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Samantha Jacobson

POSITION:Director of marketing, Warren Henry Automotive Group
ACHIEVEMENT: Launched Via Luxury Rentals, an affiliate that handles service loaners and rentals

Samantha Jacobson wears many hats.

The Warren Henry Auto Group's marketing director oversees the marketing operations of its five South Florida luxury and exotic-vehicle dealerships, plus a new Audi dealership opening soon in Gainesville.

She also runs marketing for six Warren Henry affiliate companies that span a broad cross-section of businesses, including leasing, vehicle transport, events and technology.

Hard to believe that just three years ago, she was an auto industry neophyte. That was when Warren Henry CFO Erik Day recruited her to launch an affiliate to manage service loaners for the Miami-based group's luxury-car dealerships.

"I had never looked at auto specifically as an industry I was interested in for a long-term career," she said. "I knew I loved project management and operations."

She took the job in 2013, and quickly smelled opportunity.

Today, the affiliate, Via Luxury Rentals, manages a fleet of roughly more than 200 luxury and exotic vehicles, not only providing loaners to Warren Henry service customers but also renting cars to well-heeled clients through partnerships with five luxury hotels and properties in South Florida, including the iconic Fontainebleau hotel on South Beach.

Jacobson says that prior to launching the rental business, the loaners sat idle about 15 percent of the time, mostly on weekends. That's prime time for Miami tourists looking to take an excursion in a luxury or exotic sports car.

"Once Erik approached me ... I really felt like it was a no-brainer," Jacobson says of the initial job offer. "There were a lot of opportunities behind what he was saying and there was a lot of growth potential."

She was right. Last fall, she was promoted to her current role, a new position for the group.

These days, she's working to implement consistent and automated tools to measure marketing return-on-investment for each Warren Henry dealership.

"From my standpoint, we really haven't been able to get a grasp on ROI," she said. "We're just now starting to do that."

She's also busy with the other affiliate companies, including prepping launches for a business intelligence technology platform and a high-end car sharing app for the Miami market.

That's a fast track for someone who joined the company at age 29 knowing "nothing" about the world of auto retailing.

"To now be an expert in all of those things, and to be teaching someone else about them, is incredible," Jacobson says.

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