Sharon Kitzman, 46
Vice President and General Manager, DMS, Dealertrack Technologies
What attracted you to the auto industry? My boyfriend's father was an executive at Reynolds and Reynolds, and there was real growth in the industry and opportunities. It also was in a location that worked for our family life.
First automotive job: Client services representative at Reynolds and Reynolds in 1992
Big break: Leading up to Y2K, Reynolds was retiring some of its noncompliant dealer management system platforms, and I was involved in the transition to the new ERA platform. I had worked my way up through service, sales and product to a director-level role to manage the ERA platform. We had approximately 10,000 clients on ERA at that time.
What is the major challenge you've faced in your career? Leaving Reynolds for a new company in a new part of the country. UCS had bought Reynolds. I loved Reynolds and felt I would finish my career there. But I grew from taking on a new challenge (at Dealertrack).
Who has had the biggest influence on your career? Allan Stejskal, who is now senior vice president of information technology at AutoNation. I reported to him for two years at Dealertrack. He was senior director of product and strategy and mentored me.
What should be done to encourage women to enter the auto industry? I think there's a perception that auto retailing is a man's world. There are many roles for women in dealerships from sales, advertising, human resources and management. There are opportunities. As shopping continues to evolve online, swing shifts and work hours might better align with women's schedules.
Tell us about your family. My husband and I have a 16-year-old son, Matthew. It's great skiing with him because we can spend one-on-one time on the lift up the mountain.
What's your favorite weekend activity? In the summer, I run. Six of us recently did a 200-mile relay race. In the winter, I'm an avid skier.
When and where was your last vacation? Over spring break, the whole family went to a golf resort in Southern California.