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Helen Ching-Kircher

Rising above and away beyond…

THE FAIRY TALES OF THE FUTURE will be written about strong women who care more about breaking through stereotypes than they do about ?tting into glass slippers. Young girls in UCR families will be enthralled to hear of the women who overcame barriers, created opportunities for other women, and inspired new ways of thinking about what is possible for equality in the world, not just with Porsches.

I’d be lying if I said there weren’t intimidating moments when I ?rst entered the automotive world. This industry has been, and still is, dominated by men. From the start, I faced the challenge of being taken as seriously as my male counterparts.

Changing ideologies about where and how women belong in the world is not something Helen Ching-Kircher had in mind when she ?rst got into the multi-million dollar luxury car business, but she has since seen an untapped niche in the male- dominated automobile world.

Realizing that while women were competing in near equal numbers to men in most sports like tennis, golf, and volleyball, there was still a de?ciency in the number of women involved in the sport of race car driving. Ching-Kircher explains, “Cars, driving, and racing are interests that have always been seen as predominantly male. It’s important to establish and recognize that a passion for cars and driving goes beyond being a man or a woman.” Therefore, in an effort to foster the passions of their female patrons and aid them in the advancement of their driving skills, Downtown Porsche created the Women Only Driver Development Day.

With Porsches lined up and helmets at the ready, this day at the track isn’t just a typical spin of the wheels, but simultaneously it’s a breaking down of barriers. The brain child of Downtown Porsche’s Helen Ching-Kircher, the Women Only Driver Development Day is the ?rst and only of it’s kind in Canada, designed to help women Porsche drivers both discover and challenge their Porsche on a level they may not have thought possible. Because the DNA of the Porsche was born on the track, the day is set up to coach women drivers what they as drivers and their cars are capable of. In it’s twelfth year, the event increases skills and con?dence for female drivers by offering an in-class training session, followed by four track exercises with a professional driver: slalom, a collision avoidance, acceleration and then cornering tests designed to improve drivers’ vision and smoothness on the track. By the end of the day, the ladies are excited by the new skills they’ve gained and the greater understanding they have of their vehicles. 

A car is more than a mode of transportation. It’s an individual statement. It’s a lifestyle. It represents pure excitement!

Ching-Kircher acutely understands the experience of a woman delving into the automobile world as an interest and then discovering it as a true passion. She began her journey after moving from Hong Kong to Canada in 1989 with her children at which time she met Dr. Peter Kircher who introduced her to the luxury car business. They married and together developed DFC Auto Group into a multi-million dollar luxury car business, comprising Downtown Porsche and Audi Uptown in Toronto. Her admiration of ?ne design and aesthetics, which began with an interest in fashion, blossomed at DFC Group and strengthened her love for cars and her excitement for the automotive business. Ching-Kircher exclaims, “A car is more than a mode of transportation. It’s an individual statement. It’s a lifestyle. It represents pure excitement!”

Although she has difficulty choosing a favourite car because she loves each Porsche for its unique features and lustrous design, Ching-Kircher says she is fortunate that her childhood dream of driving a Porsche has come true. The new Porsche Panamera, however, is a recent highlight for her with its sleek interior and exterior re-design. “It’s simply spectacular!” she notes, as she points out its phenomenal performance and the environmentally friendly E-Hybrid option. She loves Porsche for “Its history; its presence; its every day usability. It’s a brand that is recognized by the young and is something everyone dreams about until the dream becomes a reality. That is the ultimate reward. There is no other manufacturer that owns such an iconic, global brand. For me, the incredible engineering and race history is what makes Porsches so outstanding.”

As the President and CEO of DFC Auto Group, her admiration for both the Porsche and Audi brands is palpable. She loves to be a part of the car community and towards that end; she is a big supporter of PCA UCR and fan of Provinz Magazine. She loves staying up-to-date on the latest developments in the Porsche world and shares the enthusiasm of its readership. 

With solid expertise in luxury vehicles, and a zeal for the automotive industry, Ching-Kircher is a leader in her ?eld and a role model for car-enthusiasts. Of her experience, she says, “I’d be lying if I said there weren’t intimidating moments when I ?rst entered the automotive world. This industry has been, and still is, dominated by men. From the start, I faced the challenge of being taken as seriously as my male counterparts.” To overcome these challenges, she simply focused on doing the best job she possibly could. She comments, “Just know that when you do a good job, nobody will challenge you.” And the success of DFC AutoGroup is an outstanding tribute to her determined work ethic.

These solid career values extend further to her volunteerism and philanthropic endeavours. She is a Member of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, a Member of the Board of Governors of Mount Sinai Hospital, and a Member of the Board of Governors for the Yee Hong Wellness Foundation for Geriatric Care. As an advocate for the elderly, a patron of the ?ne arts, and frequently in attendance at numerous charitable events and galas, Ching-Kircher spends her time giving back to the community. “It’s only natural for me to extend the same amount of care and compassion to groups and individuals in society as others have shown me,” she explains, “In my lifetime, I have been fortunate enough to receive opportunities and experience great success. I want to offer those opportunities to others. Most important of all, my mother instilled in me to never forget to help others.” So naturally, it’s also important for her to nurture the next generation of female car-enthusiasts and those with a desire to break into the business. Her positivity is contagious. “I would strongly encourage other women to explore this interest and not let presumptions in?uence their decision in pursuing this career path. It is incredibly valuable to experience it all and decide for yourself. In addition, more and more women are contributing meaningfully to this industry – don’t be afraid to be a part of that change!” she comments.

As a leader in her ?eld, she recognizes the value of her female clientele and knows that they are pushing a change within the industry, noting that she thinks more and more manufacturers and dealers will recognize the importance of appealing to this demographic. For the dealerships’ Women Only Driver Development Day, Ching-Kircher’s goal is for all of the participants to feel comfortable behind the wheel and test their limits at their own rate. She explains, “I hope that participants come out of the event feeling like a more con?dent driver and leave with an even stronger appreciation of their Porsche than they did going in. Our goal is that they drive away with a memorable experience and a desire to grow their skills even further while being able to put the lessons they just learnt to practice.” This exciting learning experience is nothing less than what clients have come to expect from DFC Auto Group, a company where unparalleled service is the standard. It is a core value that will surpass all customer expectations, just like the rest of their sales and service departments provides. </>

By Krista Deverson, Freelance Journalist | Photos by Lucas Scarfone of Autostrada Forum Magazine and Scarfone Photography

Editor’s Note: Krista Deverson wrote a similar article that was published in the Fall of 2017 by Autostrada Forum Magazine, but rewrote her story for Provinz. Lucas Scarfone kindly provided his awesome photos published in Autostrada Forum Magazine for use in Provinz.

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