Amber Woods, 38
Director of dealer operations, Treasure Coast Toyota, Treasure Coast Lexus
Amber Woods, just 15 when she started working in her father’s dealerships, worked her way up to fixed operations director at Brandon Volkswagen in Tampa, Fla., after graduating from college. But a few years later, she set off for another career, working as a case manager for the New York Department of Labor.
Even as she held that job for about seven years, the dealership business beckoned.
“I realized that the car business was in my blood as much as I was trying to get away from it,” Woods said. “I grew up, and I realized that my father’s empire needed to be taken to the next level.”
She returned to Florida to work for her dad, Sanford Woods, who was thinking about retirement. But Amber Woods wasn’t handed keys to a dealership right away.
“I was to shadow our general managers for two years, literally,” she said. “After the two years ... I kind of raised my hand and said, ‘OK, I’m ready.’”
Woods, a second-generation operator, has been running Treasure Coast Toyota of Stuart and Treasure Coast Lexus in Fort Pierce since February 2016.
Woods describes her leadership style as hands on. Under her direction, Treasure Coast Toyota has hit or beaten its sales objective nearly every month since July 2016, and gained market share. The store received the Southeast Toyota Distributors’ Elite award in 2017 and 2018, ranking among the top Toyota dealerships in a five-state area. And Treasure Coast Toyota received Toyota’s President’s Award for 2018 for its high sales efficiency, service and sales retention and customer satisfaction.
She credits “finding the right people and putting them in the right positions,” plus continuously sharing her vision during monthly staff meetings, for helping achieve dealership milestones.
Woods said she is close to her associates and encourages them to communicate with her. By taking care of her staff, they in turn will take care of customers, she said.
She also has ramped up the stores’ community involvement with nonprofits or events in the area.
— Melissa Burden