By Ed Pierce, Contributing Editor, Fleet Management Weekly
Jennifer Costabile serves as General Director, Marketing and Sales Enablement for General Motors Fleet and brings more than 30 years of experience and success in automotive sales and marketing management.
She has worked for every division of General Motors and has held a number of leadership roles throughout GM’s U.S. operations. Here, Jennifer answers a number of questions that provide insight into her success in the automotive and fleet industries.
1. What do you love best about your current position?
I really enjoy interacting with customers. The fleet side of the business gives me the opportunity to meet directly with fleet customers, and as we know, these are such interesting people and companies we work with.
2. What do you think are the secrets behind getting to where you’ve gotten?
I am a very driven person, and I knew where I wanted to go and the level of success I wanted to achieve. I believe that always being innovative, contributing at a high level, and bringing others you respect along with you has gotten to me to this level of success. Motivating your teams throughout your career is a must!
3. Do you see your glass as half empty or half full?
I am without a doubt a half full kind of person. I believe that a positive outlook helps in both good times and bad times. When you face difficult situations, you can always learn from them if you go into them with a positive attitude.
4. Have you had a positive experience as a mentor or mentee that you can share?
I was very fortunate to have a mentor in my career that really helped me develop and learn what I needed to do to be a better leader, a better teacher, and a team player. He always told me the truth and gave me direct feedback. I think that was critical because often people don’t share bad news and they try to spare your feelings.
I appreciated hearing what I needed to know to improve, and I think today’s aspiring business leaders want to know how to grow throughout their careers. So, I always do the same thing for others today. Based on my experience, I can say that having a mentor is invaluable in business. That’s why I highly recommend our WIFM Mentor program!
5. What are the top issues that you must deal with in today’s fleet environment, and what actions are key to successfully navigating these challenges?
Supply chain issues and logistics issues have made it very difficult for customers to receive the vehicles they need for their fleets. During these times, we must partner with our customers and the fleet management companies to find innovative solutions. It is important to have good communications with your operations teams, OEMs, and FMCs. Managing your fleet using telematics is very important. Also, making sure your drivers are following regular maintenance schedules will keep your vehicles healthy and on the road.
6. What challenges do you feel you have faced as a woman in fleet/business? How is this challenge unique to being a woman?
Early in my career, I learned that women, myself included, do not toot their own horns enough. We assume that just because we are doing a great job, managers will notice and that we will be recognized and promoted. They won’t notice. That’s why you need to speak up and make sure leadership knows your accomplishments. Men do this much better than women.
7. Why did you join the Women in Fleet Management group?
I feel this is a great industry for women. I have really enjoyed my time working on the fleet side of the auto industry and wanted to let others know this is a very interesting and rewarding business that can teach you a great deal and help your career.
Looking outside of work…
8. What are your personal hobbies/interests?
I love to play competitive tennis, read, travel and sit by the lake.
9. Do you like to travel? If so, what is the most memorable place that you have ever visited? Do you have a bucket list trip?
I love to travel – my favorite place is Italy – every corner of that country. I would love to do an African safari one day!
10. What do you prefer to listen to while you drive?
I love to listen to a variety of podcasts. From business, mysteries to humor. It’s a great way to learn and enjoy your ride!
11. Is there anything also you’d like to share with women in fleet?
This is a great industry for women. There is a strong support network, and we want women to succeed and excel!
This is part of the Fleet Management Weekly series of Women in Fleet Management (WIFM) profiles. To help other WIFM members or anyone involved with fleet management learn more about professional and personal development, we look forward to sharing your story, too. Just contact Ed Pierce, FMW Contributing Editor, at (484) 957-1246.