Meet Sarah Vantine
Vice President of Sales at Quantum5
"I had always dreamed of going into museum curation. I was passionate about being creative, researching, studying artifacts, and learning about human history."
Growing up, I had two very high-achieving parents who instilled self-sufficient resilience. They helped shape my independence, and I have always been an independent person in many ways. My dad always let me make mistakes and learn from them. He didn't get too involved, even if I was going off track or doing something that he wouldn't necessarily recommend. This allowed me to try a lot of different things in childhood and adolescence. I never really had this fear of failure because my parents were very much like, "Awesome, keep it up. Do it for you, not for the sake of perfection."
As a kid, I never really fit in with many popular groups. I was a bit of a nerd, and I loved Star Wars, video games, and the Science Olympiad. But within that, I was comfortable enough in my own skin that it didn't bother me that much that I had other interests that weren't necessarily cool.
"I had an art history degree and a studio art degree, and I intended to pursue that for the rest of my life."
Everything changed in 2008. My college professors informed me that I wouldn't have the same opportunities to pursue my dream because I didn't have a Ph.D. The positions they had discussed when I started down this path didn't exist anymore. Instead, jobs were being held by people with PhDs who were willing to take unpaid internships and do field research. I couldn't afford to go back to school and invest in another degree that might lead to joblessness or unpaid research. So, I decided to explore other options.
"If you don't hire me, I am going to go next door because they are also hiring. And then I am going to run circles around you."
One day, I walked into a car dealership, even though I had never sold anything before and didn't know much about cars. Nevertheless, I had the confidence to explore something new and give it a shot. I didn't cave or back down; being from Atlanta, Georgia, I know how to stand up for myself. I got hired, and I stuck it out. Maybe my stubbornness inherently made me say to myself, "If they can do this, so can I."
I felt like a complete failure in the beginning because it was not easy to get started in the business. I didn't receive formal training until after 90 days of employment and didn't get into classroom training until almost six months after starting the job. But I didn't let that deter me. I just kept going, trying to work my way around challenges. I was determined to be successful like my coworkers, who were making a lot more money than I was. I just went with the punches. Ultimately, I learned a lot from those experiences, which have served me well.
Being left out really shaped my career, being discounted or ignored until I had proven my worth. When I build teams and engage and train BDCs, I am always aware of the power you can harness when someone invests in you. I feel really strongly about giving people attention. People are inherently in a job to do well - intrinsically, we all have individual motivations as to why we do things, but that doesn't change the fact that we want and need to do well and perform at work.
After starting as a certified sales consultant in the automotive industry, I spent a little over five years with Hendrick Automotive Group. Through hard work and dedication, I progressed through several positions before joining the Scott Clark Auto Group. At the new workplace, I took on the Internet Director role and later became the Fixed Operations BDC Director. It was a fulfilling experience to build and foster the kind of work culture I had always envisioned.
When I think back to how it all began and the wins, I am reminded that the decision to work in automotive profoundly impacted every aspect of my life. It led me to meet my husband, who is also in the industry and compelled me to relocate to various cities, including Chapel Hill and Raleigh, North Carolina, before eventually settling in my husband's hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Each move we made represented a significant step along the journey that began with my choice to forego returning home to Atlanta and pursue an alternative path. It felt like the correct decision, and its effects rippled throughout my life.
My experience continues to be a huge influence on me today, how I engage with people and work with teams to improve results. My passion for training is directly related to what I witnessed at the very start of my career; I believe everyone should have access to welcoming environments and training opportunities that enable them to succeed.
This ethos has heavily influenced my professional trajectory. I have established BDC departments and witnessed team members elevate themselves and grow by stepping outside of their comfort zones, learning about themselves, and assisting others. This mindset has been contagious among those I have worked with - everyone is united in our mission to bring out the best in people.
Despite the perception that the car business is driven solely by profit and populated by unscrupulous salespeople, I know first-hand that there are many good individuals who genuinely want to help others. These are the people I choose to surround myself with. Even when I achieved success and was approached by other companies, I declined their offers because I believed that my current role allowed me to make a greater impact and support my team. However, when I was presented with the opportunity to join Quantum5, I recognized that I could expand my reach and assist even more people while aligning with my personal values. This is precisely what I aim to accomplish - to instill a culture of genuine care and foster meaningful relationships with people.
The future is all about people and the integration of people and technology. I resonate deeply with the values shared by the Quantum5 leadership and look forward to the future we are creating.