Julie Derybowski: It all started when I was in high school with my first job at a smalltown family owned gas station. It's there where my interest in the automotive industry and my drive to succeed sprouted. The guys at the station would pump gas and wash windows for elderly customers when they pulled in and sometimes get a tip for their efforts.
Never being one to play second fiddle, I thought I could do a better job than them; and so I did. My dad had taught me how to check oil, so I turned my lane into a one-stop-shop. Whenever someone pulled into my lane I'd race out to their car, pump their gas, wash their windows and check their oil, and after a few months, people were lining up for my service!
Always the curious type, I started to become interested in other aspects of the business. I begged the ladies working in the office to let me help with the station's billing and bookkeeping, and eventually started working on both sides of the business. This was my first introduction to the business side of the automotive industry and looking back, it's what set me on my path.
After college, I landed a position at ADESA in the analytical services department. It was the perfect position because it allowed me to learn everything about the automotive industry through a data analytics point of view. During my 12 years at ADESA, I led initiatives that expanded the business to international customers, introduced mobile product offerings and created the voice of the customer program. Simply put, I loved it.
It was my focus on customer experience that led me to my current position as executive director of operations at TradeRev. With TradeRev, I was able to build a team that troubleshoots customer operations matters, oversees the salesforce process and implementation, and manages all post-sales titles and funds.
By listening and learning from our customers, we're able to constantly improve TradeRev's system and continue to give our users a product that enables them to succeed.
As technology evolves, so too does the automotive industry. From the mechanics of the vehicles to remarketing them, dealers are finding and being offered new and inventive ways to navigate through their remarketing decisions. For someone like me who is always striving to learn and experience new challenges, this complex industry is the perfect fit.
AR: How is the remarketing/used-car segment of the business most different from when you first started out?
JD: Technology has always been a driving force of change and continues to push this industry's evolution. A major trend we're seeing is an importance on mobility and more specifically, giving people the ability to conduct business from the palm of their hand. Years ago when I bought my first cellphone, I remember reading about beacons that would track where you were in a store and send you coupons based on products in the aisle you were shopping in. At that time those things seemed impossible. Today, I expect them.
TradeRev is a company that's fueling the industry's evolution. By putting this remarketing tool into the palm of a dealer's hand, they're able to move cars more efficiently, with reduced risk, at greater velocity and with more profitability than we've ever seen in the industry.
AR: How would you describe your leadership style and approach to problem-solving?
JD: Good leaders add value to a company when they create a collaborative environment and welcome new ideas. Always be aware of and make an attempt to understand different points of view. Learn from those around you.
As a leader, I:
• Think creatively.
• Have a positive attitude.
• Teach aptitude.
• Show empathy and resilience.
AR: What have been some of the top keys to your success in the car business?
• Being curious.
• Thinking outside of the box.
• Not being afraid of failure.
• Never giving up.
AR: Who are some folks, whether in the auto industry or not, that you admire professionally, and why?
JD: My family definitely provided me with a good foundation for success in my career by instilling in me the importance of accountability and determination and by always demonstrating a strong work ethic.
I've been fortunate enough to draw insight from many great leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs at ADESA and TradeRev. I'm most inspired by people who are passionate about their careers and who are more worried about figuring out what to do next and less worried about whether or not they're going to fail.
AR: When you are able to get away from the office or work, what do you enjoy? What are your hobbies, interests, etc.?
JD: Family is very important to me, so if I'm not spending time with my work family at the office, I'm trying to do whatever I can to make memories and share experiences with my family at home. My other full-time job — being a mom — is equally as important to me, so I work hard to make sure I find a healthy work-life balance. I'm constantly working on projects around my home and I love to decorate and craft. I'm an HGTV and Pinterest addict, which explains why I spend a lot of time doing craft or art projects with my daughter.
Read about all of this year's Women in Remarketing honorees in the April 1 issue of Auto Remarketing.