Hilary Haron, 34
Owner, Haron Motor Sales Inc.
When Hilary Haron was about 11 years old, her father took her to the family’s dealership in Fresno, Calif., instead of allowing her to sit at home after the travel softball season ended.
The adolescent Haron coveted new sunglasses — an $86 pair of Oakley frames, she recalled — and learned early on that she had to work hard for what she wanted.
“My parents framing life in such a way was really helpful for me because I was able to understand very young that if I can apply myself to something and put the effort in, then those goals are achievable,” she said.
Haron still has the Oakley sunglasses and now owns the Jaguar-Land Rover-Volvo dealership with her father, Jim, and cousin, Randy. She purchased her share of the dealership — started by her grandfather, Charles — in 2014.
Although she prefers to work more on the back end of the business — tackling things such as efficiency, workplace policies, marketing compliance and consumer perception — many of her achievements are evident on the front end.
Haron more than doubled the number of women at the dealership from 2015 to 2019, to 15 from six. While the coronavirus has impacted headcount, the store employs 11 women out of 52 workers total.
“It’s an interesting dynamic with women in automotive because I don’t always think that women think they belong in automotive,” she said. “We work on combating that.”
The next big hiring goal for Haron will be finding a “rock star female technician,” she said.
In the meantime, Haron is in the running for the Northern California board seat for the National Automobile Dealers Association. She’s awaiting results from the runoff and should be notified this month.
Haron also has been a member of the California New Car Dealers Association’s board of directors since January 2019.
She said running for the position with the California association was “terrifying,” but pushing past the fear and showing up have been key to her success and building confidence.
“Across the board, most of my experiences have cumulatively come to the conclusion that you have to do it anyway,” she said. “You can be scared. You can be sad. You can be unprepared. You can be crying. But you have to do it anyway.”
— Audrey LaForest