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How did you get to where you are today? What is your story? What incidents and experiences shaped your career path?

Summarized By: Lydia Rohde on Wed Jul 29 2020
My name is Lydia Rohde. I went to Northwestern University from 2014 to 2018 so I'll just jump right in. I work at Mazda North American operations. I'm a district sales manager. I've been here for about two years. To get where I am today, I would say a lot of help came from my mentors at Northwestern. I was on the women's basketball team there, and they have a program for student athletes called NU for Life and with NU for life you are given the opportunity to meet with mentors, meet with previous athletic alums who are in careers today that I can help you grow your career and teach you how to network. They go as far as to show you what clothes you should wear during an interview, how to prepare for an interview, and just how to connect with people. So through NU for life, I met a former softball athlete who works at Mazda when I was job searching at the end of my senior year. She was connected with me because Mazda was looking for some entry level kids who just graduated so the NU for life connection mentioned my name I got in touch with them, went through a few interviews, went to their headquarters in Chicago, and then they offered me the job a few weeks later. So I started in July of 2018 and it was all owed to my connections at Northwestern. So if I have any advice for you, it would be to use the connections that you have at your at your university. Make sure you're in the career advancement office, meeting with someone, making those networking connections right away.

What responsibilities and decisions does one handle in a job like yours? Tell us about weekly work hours, including the time spent on work travel and working from home.

Summarized By: Lydia Rohde on Wed Jul 29 2020
so the responsibilities and decisions that are handled in my job. So as a district sales manager, I'm in District seven, which is the Detroit area. So I have nine dealerships or eight dealerships now that I oversee a few in the Detroit area, two in Grand Rapids and one in Toledo. So that's kind of my area. I my regular workday looks like pretty much waking up, checking email, checking sales reports, Um, and then I before COVID I would go to one of those dealerships each day. So the grand Rapids dealers I visit once or twice a month. But the others I'd be there pretty much once a week, visiting mostly the sales managers and general managers, meeting with them, going over reports, making sure that their sales, um, seeing how they're still were going. What's working, What's not working, doing some training, whether it be with online Mazda Systems or doing training with their sales salespeople. Sometimes I meet with their service managers but I have a service counterpart, and he does most of the service stuff, so I'm usually doing the sales stuff, um, weekly work hours, so I probably be on my computer from 7 45 till 9, 9 30 depending on which dealership I am visiting that day. Um, cause some are, you know, 45 minutes to an hour away. I have one that's 15 minutes away, and then Grand Rapids, about 2.5 hours. Just depends on where I'm going that day. I use a robber on 10 10 30 on their 32 probably 1 32 sometimes to the year three, depending on how much I want to get done that day. I usually try to stick to three or four main points to go over when I'm there, and I make sure to meet with the general manager just to say hi. Even if have nothing to bring for them that day or her that day, I would check in, say hi. It's always good to maintain those relationships when you're in the dealerships meeting. So yet

What are the challenges in a job like yours? What approaches are effective in dealing with these challenges? Discussing examples will help students learn better.

Summarized By: Lydia Rohde on Wed Jul 29 2020
some challenges would be. There are some difficult people that you will deal with at any time in life. And maybe one day someone's having a bad day or they just aren't interested in what you're bringing to the table that day. So I would say some of the biggest challenges are trying to get people to listen and implement what I am telling them. For example, if I bring a report to them that shows that there, um sales loyalty has dropped 20% in the past year suddenly been dropping. And I want to bring them some tips on how to improve this sales loyalty. And they don't want to listen. They don't want to do what I'm suggesting. I know that you don't have to do what I'm suggesting, but at that 20% has a huge drop and pretty much they should be looking for any any tips and tricks to help them bring that little to look out. But just people not really taking into account what I'm saying or not wanting to do the work to implement or doing the work for a week and then letting it fall to the wayside. So I think just staying consistent with my communication is important. Just being positive all the time, Even if someone's giving me kind of a negative attitude, I have to, you know, take that deep breath, say you know, maybe they're having a bad day. Maybe something happened at home. You know, so just trying to always be positive, Um, and always be prepared, they might ask questions that you weren't prepared for. And then it makes you look a little bit like, Oh, I wasn't ready for this meeting, you know? So just make sure you are prepared for everything and staying positive.

What tools (software programs, frameworks, models, algorithms, languages) are typically used in a role like yours?

Summarized By: Lydia Rohde on Wed Jul 29 2020
so we amount that we have a lot of report sent was each morning inventory levels, sales levels. So we have five or six car lines, so each each dealership that I that I oversee, I check how many sales I had the day before. How many cars they punched, just how many cars they have sold and delivered, Um, and kind of evaluate each carline, see where they're at if they're lacking and one and have a lot of the other. It's also a good way to bring to the table questions like, Why is your, um, example, CX-5 is one of our highest on vehicles. Wire your c x five sales so low why your c x 30 sales so high? Have you been doing more marketing? Have you been putting more effort into it? That kind of thing always brings questions to the table. Um and so, along with those reports, we have a few systems that hold, um, showing what the inventory levels are showing. What other dealerships have the inventory in case they want to do a dealer trade, for example, for a vehicle that they need, um, ways to check survey scores table. A customer will get a survey after they have completed a sale or had their service done at that dealership. It will get a survey that has a bunch of questions on it. Let into the questions. Tennis. Orban and I can see how each customer answer those questions. I can see. Um, how the questions. For example, if a customer says, You know, the test drive was horrible. My sales person was rude to me and didn't answer all my questions. I can see all that and then ask the dealership No, Hey, what happened with this? You know, always give them the benefit of the doubt. Say, can you explain why the customer customer maybe have said this? Because sometimes customers in a bad mood and gives a bad survey. But on that's another system that we used help See x 3 60 Um, And there there are a few others that those are the main ones that I use mainly to check sales or boards, inventory reports, um, and survey results

What are the job titles of people who someone in your role routinely works with, within and outside of the organization? What approaches are effective in working with them?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Jul 29 2020
sales manager. I usually deal with each sales manager at each dealership, and the general manager is always good to have a good relationship with them. So when I first started in this job, my first two or three weeks I was traveling with my boss pretty much going into each dealership and meeting with sales manager in general manager and creating that relationship, making sure that I call them. I haven't seen them. I talked in a few days. That's not going to get a stand, constant communication. So, um, what a purchase are effective in working with them because I was staying in constant communication, and for me, I'm very big on one on one relationship. So I do. I do very well with one on one meetings or small group meetings, so it's important to me to have also slightly personal relationships with these people. So when I go in to meet with them, I'll ask how they're doing, how they're family is doing. I have a dog, so I like to connect with them hope in the any cuts that they have. I was always going to get that report building right away so you could have, um, more of a personal relationship. So the trust is built and also you just It's almost like a new friend, so communication is most important for me.

What indicators are used to track performance in a job like yours? Think of the indicators such as key performance indicators (KPIs), objectives & key results (OKRs), or so on.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Jul 29 2020
indicators to track performance, so I am personally not hated or grated on any actual numbers. That's more when I look at for my dealerships and take those numbers back to dealerships and try to help them build their numbers. But, um, if my Jewish for my dealerships, for example, exceed their objective for a month, Um, that's good, because it means that I'm doing the work behind the scenes and helping them build up their sales, build up their loyalty, buildup the relationship with customers. Um, so I would say, probably the sales numbers are the most important. K p. I were given objectives each month, and we always try to hit those, um, and we try to stay, maintain a certain level or each of these KP eyes so that be sales, sales, loyalty. Um, SMS survey scores. Um, CPO sales, which is certified pre owned vehicles, are Those aren't regular retail vehicles. Those are CPO used feel vehicle. So I checked. Checked those as well. Um, we have a few KP eyes based on the surveys survey scores. So you have something called survey health, which means I'm at the surveys that are brought back to us have a valid email address on and if it looks like the customer actually filled them out because in some circumstances, just to boost their scorer dealerships will fill up the survey for the customer. And that's not good. Um, the articles of the main KP eyes.

Can you discuss career accomplishment(s) that you feel good about? Please discuss the problem context, your solution, and the impact you made.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Jul 29 2020
I was. I have three examples of something that I'm pretty corado with my career so far all happening this year in 2020. So we had one dealership that was bought out by another dealership at the end of January. So beginning of February, um, myself and my partner had to go to this new dealership, meet an entire new staff train this entire new staff and put them all into the system very much. Teach them how to do everything that has to do with Mazda because they had not been a Mazda dealership before. That they were a strong dealer group that had a lot of other manufacturers. But we're not aware of what, going up Mazda. So we had to pretty much bring them in and teach them everything. You spend three or four days in a row full days, pretty much getting there at nine AM, staying till three or four. Just teaching them, meeting with them, um, in creating those relationships. And that was a pretty big accomplishment because I had just I just started in this role exactly about a year ago. So I was only a few months into being in this role being this destructive cell. I was barely knew I was the learning. So it was a learning experience for me is low, but it was great to see how they have. Their dealership was completely turned around. They have more sales each month, and the previous dealership did so that was That was great. And something. The second example, something similar happened to a different dealership a few months later, just as Kobe was starting. So we had to do everything over a video call or on the phone, and it was difficult toe start a relationship with someone over phone call. But it just might stay in constant communication, doing some training sessions over video. We're able to do it. And again this dealership has has greatly improved their sales, and I think it's just a better atmosphere for them. And then finally, you just dealing with the whole Kobe situation. It's been very difficult for a lot of businesses. I mean, many of going on business, taking pay cuts, for example. People let go on that. I don't think anyone at Masa has done let go, but we have taken some pick cuts and you had to do a lot of things over, like much of video chat or over the phone. And that's difficult. It's because I think the bust interactions happened in person, especially when dealing with a lot of numbers and things that might get a little bit boring over the phone or over video. So, um, yeah, I think something I am proud of in that Mazda. I think overall she product is the way that we've handled this situation. We've done our best to keep our employees and our our dealer body safe by you know, something PPE an example, for example, to the service and sales teams that we have out there across the country. Um, making sure that everyone is working from home and have all the resources available with no headsets are computer, every other ones working together. And we've had a lot of check ins with my bosses, my bosses boss, just with our entire team, just to make sure everyone's doing okay and if always asking if we need any help. So I think just stay in communication throughout. This entire Kobe situation has been something that myself and I think mas should be proud off

What responsibilities and decisions did you handle at work? What were the challenges? What strategies were effective in dealing with these challenges?

Based on experience at: Regional Operations Specialist, Mazda North American Operations
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Jul 29 2020
like I mentioned before. A lot of my responsibility is bringing to the table ways Teoh assist these dealerships and improving their sales inventory of a lot of things I've done over the past year is marketing. Marketing has been a big focus for Masa these past few years over you as we've gone through a little bit of a rebranding. So, um, for marketing, I I like to check dealerships marketing spend. I have system. But I can I can check how much money they're spending and where they're spending their money. Um, what? Carlin they're focusing on if they're focusing on ECM surgeon to March marketing s Seo search engine optimization to make sure that their dealership is showing up first. When you google their name or Google, they're area or Google Monster in their area. Um so I think just the consultation constitutive role, um, is one of my biggest responsibilities and just being able to analyze the information that I'm given from the reports and what I look at each day be able Teoh, turn that into an action plan to take back to the dealerships and help them improve in the areas that they are not historian and, like you mentioned, much of the challenges are just making sure these suggestions are implemented and at least tried out for a little bit and stayed consistent within munching them.

How did the school prepare you for your career? Think about faculty, resources, alumni, exposure & networking. What were the best parts?

Based on experience at: Bachelor's degree, English Language and Literature, General, Northwestern University
Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Jul 29 2020
um, and you for life at Northwestern Waas. They're instrumental in my entire career. I managed to get an internship while still playing my sport, which, uh, not a lot of people have the opportunity to do. And it was a shorter ancient internship and obviously shortened hours because of basketball. But I'm still able to do an internship because of a new for life, Um, and then obviously having the connections to get this job and have a lot of networking as well. So I would say, um, my best to be, too. Like I said, it connect with your career advancement, any any type of career advancement that you have the opportunity. Listen, Teoh, any panels that might be going on even if it's not in, ah, an area that you're interested in because I was I was an English major, and that doesn't really have anything to do with, uh, what I'm doing now.

What three life lessons have you learned over your career? Please discuss the stories behind these lessons, if possible. Stories could be yours or observed.

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Jul 29 2020
I would say Number one that would be having a positive attitude. That's something that I think is very important, especially in my business role. So I'm a woman in the car industry. There are not many women is a lot off older men. So I think having a positive attitude and, uh, patients of being, you know, kind of having tough skin being able Thio take whatever is thrown at you and dealing with people that always don't have the bus attitudes that does come up. So I think staying positive is one lesson that I've learned so far right to your career. Um, second, I would say communication is very important, um, calling people back right away, resulting two people in a timely manner. Um, responding positively, responding with respect. If I don't respond when you're angry, don't respond when you're frustrated, you know, take a deep breath. Think about what you're saying before you say it, but always making sure that you are getting back to people in a timely manner. Um, and the third thing I would say is utilized Your resource is whether that be, um, leading up on things that you're not sure about or asking questions. I have so many strong. Um, I've had a lot of strong bosses over the past two years aside when I have been promoted twice. So I've had different bosses and, um, my co workers that have been with Mazda for many, many years. I think I've learned the most just from asking them questions. I'm asking to maybe go along with them to a meeting or sit in on a meeting or listen into, um, discussion that they're having just to learn more about what they do, what tools they use, how they deal with certain issues. Oh, yeah, I was. I've learned the most from, um, asking my my mentors, my superiors questions.

What starting job (after internship) would you recommend to students who hope to grow professionally like you? What other parting advice, dos, and don'ts would you give?

Summarized By: Jeff Musk on Wed Jul 29 2020
I did not have any intentions of getting into the car industry after I graduated. I spent a lot of my time obviously doing my sport at Northwestern. So I don't have a ton of time to research, um, jobs that I wanted to dio I like this, that I was an English major. So I was looking at maybe editing or publishing. But we're in a ton of opportunities, and a lot of the jobs were looking for people who had already interned in that capacity. And I didn't want to graduate and then being intern again. That wasn't part of my half. I don't think, um, so I think I just researched any jobs that Northwestern had offered to look at anything that seemed a little bit interesting or somewhere where I knew someone that worked there. Um, and I would just apply. And I applied so many places high senior spring. Um, you're gonna get rejections, luscious part of it. You're gonna get any beers and then get rejections, or we're gonna have something that doesn't even contact you back about your application. So just be prepared for that. And do not lose hope. They just don't lose hope something good will come along for you. Um, but I would just recommend applying if you don't know what you want to dio applying to just a bunch of different things. And after having those initial conversations with maybe the hiring manager or the next manager off, you'll get a feel for what the job is and what you really want to do. We don't want to do yourself. Yeah, my advice would just be Teoh keeping over mind applied Teoh multiple things. Not like 100 things pitch five or six things and things that you might be interested in. Try to learn as much as you can about that role in that job and that business. Um, and see if it's right for you. Um, yeah.