Sonya Rudez and Michelle King may have very different roles at Cricks Maroochydore, but there is a common thread in their thirst for knowledge that has seen them both rise to the top of their game in what is historically a male-dominated industry. As a mum of two daughters, it’s exciting to see an increasing number of young women step outside the status quo and reach for opportunities that were once considered non-traditional. Marketing manager Michelle King and service manager Sonya Rudez both hold key positions at Cricks Sunshine Coast and are perfect examples of determined young role models who are pushing the boundaries and making a name for themselves in the auto industry. Both based at the Maroochydore dealership, Michelle joined the group as digital marketing manager in 2016. But it wasn’t long before her astute business acumen was noticed and she quickly climbed the ranks to become the general marketing manager across five dealerships. Completing a marketing and communications degree five years ago at Colorado State University, Michelle returned to Australia and landed an internship at Google in Sydney. But despite the wonderful opportunity, the frantic pace of Sydney life was not for her and she returned to Brisbane to work for a business intelligence company.
“My position includes managing all of our print, radio, digital and broadcast advertising, running campaigns, liaising with the manufacturers and a lot of networking.” – MichelleIt was there she met her future husband, Jason, and the recently married couple made the move to his hometown of the Sunshine Coast. “I was working for a digital service agency on the Coast at the time when a position became available as the digital marketing manager with Cricks Maroochydore and it was the perfect fit,” says Michelle “Eighteen months later I was asked to head the marketing across all platforms for five locations. I now look after 14 new car brands and our Cricks Sunshine Coast used cars brand. “My position includes managing all of our print, radio, digital and broadcast advertising, running campaigns, liaising with the manufacturers and a lot of networking.” Michelle’s eyes light up when she talks about her role at Cricks, it’s not surprising this savvy young business woman has had such success so early in her career. “I love to learn. Marketing, particularly digital marketing, changes so constantly, you have to have a thirst to want to know more. I am always going to training courses to learn the latest trends. It’s great because it’s never boring and every day is so different.” But at the heart of what Michelle is most passionate about is the people she works with and their support of other local businesses and charities in the community. “There is a really good team here, the people are a lot of fun,” says Michelle. “I love the fact that it is so diverse. There are 230 staff from so many different backgrounds from mechanics to accountants. “The ethos here, from the top down, is to look after the staff and their family. It has changed my perception of the car dealership industry. “The business is also making a positive impact on the Sunshine Coast by supporting local charities including the Compass Institute, a local disability service for young adults, it has been so heartwarming to be a part of that.” Echoing her sentiments is service manager Sonya Rudez.
“When I first started it was rare to see a female mechanic, now we are seeing lots more, it has really evolved, which is great to see.” – Sonya“It is such a great work environment here. When you have a win, your colleagues celebrate with you no matter how small,” says Sonya. The support from the top really makes a big difference, because when you care about your employees, they care about your customers.” [caption id="attachment_15978" align="aligncenter" width="870"] Michelle King (left) and Sonya Rudez[/caption] No stranger to the auto industry, Sonya has been in the service department for more than 13 years. Her knowledge, experience and management skills landed her the role of service manager at Cricks Maroochydore last year, a role she is clearly shining in. In fact, she commutes from Brisbane every day, now that’s commitment. “My job here is so varied,” says Sonya. “I start early. From 7am to 9am, I’m on the driveway helping the service advisors and making our customers feel really welcome, then I’m liaising with manufacturers, in and out of the workshop, it’s a busy role, we can service over 100 cars a day.” Having worked in the industry for over a decade, Sonya has seen a positive shift towards more females in the service department, including an increase in the number of female mechanics. “When I first started it was rare to see a female mechanic, now we are seeing lots more, it has really evolved, which is great to see.” Like Michelle, it’s Sonya’s appetite for knowledge that has seen her move into a management role. “I love learning, especially about the other departments and how they relate to what I do,” she says. “I try to send the service team to as much training as possible, so once they have reached master technician with one brand they can look at another, knowledge is power.” It sure is, go get ‘em girls.