Carmen Hinton was always doubtful about winning contests and prizes. So she was surprised when her name was announced last month at the NADA Show as the winner of the fifth annual Women Driving Auto Retail Video Contest.
Hinton has been the service manager for the past six years at Carter Myers Automotive’s Valley Subaru in Staunton, Va.
“I was watching it live. I cried. I wasn’t expecting it,” says Hinton, who started at the dealership 12 years ago as a receptionist. “I felt overwhelmed.”
She had been approached about the contest, along with a few other female employees, by Carter Myers CEO Liza Borches to make a three-minute video talking about their experience in automotive retail and why women should consider it as a career. The contest, designed to recognize women in the field and encourage more to join them, began in 2019.
As the winner, Hinton received a $1,000 gift card, complimentary registration to next year’s NADA Show in Dallas and an offer to attend an NADA training program.
Hinton, who also has worked in the dealership’s accounting department and as a service adviser, says women might be intimidated by working in “a male-dominated field.” But she says her male colleagues have been supportive, especially when she became service manager.
“The men I work with want to help you learn,” she says. “They … tell you not to be afraid to take on roles.”
In the end, she says, “I’m a human being, and they’re a human being.”
Hinton says she would like to attend some classes at the NADA Academy to learn more about the service business.
“It would allow me to grow, to come up with different ideas to get customers in the door and make the service department grow in all aspects,” she says.
There was a time when she was intimidated by challenges, she recalls. But the support of her co-workers — from Borches on down — along with winning the contest announced at NADA has instilled her with confidence.
“My mindset with everything,” she says, “is just to take it and run with it.”