Northwood Alumna, Jenn Reid, Named one of the Top 40 under 40 by Auto Remarketing Industry
See the full article at: autoremarketing.com Jenn Reid, 31 Senior Enterprise Channel Partner Manager Automotive Services, Equifax
Jenn Reid started her automotive career at the young age of 16, when she began working part-time as a receptionist and in customer service at a dealership.
Flash forward to now, and Reid is the senior enterprise channel partner manager in the automotive services group at Equifax.
In this role, Reid says her job is to “work with large strategic relationships to identify industry opportunities/challenges, and partner to create solutions.”
When asked what makes her most proud about her career, she says it’s “being in a position to leverage my diverse automotive experience to help educate and influence the advancement of the industry.”
Reid adds: “Several times throughout my career I have taken risks by pursuing the non-traditional career path, and that has successfully enabled me to now understand dynamics, nuances and complexity of the ecosystem. I am very proud of recent and continued partnership with the associations to help make it easier and more transparent to do business by enhancing the accessibility to information and education.”
Education fuels Northwood Alumna/Equifax’s Reid passion for industry
Equifax’s Jennifer Reid began her automotive career at the dealership level. The Canadian-born Reid started at age 16, answering phones and accepting payments for the service department.
Reid returned to working at dealerships after obtaining her college degree in automotive marketing and management from Northwood University, moving beyond the store’s parts and service department to sales and eventually the finance office.
It’s at that career juncture when several moments occurred that crystallized why Reid is involved in the automotive industry. First, Reid helped to deliver a vehicle to a family who needed a second car, just basic transportation to take a sick child to appointments for treatment at a nearby hospital.
“It gets you right at the core,” Reid recollected about that particular delivery.
Then, Reid served as the store salesperson for a woman who was getting out of an abusive marriage and finalizing the divorce. Reid was able to complete a delivery for that customer. And not just a basic vehicle — but a new, sportier model that Reid said boosted the woman’s self-esteem in a significant way.
“Putting her in a nice shiny car made her feel like a million bucks,” Reid said.
It is noteworthy career anecdotes like those deliveries that make Reid so passionate, not only about the industry, but also about training dealership and finance company personnel to equip both critical parts of the transaction that can bring a level of service customers will remember for years.
“There’s not many feelings better than that. It’s really what the business should be about, helping consumers find the right vehicle for their needs,” said Reid, who now is senior enterprise channel partner manager at Equifax after eight years within the dealer space and another five years with a pair of auto finance companies.
“To be able to help make their situation better, I’ve got to tell you, in a business that doesn’t always have the best reputation, it was so great in those moments to show how you’re making a big difference,” Reid went on to say.
Reid implores dealerships and finance companies to, as she puts it, do “things the right way.” She has been a featured presenter not only during the CPO Forum at Used Car Week, but also the national conferences hosted by the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association, the National Alliance of Buy-Here, PayHere Dealers as well as various state association events.
Her inspiration germinated from being a teenager at the dealership.
“I was very young when I started at the dealership. I did get the benefit of having good foundation folks around me that helped train me. I also had the benefit of going to school, one of the few that actually got a degree in automotive from Northwood,” Reid said.
“I got to see a lot of people come and go through the years, and I also got to see a lot of people struggle. It hit me to the core that I would watch sales folks or people within the dealership struggle, and it wasn’t because they weren’t good people or didn’t want to do things the right way. They didn’t have that background or training,” Reid continued.
“Many times folks are coming in from other industries and other career paths. They’re getting put on the showroom floor and they don’t have a lot of training, and sometimes the people managing them don’t have the training, either,” she went on to say.
So rather than perpetuating the stigma that individuals take a dealership sales position as a last resort, Reid is out to enhance the value of what an automotive career can be.
“I just feel like it’s a business that’s worthy of a career path. I would love to see this business be one where people make hard career plans and want to be in it.” she said.
And with regulators and consumers clamoring for more transparency, Reid insisted now is the time for the education she and others at Equifax are looking to provide.
“I’m very passionate that it’s not about transparency, it’s about trust,” Reid said. “Over the last couple of years when you talk about transparency, it starts with that the folks customers are dealing with are trained professionals and are there to make sure that consumer gets the right vehicle.
“There’s no better time than right now with all this transformation that’s going on in the industry. It’s just going to be so critical that we get that education in place,” she continued.
“I feel like as someone who had the benefit of that, it’s part of my responsibility to bring that to the space,” Reid went on to say.