To continue the momentum started by our Women in Remarketing and Women in Auto Finance franchises, AuSM has launched Women in Retail, an awards program that specifically recognizes leaders on the retail side of the auto industry.
This inaugural class of honorees is spotlighted in the July 1 issue of AuSM, which includes Q&As with each recipient of the award.
Next up is Ashley Halpin Karr, who is vice president of B2B marketing at CarGurus.
AuSM: What was your career path to the retail auto industry? Did you always see yourself in this line of work?
Ashley Halpin Karr: Coming from a management consulting and brand management background, I did not expect to have a career in automotive retail. While I may not be a “car person” by nature and I did not expect to be in this industry, I find its dynamics truly fascinating, and I love that I’m immersed in it every day.
AR: What’s a typical day like in your job? (if there is such a thing as “typical!”)
Ashley Halpin Karr.
AHK: The only typical part of my day is that I’m rarely at my desk or working alone. In order to make sure that CarGurus’ dealer marketing team is achieving its goals, I spend a majority of my day meeting with that team as well as representatives from our sales and product management teams. Together, we make sure that our marketing campaigns are successful and the results are in line with CarGurus’ business goals. I also carve out a portion of time each week to discuss professional development with the dealer marketing team members to make sure that they are finding their work challenging and meaningful.
AR: What is a book you have read that has influenced or helped your career?
AHK: I recently read “Quiet, the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking,” by Susan Cain. The book really helped me understand the “extrovert ideal” that society has created, and also helped me think through the implications of that on the dealer marketing team and how we hire. I tend to be more extroverted at work than in my personal life, and that has led to some soul searching to understand what’s best for me both personally and professionally and how I can recharge for both.
AR: Who is a leader, outside of the auto industry, that you admire and why?
AHK: I love listening to how founders started their companies, and I have really enjoyed the “How I Built This” podcast. They had Roxanne Quimby on to tell the story of how Burt’s Bees began. Her story was truly amazing, she took a small honey business in rural Maine and built it into a massive company that was sold to Clorox. I often listen to these stories through a marketing lens, and I was so impressed to learn how she built a brand that evolved over 30 years, and yet maintained its heritage after its acquisition. Her story is one that really stresses the importance of staying true to the brand promise.
AR: What do you enjoy most about working in the auto industry?
AHK: Automotive retail is so interesting on so many levels, and I love CarGurus’ overall mission of delivering transparency to the industry. I’ve learned that no two dealerships are exactly the same, and this diversity is pushing the industry to develop new technology to help dealerships sell cars in new and exciting ways.