Life at KAR: Q&A with Jessie Herdrich Irwin, VP Compliance & Operations, PAR

Jessie Herdrich Irwin was hired as a temp at KAR Global business unit PAR North America right out of college. Fifteen years later, she’s vice president of compliance and operations for PAR. Learn more about how Jessie developed her career through the opportunities available at just one of KAR’s many brands and business units in our Q&A style chat below.  

How did you get your start at PAR North America?  

I was hired as a temporary contractor at PAR in 2007. This was my first office job after college. I worked in the vendor relations department for a year before I was hired full time.  

Tell us about your career progression at PAR.  

A new president was hired at PAR in 2009, and I applied to be the sales coordinator/executive assistant for the new executive team and president. I learned a lot in that role just by participating in higher-level strategy meetings. Several years later I was promoted to executive sales director. I then moved to operations and managed our repo operations teams for a number of years. When PAR’s director of compliance moved to another position at KAR Global, I was selected to replace him. Most recently I was promoted to VP of compliance and operations at PAR.  

You’ve developed your career at PAR through moves and promotions. What do you feel has been an important factor in your success?  

I think the biggest factor in my success is being open to positions and departments I would not necessarily have chosen for myself. For example, I wouldn’t consider myself someone who gravitates toward a sales role, but I learned so much by getting out of my comfort zone and engaging with clients.  

What is the most rewarding aspect of your current role? 

The most rewarding part of my current role is the people. I believe that PAR’s purpose is our employees. It is sometimes difficult to see the positive side of the recovery industry, but knowing that we are here to serve the PAR family provides focus and inspiration.  

What advice would you give to someone starting their career at KAR?

I would advise anyone starting out to focus on learning. Take the initiative to learn about another department, ask questions, attend training sessions and request to shadow different roles. The greatest chance for promotion is given to those who are well rounded and understand all aspects of the business.  

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