Susan Moritz calls her road to the car business “almost accidental.”
But it’s certainly an inspiring one, and speaks to not only overcoming challenges, but thriving in their wake.
“I was adopted as an infant with a minor ankle deformity that required me to wear leg braces for the first several months of my life. The doctor felt that dance training may help to strengthen my ankles, but no one ever expected that this therapy would develop into so much more,” said Moritz, vice president of business development at NextGear Capital and a 2016 Women in Remarketing honoree.
“However, at the age of 4, I began training to become a professional ballet dancer. I attended the Indiana University School of Music with a major in ballet, dancing semi-professionally until the age of 23,” she said. “And just like that, I had overcome my first significant challenge without really knowing it.”
As many of us can relate, she said her two most pressing needs after graduation were a car and employment, “in that order.”
Moritz found a position as an assistant business manager at a franchised dealership, and serendipitously, the job came with a company car. Talk about two birds with one stone.
Susan Moritz, NextGear Capital
But the job was more than just employment and a set of wheels.
“Almost immediately, I felt connected to the people I worked with at the dealership. I was an anomaly in the mid-80s and I think everyone looked at me as a social experiment. I became energized by the excitement of the ‘sale,’ and the dealership lifestyle,” Moritz said.
“My dance career had already prepared me to completely commit to anything I took on in the future. The discipline and attention to detail I relied on as a dancer became the foundation for my success as an F&I manager,” she added. “I spent six years at the dealership, and along with finance, found myself managing the new-car sales team. I was a 20-something female managing seasoned car salesmen older than my father. I learned quickly not to take myself too seriously.”
Moritz said she stepped away from the dealership world for a bit when she started a family, and changed over to managing a mortgage processing and closing department. She got back into the car business with a job at ADESA in 2001, also working with some of its sister companies over the next few years.
Moritz has been with what is now known as Cox Automotive since 2009.
“When the market collapsed in 2008, I found myself unemployed for the first time in my life not by choice. This was a dark time for many of us. In May of 2009, I received a job offer from Manheim and little did I know that this would be the catalyst for the career and achievements I have today. When a door closed for me, a REALLY big one opened,” she said.
“In 2014, I transitioned to the Cox Automotive brand NextGear Capital, where I was tasked with business development for this rapidly growing company. I approach business development by understanding the needs of our dealers and looking for opportunities to come in and assist with their daily operations,” she said.
“My focus is to create, develop and implement products and services that will educate, protect and allow our dealers to achieve their goals,” Moritz added. “For me, independent dealers represent the family-owned businesses of a better time, the embodiment of the American dream.
“These are dealers who commit their life savings to creating a business that serves their communities and provides jobs for their neighbors. In my role, I believe that if our dealer fails, we as a company have failed.”
Outside of the day-to-day work, Moritz and the team at NextGear has put an emphasis on community service. She is on the board at Chaucie’s Place, an organization whose mission is to prevent childhood sexual abuse and adolescent suicide. Moritz is also on the board at Indianapolis School of Ballet.
NextGear provides support to these causes, as well as others.
“Outside of that, you can find me playing with my dogs and sharing the company of my daughters and fiancé, Jack. My daughters, along with being independent, are also hilarious and keep me laughing,” Moritz said. “We joke that we should have our own reality TV show, but alas, no call yet from E!”
Check out the April 15 edition of Auto Remarketing to learn more about the entire class of 2016 Women in Remarketing honorees.
These outstanding leaders will be honored at Used Car Week 2016, where we will be launching our National Remarketing Conference partnership with the National Auto Auction Association.
Used Car Week is scheduled for Nov. 14-18 at the Red Rock in Las Vegas.