“It’s about me qualifying myself to be qualified to run the business,” says Jaqueeta Jones about her Car-Mart career. And, she’s doing just that – leading Car-Mart’s Region 3 as Area Operations Manager in Elizabethtown, KY.
It was just happenstance that Jaqueeta joined Car-Mart. While driving into their new town of Elizabethtown, Jaqueeta and her husband, Larry, spotted a Car-Mart. They needed another vehicle, so they stopped to check it out. After unloading their U-Haul at their new home and getting settled in, she returned to Car-Mart. She got more than a new vehicle; she landed a job as an On-Call Driver.
That was 2012 – and look at her now
“I’m a woman in a male-dominated world. Customers see a woman and think you don’t know what you’re doing,” says Jaqueeta. “Knowing the car business and knowing cars are two different things. You can teach the car business, but you can’t teach me the ins and outs of the car.”
Curious with an inner drive and a ton of determination, Jaqueeta was unrelenting as a new Car-Mart associate. As a Tax Associate and Office Manager, she wanted to do more and learn as much as possible about the business. She read Car-Mart manuals. She asked questions.
“I read every single manual I could get my hands on,” says Jaqueeta, who also helped at other dealerships.
Then came the opportunity to participate in the company’s Future Manager 90-day training program. She applied on a Friday and the following Wednesday; a corporate office associate came to Elizabethtown to meet her. “Lo and behold, it was the same person who sold my first Car-Mart car to me,” laughs Jaqueeta.
Of course, Jaqueeta was admitted into the program.
“The biggest thing [from the training] I learned is that it’s not as easy as it looks. This takes discipline. You also must be flexible. You’re managing personalities and not necessarily people,” says Jaqueeta, who adds she also learned how to overcome objections.
The training propelled Jaqueeta to stints as Assistant Manager and General Manager in Elizabethtown, Evansville, IN. and Owensboro, KY., respectively. While at Evansville, her store began to win company awards for achieving business metrics.
“This was a huge boost for the associates and the community. I had to get the budget under control and we ultimately won the expense management award,” mentions Jaqueeta, who happily presented the award to her associates.
Additionally, the training changed how she manages today. “Go for the people first and build trust, and the rest will come, and that you have their backs,” says Jaqueeta. “If you’re successful, I’m successful. Your number one thing is their development.”
Jaqueeta maintains that each Car-Mart position has helped prepare her for her present position. “It humbles you as you gain respect for each position there is for running a dealership,” says Jaqueeta. “I can look at an associate and tell them I’ve been there. It helps you relate to your associates.”
“I’ve seen Car-Mart from almost every position I’ve had. You see different perspectives,” Jaqueeta continues.
Indeed, she brings grit and a tenacious attitude to her career at Car-Mart. She’s inspired to serve other people, and most of all, she demonstrates the passion needed to be successful at Car-Mart. Her leadership philosophy is people first, numbers second.
Car-Mart – a Family Affair
Jaqueeta, Larry, and their two children, Amari and LJ, ‘love the company.’ “That’s what makes it more rewarding for me. This company has been family to my family,” says Jaqueeta. “The leadership of this company knows my husband’s name and the names of my children. That’s not something you get with a lot of companies.”
Jaqueeta’s nine-year-old daughter, Amari, wants to follow in her mom’s footsteps and work for Car-Mart when she grows up. Every day, Amari asks Jaqueeta how many cars she sold that day.
“I’m at home here. I am who I am. I’m not asked to be who I’m not. It’s just family,” Jaqueeta concludes.
Learn more about how you can join a winning Car-Mart team and grow your career just like Jaqueeta!