Amy: Hi. It’s Amy with Think Creative. I’m here today with Marlen. Marlen works for the Martin Automotive Group. This is Simi Valley Chevrolet’s podcast. We’re so excited to have a chance to talk with her today. Hi. Welcome, Marlen.
Marlen: Hi. Thank you so much for having me.
Amy: I am so excited to finally have a chance to sit down and talk with you. You’re a very important figure in the Martin Automotive Group.
Marlen: Thank you.
Amy: So I’m a little bit curious to know about how you got started in the automotive industry.
Marlen: So I worked with the Martin Automotive Group for about four, four and a half years. When I started in the car industry, I was not starting in the car industry with the intentions of staying in it. I was going to school. I was going to university to learn to be a physicist. So I was going for my bachelor’s in physics. And I just needed kind of another side job to get through college, and I ended up just falling in love with this business. And I ended up loving the people that I work with, the store, and then just the process overall and what they do. I kind of just got stuck there, but in a good way.
Amy: A good kind of stuck. I love that. I love that. So tell us a little bit about what you do here for the Martin Automotive Group.
Marlen: So it’s a little tricky sometimes. Just in general, right now what I am doing is I am overseeing a lot of the processes that are put in place right now for the service department and for the sales department. So pretty much in a quick summary is I am here to make sure that it’s working correctly and if it’s not, trying to find different solutions and getting in touch with a lot of the actual employees in those departments. That way, we can hear the voice of our employees, make sure that we’re doing everything that we can to fix things because they’re the ones that are working in it on a day-to-day basis. And so if they ever say, “Hey. This doesn’t work this way,” that gives us a lot of input to being more efficient, to work harder and to be– well, actually, to work smarter.
Amy: To work smarter.
Marlen: Yeah. Work smarter. That’s what we want.
Amy: Yeah. I love that, and I think it says a lot about the group, that they want to do that, to continually improve and make the process more efficient. What are some of the things that you enjoy about that the most about your position?
Marlen: I get to live in the day-to-day. One of the things that sometimes a lot of people can get a little bit distracted in is doing the process over and over again and then just getting lost in it. They start being repetitive. They start being kind of like a robot. But I like doing what I do because every day, we learn something new. And so every day, we can change it. We can change it with how technology is changing now. We can change our processes with how customers are changing. I mean, now, a lot of our customers are millennials. I’m a millennial. I know it. And so we can change a lot based off of what our customers are bringing to the table. So it’s–
Amy: That’s exciting.
Marlen: It is because you get to meet everyone, and you get to work with people every single day and it’s not just hiding behind an office.
Amy: Yeah. Yeah. That working with people and then also being able to actually see what your work is doing, I mean, I’m sure that’s very satisfying.
Marlen: Oh. Of course. Yeah. Sometimes, even when you learn something, one of the things is just seeing it but when you actually get to implement it and see it work and see it grow, it’s very helpful and it’s very satisfying to see.
Amy: That has to be an incredible feeling of accomplishment. So what are some of the goals that you have for your own career? Do you want to do business development forever? Or are you–
Marlen: No. I am actually hoping that one day, I can be able to be a GM, and not just any GM. I want to be an executive GM, so for a group. That’s really what I want to do.
Amy: Oh. Wow. Okay. Is that the highest you can go, or–?
Marlen: Well, no, because you can be an owner and that’s the real top of the line. But I’m not really looking to be an owner. I just want to be able to have an overall process in multiple stores that I can run and see grow every day.
Amy: Yeah. I like that, and I think that’s very fitting for you.
Amy: So what is it like to be a woman in the automotive industry? I mean, a lot of times when people think about the automotive industry, they still think it’s really male-dominated. So what has been your experience?
Marlen: It’s actually pretty funny. Some of the strongest roles and strongest personalities and people that are in this car business– well, I would say in this automotive group are a lot of females. You see a lot of top salesman– a lot of them– a lot of times, they’re females. One of our strongest finance directors is a female. So being a female in this automotive group–
Amy: The Martin Automotive Group.
Marlen: –it’s helpful. I mean, it is just amazing. The fact that they care and will let you voice your opinion – they don’t shoot you down; they ask you for it – is definitely something that I always look forward to every day.
Amy: Yeah. That sounds really incredible. And I think also, it does say a lot about the Martin Automotive Group that women are able to excel here and, yeah, really find a place. That’s great. So let’s just wrap things up real quickly. And let me just ask you, what about yourself? Do you have any female role models in your own life, women you’ve looked up to in history or in your own life or–?
Marlen: Well, I mean, a lot of people say their mom. I do look up to my mom. She’s strong. When it comes down to work wise and work ethic and personalities, there is a couple female leaders in this group that I actually look up to. Not once did they ever not try to teach me anything. They were always very, very helpful and taught me whatever I would ask to be taught.
Amy: Oh. That’s great.
Marlen: And they’re very strong to where they don’t let anyone just shoot them down. If they think that something is wrong, they speak up. And I admire that because a lot of people stay quiet, but the women in this group, they work hard and I admire that a lot.
Amy: Wow. That’s really great. Very exciting. Hopefully, we’ll get to talk to even more of them. Thanks so much for your time, Marlen. Good luck with everything.
Marlen: Thank you.
Amy: It was a pleasure to talk to you today.
Marlen: It was nice talking to you.