Shelby Reed, 30
President, World Class Automotive Group
Shelby Reed returned to her family's eight-store dealership group in Texas in early 2020 after a one-year stint with the accounting firm EY. Her welcome to the job of president was the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, followed by a global semiconductor shortage that has drained dealership inventories around the country.
Her keys to navigating both? Communication and trust.
Reed instituted daily video calls with officials from each of the World Class Automotive Group stores to discuss operations and transitioning to online sales. She added monthly operational reviews that bring together managers from service, finance, sales and other parts of the store to collaborate and brainstorm.
"We're trying to open up communication even within the dealerships so they know what's going on," she said.
Last year, Reed also juggled the opening of a Lincoln store after separating it from a Ford location, in addition to rebranding the group's dealerships with Planet Ford-Lincoln names.
Reed didn't start her career in the service bays or on the showroom floor. Her first job was as a barista at the cafe inside the group's Planet Ford store in Spring, Texas, when she was 13.
That job lasted for one summer, but she said serving coffee gave her a unique opportunity to get to know customers as well as the store's employees.
"That really drew me into wanting to join," Reed said.
After receiving a bachelor's degree in finance from Santa Clara University, Reed returned to the group in 2014 and worked in a variety of roles. She later earned a master's in business administration from Southern Methodist University and left to become a senior advisory consultant for EY before the family business drew her in again.
She would like to expand through acquisitions and diversify the group's offerings into heavy truck services, conversion and aftermarket accessories. She says her experience in the past 16 months as president has prepared her for the industry's looming changes around electric vehicles and an increased focus on digital sales.
Her biggest takeaway?
"Never get comfortable," she said. "There's always going to be something and you should always be prepared for that something. Having the right team around you that you can trust is what's most important."
— Michael Martinez