Auto Care Insider Volume 92 - (Page 17)

IMPACT AWARDS A FRESH PERSPECTIVE BRANDI GARDNER MERCHANDISING DIRECTOR, AUTOZONE YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY: 10+ PHONE: 901-495-6823 EMAIL: WORDS TO LIVE BY: Be fair. Be nice. "I believe youth in any industry brings a fresh perspective to the business," said Impact Award winner Brandi Gardner, merchandising director, AutoZone. "This is especially true in this industry, where the younger generations and their changing habits have a big impact on go-to market strategies." After earning her degree in marketing from Southeast Missouri State University, Gardner started in the consumer products industry at age 22. She later moved to Memphis to be close to family, and began her career at AutoZone as an assistant category manager at age 25. Now as merchandising director, Gardner manages the chemicals team at AutoZone, which is responsible for performance chemicals, wipers, wash and wax, sealants and adhesives, and paint and body. The team decides the item assortment for stores and manages all facets of the business strategy including retail, promotions and inventory. Gardner's insight into the next generation of vehicle owners helps drive these strategic decisions. "The younger generations are not interacting with their vehicles the same as past generations. As we bring this generation into our industry, we gain a better understanding of how these habits are changing and find new ways to adapt our business models going forward," said Gardner. "Over the past 10 years at AutoZone, I have brought a new perspective to the business with new ideas and a passion for embracing challenge. I have been very fortunate to work in an environment that welcomed these ideas and respected my unique perspective." Of having started in the industry at a young age, Gardner said, "The biggest challenge I found that comes with youth is gaining the respect of those who have been in the business longer. I strive to always speak my mind, to speak with confidence, to carry myself professionally and to treat those around me with respect." Gardner's professional goal is to be a member of the AutoZone senior leadership team, contributing to the long-term growth of the company. "I hope to be a positive role model to future men and women who are looking to pave their way in the automotive aftermarket as we continue to grow this industry." AUTO CARE INSIDER | VOL. 92 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Auto Care Insider Volume 92

President's Message
Association News-YANG Connect
Market Intelligence: e-tailing infographic
Inside Technology-social influencer program
Member Profile-Kathleen George
International Focus-looking at Latin America
Toolbox-professional headshots
Government Affairs-advocacy leadership team
Impact Awards-Brandi Gardner
Head of the Class-Olympus Imported Auto Parts Corp.
Market Intelligence-checking in with China
An Industry Treasure-Be Car Care Aware

Auto Care Insider Volume 92