consultant in 2018.
On arrival in Canada, Kushal joined Tiger Auto Parts Ltd. in 2020 with responsibility for business development and account management across the collision and auto repair sectors. Kushal added concurrent responsibility for customer service shortly thereafter.
Kushal earned his MBA from the Welingkar Institute of Management, a Bachelor of Technology degree from Galgotias College of Engineering and Technology, and completed the Sales and Marketing Bridging program at Humber College in Toronto.
Senior Project Manager & Data Visualization Specialist
Teresa Yung is Universus Media Group’s Associate Creative Director, and the heart and soul of our Retail Experience studio team in managing our SaaS product, Sesimi.
A graduate of the York University’s design school (Honour, B.Des Hons), Teresa brings a wide range of design experience across both digital and print platforms, achieved by working with many of Canada’s leading brands.
Traditional media roles include time with both The Globe and Mail and Canadian Living magazine. In the retail space, Teresa has worked with the frozen yogurt retailer Yogen Früz and sister companies: Yogurty’s Froyo, Jamba Juice Canada, and Swensen’s (Asia-based) in designing both digital and in-store campaigns as well as cross-brand partnership creative with Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Disney Canada/Marvel), Toronto Blue Jays (Rogers Blue Jays Baseball Partnership).
In the automotive space, Teresa has 8+ years of experience working with OEM brands such as Toyota, Lexus, Volkswagen, and Subaru. Both from a creative agency role leading the design on cross-platform campaigns and also working closely with AoRs of the brands to launch campaigns within the Sesimi platform and to deliver creative and assets to dealer bodies.
Lead Performance Coach
John Henderson is one of Canada’s most effective retail automotive consultants, facilitators and trainers, specializing in operational and process effectiveness, guest experience and product knowledge.
John holds accreditations as a Certified Coach Practitioner (CCP) and Certified Executive Coach (CEC), in addition to successful completion of professional development programs in instructional design, change management and virtual / blended / distance learning.
John began his career in automotive sales and leasing before establishing his own consultancy, Majoda Performance in 1997.
Over the last two and a half decades, John has led or supported multiple projects across the retail automotive landscape including engagements with Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Ford, Lincoln and Hyundai, among other brands. John is equally comfortable and skilled as a consulting team leader and as an individual contributor.
Performance Coach – Bilingual
Mario Loubier is a sought-after automotive, guest experience and leadership development speaker, consultant, coach and trainer. Mario has been delivering exceptional value to clients across Quebec for over two decades.
Mario began his professional career in radio communications before switching to advertising sales. One of his early clients, a vehicle dealership owner, asked him to join the team as a salesperson. This was the start of a new adventure and a life-long passion for the retail automotive industry. Mario excelled in the sales role, and immersed himself in all aspects of dealership operations.
In 1997, Mario formed his own training and coaching consultancy offering custom support to dealers across sales, after-sales, leadership and CSI optimization. Mario believes strongly in working with leadership teams to help them engage effectively with customer-facing teams to continuously improve the customer experience and drive better business outcomes as a result.
Mario has supported multiple OEM brands and dealership groups including Genesis, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Lexus, Toyota, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Ford, and Group Park Avenue. Mario is also a published author with two books on the psychology of financial decision-making and how to inspire engagement and loyalty through exceptional customer experiences.