Jessica Parker, 39
General manager, Audi Little Rock
Jessica Parker says her father told her that he would love to have her join the family-owned Parker Auto Group in Little Rock, Ark., but made it clear: The decision was hers.
So she completed law school, but midway through, realized she wasn’t cut out for the solitude it took to read, research and write legal briefs. She volunteered with a nonprofit and enjoyed it, but didn’t feel she could commit to it as a job.
She considered a position in hospitality group sales, but that wasn’t her calling either.
But in 2007, when Parker Audi — recently renamed Audi Little Rock — and Parker Cadillac needed dedicated Internet departments, she knew that her future was in the family business.
Parker accompanied her father and other managers to a friend’s dealership in Iowa to check out the Internet department and get some pointers about what works and what doesn’t.
“After that trip, I thought: ‘I can do this,’ ” says Parker, now general manager of the Audi store. “I wasn’t super techie, but I knew enough to help get that going.” Parker’s father, Dave Parker, and his brother Rick Parker are dealer principals of the group.
Her online expertise landed her the Internet manager job for those stores and helped her realize that she thrives in a team setting.
“I enjoy the team aspect of working in a dealership and the opportunity to make moments special for our customers, whether that is celebrating with a customer that has made his or her first ‘adult’ car purchase or helping someone surprise their spouse, parent or child with a vehicle,” she says.
Jessica Parker has held several positions since the Internet manager post, including Audi pre-owned sales manager in 2013.
Drawing on principles she learned at the NADA Dealer Academy in 2012, she and her team increased used-vehicle sales at the Audi store 70 percent in 2013.
Under her watch as general manager, the team improved the store’s net profit by more than a million dollars and delivered record numbers in all departments.
Those accomplishments earned the store an Audi Magna Society Award in 2021 from Audi of America in recognition of exceptional performance in operational excellence and customer satisfaction.
“It was a great year and I have a great team,” she adds.
These days Jessica Parker’s career path is pretty clear: to succeed her father as dealer principal and carry on the family legacy started by her grandfather. “It’s been such a huge part of lives,” she says. “I hope I’m able to keep things going and growing.”
— Arlena Sawyers