I try to listen twice as much as a speak. I try to stay in touch with how much I don’t know rather than how much I do know. I contribute when there is time.
Jill Trotta is an ASE Certified Technician/Advisor with over 25 years of experience in the industry. Jill started as a technician and has worked her way through many areas of industry. She’s been a technician, service advisor, service manager, parts director, shop owner, and most currently she is the Director of the Automotive Group at RepairPal.
In her role at RepairPal she’s played an integral role in development and execution of the RepairPal Certified program, the program has grown from 120 shops in 2013 to over 2000 shops today, Jill has guided this growth. Jill and her team have evaluated over 4500 independent repair facilities. These are shops that considered the best in the country. They have the right tools, the right training, and are loved by their customers.
Jill also is a regular at industry events and is viewed as a spokesperson for RepairPal and a thought leader in the industry. She is very knowledgeable about the industry, the aftermarket, and is always happy to share this knowledge. Jill also has spearheaded and participated in Community Car Care Clinics both for RepairPal and other organizations. She is very passionate the consumer education and is a regularly does radio interviews, print interviews, and TV appearances to share her knowledge with the public. She is also a regular contributor to RepairPal.com as well as other industry publications.
Jill is also very involved in the industry and her community. In 2014 she was awarded the Kukui Humanitarian of the year and in 2017 she was named Women In AutoCare, Woman of Excellence. For the past 4 years, Jill has spearheaded a give away for the homeless in her area, this past year she partnered with Cindy Fresca from Kukui and the 2 of them give away over 150 homeless kits (including sleeping bags, personal care kits, socks, and protein bars). She is also a very active member of the Women in AutoCare and after serving on the marketing committee for the past 3 years recently joined the newly formed membership committee for the next 3 years. Jill is also member of AIA Market Intelligence committee and is currently working on the Arizona Science Center project for TechForce Foundation. (This is a foundation that was established to develop techs for the industry starting in middle school). Jill has also participated in the Chevy Montage project (All women car build in Arizona) and is a resource for women in the industry.
Jill is highly regarded by her peers and has a deep love of the industry.
Where did the idea of becoming part of the auto industry come from?
I had a broken down Volkswagon bug and no money to fix it. I had an Uncle with an auto shop who was invested in me being a self-sufficient woman, so he bought me the Idiots guide to auto repair and helped me fix it when needed, but I was always involved and mostly did the work myself.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day is filling with conversations with fantastic shop owners from all over the country. I also work cross-functionally with other teams in our company to make sure the RepairPal mission and message come through in all our communications
How do you bring ideas to life?
I first identify a problem or something we’d like to do. I make a plan and work with other stakeholders to ensure buy-in and alignment. After that, I run pilots to test the waters. Once we’ve completed the pilot, we decide if we want to move forward or if the cost vs. upside is in alignment. If we are in alignment, we move forward to create a product.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Hydrogen power vehicles are fascinating to me. Clean drive, green technology
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an Automotive Group Director?
I listen, and I try to listen twice as much as a speak. I try to stay in touch with how much I don’t know rather than how much I do know. I contribute when there is time. It’s very important to me to empower my team and highlight their skills and accomplishments.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t give up, speak up, and focus on what is ahead instead of what is behind. Learn and move on.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason.
As a female in the auto industry, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Listen, learn, and continue to listen and learn. This industry is influx constantly, staying old school and ignoring new trends and technology contributes to the bad rep the industry has given itself.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow into your current role?
Learn Learn Learn and learn more. Continue to grow your skills, align yourself with people who walk the walk you want to walk. Keep your eye on where you want to be and take a step every day to get a little closer to that goal.
What is one failure you had in the industry, and how did you overcome it?
I started a business with someone I shouldn’t have because I wanted it. It was the wrong partnership and ended badly. I basically lost everything I didn’t need in that business. I was able to retain people who truly believed in me and the things I needed in life. I lost a lot of money and time, but in the end, I learned that you could recover and I learned that I’m tough and resilient. I came back stronger and wiser and am now in a much better place in life and my career.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I love shoes, so shoes that have interchangeable looks but the same comfortable soles, so the footbed stays the same and the top part changes, it can be sold in pieces.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I just signed up for a MySQL class online. I need to keep evolving my skills. I also give money to my nephew monthly so he can focus on his education
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Salesforce and google docs. I use them all day long.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I recently read Grit by Angela Duckworth. It’s about passion and perseverance, both of these things have been invaluable and drive me to keep moving forward.
What is your favorite quote?
Only dead fish go with the flow.
- Passion and Perseverance will help you overcome just about anything
- Having cheerleaders in your corner who believe in you make all the difference
- NEVER stop learning. Not knowing is an excellent opportunity to learn something new
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.