Women at the Wheel 2022: Sarah Vantine

2022 Honoree

Vice President of Business Development Strategy

What is one of your proudest accomplishments of your career?

Creating a culture of acceptance, growth and learning. I once had a general manager come through the BDC department I’d built from scratch and describe it as the “Island of Misfit Toys” from the movie Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I’d built a department that didn’t fit the typical look of a car dealership, but it was so much more than that. Our world is a diverse place full of amazing humans and our businesses should reflect the diversity of our society. Cultivating a work environment built on mutual respect, alongside shared goals that keeps customer satisfaction and problem solving at the heart of our culture, creates an environment where success is celebrated, learning is a daily occurrence and everyone is valued for being the unique human that they are. Our customers in turn felt appreciated, understood and valued, which led to increased profits. Building a successful culture that enables better customer and employee retention has been one of the highlights of my career.


In what do you credit your success and/or what do you think makes you stand apart from your peers?

My success has always stemmed from people. I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to have mentors who saw my passion for finding profit work alongside my passion for helping others. They allowed me the space to learn, grow and find ways to challenge the status quo as I sought to improve the customer’s and employee’s experience. Without their support, I would not have been able to find my voice or have the means to achieve my goals. People put their trust in me to find a different approach and bring my best every time. I am fortunate to have had so many opportunities in my career to prove what I’m capable of accomplishing.


What tools do you use to help you grow in the industry?

I love engaging with the Quantum5 learning app. Having the flexibility to engage with content that improves your skills, at your pace, is a game-changer for the automotive industry. It has been incredible to be surrounded by people who understand that to be the best, you must be dedicated to what you do. Pairing technology with people to create a framework for success, that also puts people at the center of the customer experience, is something I’m constantly learning.


What is your best advice to other women who want to excel in the automotive industry?

There is no such thing as balance. Balance implies that you can always do all things in equal measure. This is a fallacy and women often feel intense pressure to obtain this impossible state. Instead, focus on what you can do in each moment and recognize when you can let go or allocate to others. Your focus will need to shift based on your highest obligations and priorities. It is important to realize you are not a failure for having to neglect something temporarily while you focus on something else. Seek out mentors that will help you learn new skills and ensure that you also cultivate those coming along behind you. Being successful takes a team both personally and professionally and it’s important to recognize this to achieve fulfillment and success.