Posted: May 05, 2013
Jody DeVere Of AskPatty.com Tries To Educate And Empower
We get an exclusive interview with AskPatty.com founder Jody DeVereBy Ellen McKoy
It’s not unusual, even nowadays, for many women to have an off-putting experience when buying a car or having their vehicle serviced, especially when confronted with unprofessional salesmen or technicians. But thanks to Jody DeVere, such occurrences happen less often.
That’s because she’s a longtime advocate of educating women on automotive-related topics and helping automotive retailers better serve female customers by improving the car-buying and auto-repair experience. A self-described serial entrepreneur, DeVere has a broad-ranging background that includes sales and marketing leadership as well as developing web-based technology solutions for the automotive industry and other businesses. In 1999 after selling her dot.com company, she launched AskPatty.com in Thousand Oaks, California. “My goal and motivation is to empower women on automotive topics and help automotive retailers to attract, sell, retain, and increase loyalty with women customers,” said DeVere.
AskPatty.com takes a two-pronged approach. It’s a social media site that provides expert advice to women on all things automotive. For auto and tire dealers, collision and auto repair centers, there’s the AskPatty.com Certified Female Friendly program. The program teaches strategies to enhance women’s experiences in dealing with automotive-related businesses. More than 7,000 automotive retail employees have earned AskPatty’s certification credentials.
“The certified female-friendly locations provide women consumers with an automotive retail experience that’s based on relationship building, trust, respect and improved communication,” said DeVere. The results speak for themselves. Noting that certified locations strive to exceed women’s expectations with a high level of customer service, she said, “AskPatty Certified Female Friendly locations surpass the highest level of satisfaction for women consumers.”
In her role as the AskPatty spokesperson, DeVere has acquired a high profile. She was first featured in a 2006 New York Times article. “That vaulted me into the media spotlight and transformed my company,” she recalled. Since then DeVere has appeared on National Public Radio, Oprah and Friends on XM radio, and has been the focus of numerous interviews. She’s also a contributing editor for the Car Channel on Blogher.com and a frequent speaker at industry forums.
DeVere also lends her expertise to various organizations. Currently vice chairman and treasurer of the Women’s Automotive Association International, she’s also a member of the Car Care Council’s Women’s Board, the California State Advisory Board for SkillsUSA, and the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network .
A single mother with grown children and a passel of grandchildren, DeVere has sound advice for women in or seeking to enter the automotive industry. “There are an incredible number of career choices for women in the automotive industry. Opportunities that range from marketing to technology, and many just require high school diplomas or vocational education.”
It’s important, added DeVere, to “be Internet savvy, plan your career and go for it. An all-woman networking group can be enormously beneficial to women seeking mentors and contacts who’ve already succeeded in breaking through the glass ceiling. Attend as many auto industry events as you can. Network, network, and then network some more.”