Ashley Cavazos joined the automotive industry 13 years ago as a temporary receptionist in a Texas Ford dealership. Lucky for the store, they recognized her talent for all things digital. When her 90-day receptionist placement was over, she became the store's full-time internet marketing manager!
"I did whatever was needed to keep the business running," she said about those days in Texas. While her title was internet marketing manager, her willingness to ensure the business and customers thrived allowed her to wear many hats. She was in-house IT, hosted workshops, and visited customers at home to ensure they were comfortable with their new cars, all while managing the company's digital world.
In 2013, she had an opportunity to relocate with Morrie’s Auto Group in Minnesota. She asked, "What do I have to lose if I take this leap of faith?" and accepted the offer after church one Sunday. Her seven years with the company proved to be successful as she worked her way from BDC Representative to BDC Manager to Marketing Communications Manager and overseeing variable ops development. Ashley wanted to change the customer experience and knew it began with her team. A key piece of this was empowering her teams by coaching them to "be yourself and care about the customer. They will want to work with you because they know you are invested in them." She trusted that it returns twofold when associates and customers are treated well.
"Looking back, it is easy to see the blessings, beyond anything I could have imagined," she said about her early years in the industry.
In the fall of 2019, with years of experience putting the team and customer first, she joined the team at Walser as their Sr. Manager of Digital Performance. Ashley was impressed by the group's progressiveness, such as being a single point of contact store as well as employee-focused benefits like pet insurance, paid maternity, paternity and adoption leave, and of course, Women of Walser- a group dedicated to empowering women in automotive leadership.
With her passion of wanting to recruit and retain more women into automotive - Women of Walser was a thriving community Ashley could join and contribute to for the development of women like her.
"My family and especially my grandparents taught me to always give back.To share knowledge and find ways to help others." This is the root of her passion and what drives her work with WOCAN and as the now VP of Women of Walser. She plans to continue this work for the impact it has on people and the inspiration it gives other dealers to see that the women in their community are worth investing in and bringing deeper into the automotive conversation. Ashley wants to let other women know all that the industry has to offer - to see women like Ashley, doing their dream job and making a difference.
Before we ended the call, I asked Ashley for a tip for the industry from her experience. "Talk to your employees. What keeps them at their job? Leverage that. Build your employee value proposition. If your employees are happy and living their job then it is good for the employee AND the customer. That is how we change the customer’s perception of the industry. We are not car dealers. We are automotive retailers."