Kathy Hopkins has had a storybook career, rising through the ranks from account coordinator at an ADESA auction to sales leadership positions at KAR Global and TradeRev, and then coming full circle to run the auction where she started her career at just 20 years old. Her story shows the abundant opportunities available at a global company like KAR for someone with drive and initiative. In this brief Q&A, learn more about Kathy’s remarkable career and how she took full advantage of the breadth of KAR’s operations to develop her own potential.
How did you get your start at KAR Global?
During my senior year of high school, I participated in a program that allowed students to attend school classes for the first half of the day and gain valuable work experience during the latter half. I jumped at the opportunity and started working for a local Ford dealership. I learned F&I, warranty administration and the ins and outs of parts and service. That’s also where I got my first glimpse inside the auto auction industry. Two years later, I left the dealership and started working as an account coordinator for ADESA Indianapolis. Little did I know that this move would lead me to a career of more than 20 years. It’s been a great journey!
Tell us about your career progression at KAR.
I progressively worked my way up in both sales and operational roles at ADESA Indianapolis, as commercial account manager, fleet lease manager and then a dual role as assistant general manager and dealer sales manager for nine years. In 2015 I moved into a corporate role, as regional dealer sales manager for the East division, and later served as director of dealer sales. In 2019 I was promoted to vice president of dealer sales for TradeRev, and then in 2020 I was lucky enough to return to ADESA Indianapolis as general manager—an opportunity that I had dreamed of for many years.
You’ve developed your career at KAR through both moves and promotions. What do you feel has been an important factor in your success?
There have been many factors to my career progression, but I believe it starts with a willingness to try new things. I look at each move or promotion as an opportunity to learn a new aspect of the business. I thrive on challenges that push me to grow personally and professionally, and I try to always maintain a positive attitude.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your current role?
The people. I am so blessed to have crossed paths with many great people throughout my career. Whether it is my leaders, peers, employees or customers, they all have helped me grow into who I am today. Some of my closest friends started as acquaintances at the auction. I also find great reward in watching others grow professionally. I love finding strengths in our people and helping them develop the right path for success.
What advice would you give to someone starting their career at KAR?
Don’t be afraid to try new things. Take pride in what you do and do your part to help your business unit and KAR succeed. KAR is a great company with many opportunities. Hard worker, self-starter, critical thinker, a positive attitude—those are all attributes shared by the type of person who will grow their career and succeed in the end.