Five Questions With is a monthly Q&A segment on AutoFinanceExcellence.org that offers a glimpse of what senior industry executives are thinking about outside the boardroom. Read on to find out.
Eighteen years at Toyota Financial Services has taught Carrie McNamara, national manager of consumer and dealer experience, that each hurdle encountered also represents an opportunity for growth.
“When faced with problems or difficult situations as a leader, it is important to recognize that the situation also presents an opportunity — which shapes you and makes you a more valuable leader and mentor,” McNamara told Auto Finance Excellence.
Since joining TFS in 2001, McNamara’s roles have spanned far and wide, and include positions such as customer retention advisor, vendor relationship manager, and sales operations manager, to name a few.
McNamara will be joining the speaker faculty at the 2019 Auto Finance Summit in Las Vegas to discuss how TFS is reframing operations to build an exclusive, customer-centric strategy.
Auto Finance Excellence asked McNamara five questions about her company goals, advice that helped her earn top management roles, and a surprising fact her colleagues would never suspect. What follows is an edited transcript of the interview.
Auto Finance Excellence: What are your company goals in 10 words or less?
Carrie McNamara: We’re transforming our business to create a customer-chosen experience.
AFE: What is the favorite piece of leadership advice you’ve ever received?
CM: Don’t be afraid to fail. Even in circumstances where you’re facing something you have never encountered, you can draw upon your experience and resources to work through it. So, when you are in the thick of developing solutions, take a moment to remember this is part of the process of building a better and stronger version of yourself. That can give you the energy and drive to persevere.
AFE: What do you think is the most underrated trend in lending practices?
CM: I feel there is a huge opportunity in the auto lending space to provide personalized lending experiences. On the servicing side of the equation, we’re working to identify customers’ preferred communication channels and then interact with them when they want and how they want. As lenders make even better use of data and analytics, we can make the origination process easier for customers too — in a compliant manner, of course!
AFE: What person has had the biggest influence on your career?
CM: Several years ago, I was searching for my next growth opportunity and found myself torn between leading my team through a major transition or relocating for a new opportunity in our sales organization. A mentor of mine talked through the options with me and provided such valuable guidance that I share this with others even today. Prior to taking on a challenge, I ask myself one question which makes the decision process much easier: Are you ready for a challenge? And if so, take it! There will always be reasons to stay in the area you know or remain in your comfort zone. If you’re up to the challenge, then say yes, and know that growth comes with being uncomfortable.
AFE: What’s something all your employees would be surprised to learn about you?
CM: I was raised by an extremely hard-working single mom for most of my childhood. My brother and I were on our own a lot and I looked up to him and naturally wanted to do everything that he did. Riding BMX, skating, climbing up and skiing down mountains, you name it, I was trying it. I’ve taken my share of spills and one time had to ride my dirt bike several miles through the desert with a broken leg, sprained hand, and concussion. I’ve since replaced my dirt bike with a mountain bike and a TRD Pro 4Runner, and every year, I pick a different mountain range to hike. Just a little more low-key!
Join us for Auto Finance Summit 2019, October 28-30 at the Bellagio Las Vegas. The summit continues to bring together the best and brightest executives in auto lending and leasing for unparalleled networking and education. Register now at www.autofinancesummit.com.