President, Team Automotive Group
Since becoming president of Team Automotive Group in 2017, Kristin Dillard has taken a single-point dealership started by her father and expanded the business into a six-store group, via acquisitions, across North Carolina.
The group, which recently moved its headquarters from Salisbury to Charlotte, has stores situated "all the way from the mountains to the ocean," Dillard said, who noted Team Automotive is also looking to make acquisitions in neighboring states.
While Team Automotive's expansion into new markets has required it to grow its employee base, it's also been an opportunity to make sure its staff reflect the diverse populations where the dealerships operate.
"We focus on hiring just the right people," Dillard said. "I think that shines through in the diversity of our team because we're looking for humans that have these great backgrounds. A lot of our areas come from diverse populations and so we're hiring for the person and we're hiring for all the abilities that come with those people."
Dillard, who was part of Automotive News' 40 Under 40 class in 2017, said Team Automotive has learned that diversity can't be driven by one person.
"It's got to be driven by the team and the culture within our stores," Dillard said. "So it takes all of us. As we're hiring, we're looking for just really great humans. The worst thing that we can do, we think, is build a program that just sits on a shelf. It's got to be in everything that we live in, breathe and all that we do."
Dillard said nearly a quarter of the group's 81-person leadership team, which consists of employees from the six dealerships and its corporate team, is female. Team Automotive also recently began building out its own marketing firm and hired a chief marketing officer, who is African-American, to lead the way, Dillard said.
Increasing the number of women on its leadership team is something the group has worked on over the last few years, Dillard said.
"But it's also come naturally, too, because again, we're focusing on hiring great people with great backgrounds," she said. "But it's been a big push to make sure that our consumers [and] our team members feel comfortable in the environments that they work and purchase in as well. It's important that our team is diverse, just like our consumer base is."
— Jack Walsworth