Katie Segrist, 38
Sales manager, Mercedes-Benz of Cincinnati
At Mercedes-Benz of Cincinnati, Katie Segrist's career evolved as she worked her way up from receptionist to sales manager.
She began her automotive career while in college, working as the night receptionist in the service department and assisting in the sales and finance departments, eventually securing a job in finance after graduation in 2005.
Segrist admits she was unfamiliar with auto sales when she started. But she says spending time in multiple departments gave her a more well-rounded perspective and knowledge for her current role.
"I've learned a lot just because somebody gave me an opportunity," Segrist said. "And knowing just a little bit about each part of the store helps you do your job."
During the pandemic, the store restructured to operate with fewer employees. Segrist took over managing the Internet department and its customer retention tool, automotiveMastermind.
She was also part of the management team that earned a 2019 Best of the Best Gold Laurel award from Mercedes-Benz, which is given to the brand's top-performing dealerships in various areas of the business, including sales volume and customer satisfaction.
As sales manager, she helped the store increase new-car volume by more than 10 percent in 2020 and almost double its gross over the previous year.
Segrist said the dealership has a fun, family atmosphere that has bonded her to colleagues and the retail business in general. She is working toward a general manager's role, with support from management.
"I've always said that you don't have to be the smartest or most talented," Segrist said. "You just have to show up every day and work the hardest and try your best.
"That will give you opportunities. And it truly has with me."
— Wendy Guzman