Celebrate Women’s History Month with PartsTrader

POSTED March 31, 2024

Judy Matijevich

Judy Matijevich

To kick off celebrating Women’s History Month, we’re excited to tell you about Judy Matijevich, our #PartsTrader Chief Operating Officer. Her journey to the top has been nothing short of inspiring, and from her leadership style to her mentorship experiences, Judy has truly made her mark in the business world and beyond.

When it comes to leadership, Judy’s style is all about transformation. She believes in having a clear vision, well-defined goals, and a commitment to process improvement and creative thinking. This approach has been critical to delivering solutions that drive business results, and it’s a big part of what makes Judy so successful.

Throughout her career, whether she was an entry-level teller, a manager, a senior vice president, or our chief operating officer, Judy has always been focused on making things better and moving forward. and she has consistently put herself in positions where she can work with other leaders and executives to make a difference and grow the business.

Mentorship has also played a crucial role in Judy’s professional development. She credits several former teachers, business leaders, and managers with making a lasting impact on her life. They have helped her develop perspective and confidence, and they have opened the door to countless career opportunities. Judy is quick to acknowledge that she wouldn’t be where she is today without her mentors, and their guidance has been invaluable to her success.

As for her accomplishments, Judy is particularly proud of her ability to bring together a team of people with a shared vision to achieve success in challenging efforts that initially seemed daunting.

One of her significant accomplishments involved helping PartsTrader transform into one of the foremost cloud-based parts procurement platforms for the collision repair industry. Judy’s dedication and leadership were crucial to this remarkable achievement.

She is also an active member of the Employer Advisor Board at the LaGrange Area Department of Special Education, where she serves as an advocate for making a difference for students with disabilities, their families, and employers within the community. Judy’s commitment to social responsibility and making a positive impact is truly admirable, and it’s just one more reason why she is such an incredible leader.

Brenda Hogen

In continuation of our Women’s History Month Celebration, meet Brenda Hogen, Vice President of Enterprise Accounts at #PartsTrader. Learn more as she shares about her ascent to leadership and hear some of the valuable advice she received along the way.

Brenda shares one of the accomplishments she is particularly proud of in her executive role is being part of a team that is truly focused on driving success.  She emphasizes that it’s not just about individual achievement, but about the collective effort and impact all can make as a team. Every person counts, and being able to work with such a dedicated and talented group of individuals is truly rewarding.

Not only is Brenda honored to be involved in various organizations such as the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) and the Women’s Industry Network (WIN), she was just announced as one of WIN’s Most Influential Women Award Winner recipients for 2024! These opportunities to give back to an industry that has supported her career goals have been a true gift. Being able to contribute to the growth and development of future professionals in the industry, as well as supporting and empowering women in leadership roles, is something that Brenda is passionate about.

As for advice for aspiring women leaders looking to make their mark in the business world, Brenda shares, “I would say this – always believe in yourself and your abilities. Seek out a strong network of support – allies, mentors, colleagues – who will help you achieve your goals. Be authentic and stay true to yourself. Tune out the noise and naysayers and own your success. When you believe in yourself and your own unique path, you will achieve great things.”

To foster collaboration and teamwork within her organization, Brenda emphasizes the importance of open communication and establishing a shared vision. When we are all aligned and open to each other’s suggestions and perspectives, we can build trust and respect among team members. “My mantra is #wewintogether, and I truly believe that we can achieve great results by working, collaborating, and respecting one another in the process.”

Finally, a piece of advice that has always stuck with Brenda throughout her career is to invest in yourself. “Never stop learning.” It’s a reminder that pushed her to continue her education in a master’s program, and of the importance of continuous growth and development, both personally and professionally. “Stay curious, seek knowledge and new experiences, and embrace opportunities for learning and growth.” This has been instrumental in her own career journey, and she hopes it will inspire others as well.

Amanda Smith

Amanda Smith WHM

With another story to add to our Women’s History Month Celebration, meet Amanda Smith, National Supplier Manager at #PartsTrader. Read more about how she has learned from some of the best and embraced their advice to succeed and grow in her 20+ year career in the automotive industry.

Amanda shares that she’s had some amazing mentors who have played a crucial role in her professional development. They’ve been there to offer guidance, support, and valuable insights that have helped her navigate her career. From Amanda’s father to other strong and intelligent women in the companies she has worked for, they have all invested in her growth and encouraged her to keep pushing forward as a young business professional. “I’ve been open to their advice and have learned so much from their experiences. They’ve helped me view each challenge as an opportunity for growth, and I’m truly grateful for their support,” she shares. The perspective that each learning stage is a stepping stone toward success has fueled and accelerated her growth in the automotive industry.

As far as advice for aspiring women who are looking to make their mark in the business world, Amanda says, “Stay open and excited to pitching in on new projects or addressing issues that come up internally or with customers (dig in!). Much of my success has been created from assisting in issue resolution and gaining knowledge in the process, which has led to opportunities to explore new roles or areas. Digging into “pain points” can open avenues for generating revenue or expanding into different roles once you understand the problem and how to fix it effectively.” Amanda describes her approach to tackling challenging projects as an investment in her personal business education. This approach enables her to gain proficiency in new software, connect with stakeholders, and showcase her skills effectively. She emphasizes the importance of purposeful networking and collaboration with the project as the primary focus.

A memorable piece of advice Amanda has received during her career that stuck is, “Always be easy and flexible to do business with and make it easy and enjoyable for colleagues and customers to work with you. It opens a lot of doors when you drive results AND makes it fun and easy in the process. Also, do what you say you will do and follow up always. Keeping your word is so important in business no matter how small.”

When asked about moments of failure or setbacks, Amanda discusses an important aspect of human nature, initially experiencing frustration and a desire to quit, followed directly with questioning “Why didn’t it work.” However, with a simple shift in perspective, “I light a fire of determination and drive to explore new angles, strategies, and approaches. I move into the opportunity to try again, finding excitement in the creative process of discovering what works and what doesn’t in business.” Through these experiences, she has learned the importance of perseverance and adaptability in navigating challenges within business.

Joann Jagla

With another story to add to our Women’s History Month Celebration, meet Joann Jagla, Customer Operations Director at #PartsTrader! Read more about her career journey and thoughts on embracing new technologies throughout her years in the automotive industry.

Joann began her career in the call center industry as a customer service representative, where she was drawn to the dynamic environment and the chance to engage with a diverse clientele daily. Over time, she refined her communication and problem-solving abilities, propelling her into leadership positions within the call center. Navigating through different departments and gaining insights into various facets of the business her trajectory was fueled by a commitment to continuous learning, adapting to evolving technologies, and maintaining a steadfast focus on customer satisfaction.

One memorable piece of advice Joann received early in her career was to “always prioritize empathy and understanding when dealing with customers. It taught me the importance of putting myself in the customer’s shoes and truly listening to their concerns. This advice has stuck with me throughout my career and has been instrumental in building positive relationships with customers and colleagues alike.”

When confronted with intricate business decisions, Joann likes to adopt a thorough approach, meticulously gathering information and assessing potential outcomes. Factors such as cost-effectiveness, long-term viability, alignment with organizational values, and stakeholder impact are carefully weighed. She also frequently seeks input from key team members and stakeholders to incorporate diverse perspectives into the decision-making process to ensure all angles are met.

To help cultivate a culture of perpetual learning and professional growth within her team, Joann advocates for ongoing training and skill enhancement opportunities. This encompasses facilitating access to workshops, seminars, online courses, and mentorship programs. Fostering an environment where team members feel empowered to share knowledge and ideas while acknowledging and rewarding learning milestones only helps and strengthens the team’s commitment to development.

In an industry characterized by rapid evolution, she remains cognizant of emerging trends and advancements to effectively integrate new technologies and digital transformations. Actively seeking out innovative solutions to streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and elevate the customer experience is paramount in her eyes. Collaboration with IT professionals and vendors is instrumental in evaluating and implementing new technologies seamlessly. By prioritizing training and upskilling initiatives, Joann likes to help ensure her team is proficient in leveraging these technologies to their fullest potential.

Tricia Iraci

For our final highlight for our Women’s History Month selections, meet Tricia Iraci, Senior Executive Assistant with #PartsTrader. Tricia’s career journey started as a secretary for the City of Chicago Law Department, and as time went by, she was promoted to different positions within the City of Chicago. After the Law Department, she began working at the City of Chicago Department of Aviation and was soon promoted to Staff Assistant at the City of Chicago Water Department. Once she began a family, being able to stay home and take care of her children was her new focus until her husband was diagnosed with leukemia, and she then returned to work to support her family. Soon after working with UBS Financial as a Branch Office Administrator, she realized it was more important to be home more with her young children, and she started working at LaGrange Area Department of Special Education as a Vocational Employment Specialist which allowed her to follow the same school schedule. During the time she worked at LADSE, she had the pleasure to meet Judy Matijevich who was on the Employer Advisory Board, and after hearing about PartsTrader hiring an Executive Assistant, she interviewed and was quickly offered the position she is in today as Senior Executive Assistant.

Her advice to women in the business world is that “Communication and connection are key, build a network. You never know when your next opportunity will be presented. Always have an open mind and be willing to go out of your comfort zone. Be confident in your abilities and strengths. Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges. Strive to always be the best you can be.”

As far as advice Tricia has received, “Always be open to expanding what you do. Never settle for what you currently have. Always strive to be better, successful, and happy at what you do. Remember you spend more time at work than at home. You need to be happy.”

At the outset of her career, women in leadership roles were a rarity, but throughout her journey, she’s been fortunate to collaborate with numerous accomplished female leaders. Their guidance has instilled in her a steadfast belief in the power of perseverance and dedication. She is especially thankful for three remarkable mentors who have profoundly influenced her professional trajectory: Phyllis Bergthold from the Chicago Water Department, Karen Steffan from LADSE, and Judy Matijevich from PartsTrader. Their mentorship has been a source of inspiration, fueling her aspirations and reinforcing the notion that success is attainable through unwavering commitment.

Tricia cherishes a significant achievement during her tenure as a Vocational Employment Specialist at LADSE. It fills her with immense pride to recall the journey of a particular student she worked closely with. Witnessing his transformation from a tentative individual to one brimming with confidence was truly gratifying. Through dedicated coaching and support, Tricia guided him towards securing an Assistant Chef position at the esteemed Oak Brook Hills Marriott. The joy of seeing her student flourish, not just in his professional capacity but also on a personal level, was deeply fulfilling for Tricia. It reaffirmed her belief in the power to positively impact lives, reinforcing her commitment to making a meaningful difference.

PartsTrader Team - AUTHOR