Like many of this year’s honorees, Kathy Hopkins’ career blossomed from something she thought would be temporary.
“I was 16 years old and part of a high school program called ICE, Interdisciplinary Cooperative Education,” she said, explaining that it entailed a half day of school with a half day of work. “During my search for the perfect on-the-job training at the age of 16, a good friend recommended the local Ford dealership.
“While I thought this was something short term, it turned out to be the beginning of a lifetime career in the car business.”
At the Ford store, Hopkins learned both the front and back-end workings of a dealership, eventually becoming the youngest parts manager in the history of the dealership before a friend and co-worker recruited her to work at ADESA.
“I am proud that I have worked my way through ADESA from the bottom up. I started in (1998) as an administrative clerk, where my primary responsibility was to file papers. Fast forward to today where I am the regional dealer sales manager overseeing sales activities for 14 auctions.”
Hopkins explained that her role includes working with local auction sales managers to provide guidance on managing dealer sales activities including dealer contracts for consignment and sale attendance, dealer relationships, arbitrations and sales team activities in the respective region.
Kathy Hopkins, ADESA
“I am responsible for developing a plan and sales strategy to ensure each auction location is working towards the unified goal of hitting their dealer sales annual volume budgets,” she continued.
At this point in her career, Hopkins said she is proud to be “at the same company that continues to be very rewarding both personally and professionally. I am incredibly fortunate to have developed so many great relationships over the years. My success in each position would not be possible if it weren’t for the amazing employees I have had the pleasure of working with.
“I am also very grateful for the confidence the ADESA leadership continues to have in me every day,” she continued. “I have stayed in this business for over 21 years because I love that it is fast-paced, forever changing, always challenging and rewarding.”
As far as her professional role models, Hopkins’ answer was succinct: “I admire all the female leaders in this male-dominated industry.”
Kathy Hopkins, 38, is regional dealer sales manager at ADESA.
Editor's Note: Story updated to clarify that Hopkins began working at ADESA in 1998.