Every so often, our editorial staff selects one aftermarket industry professional to get to know a little better. Participants are asked to respond to a series of questions that can be answered in about the same amount of time you might spend chatting at the office coffee pot or waiting for an elevator.
In today’s installment of “Five Minutes With,” we chatted with Jacki Lutz, head of global marketing and communications for Sensata Technologies.
What was your first job in the industry?
I started in the aftermarket with Schrader almost five years ago as their first marketing hire for North America, hired mostly for graphic design. I was just returning from a few years living in England and Thailand getting my MBA. Schrader was one of the first interviews I had when I returned to the U.S. with no home, no car, nothing. I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my career either, which didn’t help the situation. That interview was a saving grace. After meeting a few members of the team at my first interview, I didn’t care what role I was in; I just knew I wanted to work here with these people. Fortunately, things fell into place after that.
What do you like best about your current position?
That is such a hard question because there honestly isn’t very much that I don’t like about my current position. I feel very fortunate to be in this role. If I have to choose though, I really do love the people I work with and being in an international role gives me exposure to more of the incredible team working for Schrader and Sensata on a global level. The marketing team in particular is very fun to work with. We are a pretty young team – full of energy, eager to learn, always ready to take on new projects and move the brand forward. After five years and some changes in my position, I still bounce out of bed in the morning and smile as I walk into the office. It has to be the people.
Did you initially intend to pursue a career in the aftermarket? If not, what drew you to the industry and what keeps you here?
I hadn’t thought much about the automotive aftermarket prior to my first interview with Schrader, but at the time I wasn’t really concerned with which industry I ended up in. I was looking for any industry with opportunities and that is what drew me here. I have stayed mostly because of the culture and the people. I have worked in the medical, finance and entertainment industries; none of them compare to the family like atmosphere that the automotive aftermarket offers.
What do you do when not at work?
My husband and I own a farm on the side in the thumb of Michigan. I have definitely grown to appreciate the slower pace of the country life over the past few years living in metro Detroit. I am trying to make it up there more often. I am also stepping into the role of president for the Automotive Communications Council, an association dedicated to continued education for marketing and communications professionals in the automotive aftermarket. I am eager to start dedicating a little more time to that role. I should also mention that I am a shameless dog lover, and when I am doing nothing else, I can almost always be found gushing over my 120-pound weimaraner and our newly adopted, three-legged pit bull, Tony.
What one word best sums up your personality?
I would say “genuine.” I try to keep it real with people – my heart on my sleeve and my flaws on my shirt. I have found that people don’t mind so much if you mess up as long as you are willing to admit it, learn and improve. More often than not, I think it makes people want to help you succeed and be a part of your success.
What are you currently reading?
I tend to nerd out on self-help books and always have one handy. Right now, I am reading “The Happiness Project.” I would definitely recommend it. It’s about remembering what truly matters in life and small steps you can take to keep your inner peace, that leads to a contagious type of outer joy and ultimately a balanced life. It’s a real nail biter!
I have a ton of “go-to” quotes and verses that I meditate on daily… However, I actually just read one recently that might have to be my new mantra: “You can’t make everyone happy, you are not a taco.”
Know someone who would make for a great “Five Minutes With” interview? Email the editor.