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2022 Honoree

Michelle Reichenbach

Director of Finance Automotive Aftermarket & Functional Controlling
Schaeffler USA, Inc.

How did you begin your career in the aftermarket?

I began my career in the aftermarket after the former financial controller transitioned into another role on the operational side. I was working in our industrial division at the time and was looking to take on a new challenge. The aftermarket organization was very interesting and allowed me to learn about the automotive industry from a different angle. I was able to join a team that was enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the industry. I have learned so much about the industry and continue to learn more each day.

What is the proudest accomplishment of your career, thus far?

The proudest moment of my aftermarket career so far is co-piloting our organization through the global pandemic in 2020. There were many roadblocks and challenges that had to be overcome in our day-to-day business. As the challenges presented themselves, through our great team effort, management, including myself, were able to successfully direct our organization to the right path.

What is your best advice to other women who want to excel in the automotive aftermarket? What is one thing the industry could do better or do differently to support women in the aftermarket?

I think the best advice I could give to other women who want to be successful in the aftermarket industry is to invest in your knowledge of the industry – collaborate with other industry leaders, take the time necessary to recognize other women in the industry’s achievements and as you develop in your role within the Aftermarket, be a mentor to those new to industry.

If you came to the industry through a family-owned business, how much did that experience influence your career decisions?

Schaeffler is a family-owned business. It was extremely influential 20 years ago when I joined Schaeffler that there was a strong family story in the background. The history behind the company and how it was built and had become successful made me proud to be a part of it. This was a story of hard work and dedication and the success could be felt, and continues to be felt by the employees that work at Schaeffler.

How do you build up your confidence to prepare for challenging professional situations?

When I am presented with challenging situations, I take the time to educate myself on the task, subject or project. If I need to learn new skills or attend training, I take the time to do so. I also set myself achievable and attainable goals and work hard to accomplish them. I envision the outcome that I desire and I work hard to realize it.

What do you believe are some of the most important skillsets to excel in a career in the aftermarket today?

The most important skill set to excel in a financial career in the aftermarket today is that of critical thinking. You may not always have the answer in the beginning but you have to have the desire to want to know why a result is what it is. You have to be able to recognize when something is wrong and have the fortitude to not give up until you find the answer or understanding.

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