The Women in Fleet profile series introduces fleet managers to some of the most influential women in fleet. Every month, we will get to know another positive force in the fleet industry.
This month, we spoke with Caroline Costello, senior director of Upfit Sales & Marketing for Utilimaster.
Getting into Fleet
Costello has been involved in the fleet industry for the past 12 years. She started her fleet career at Volkswagen of America as fleet sales support. Next, she worked as global fleet sales support manager for General Motors before moving back to Volkswagen as a fleet account executive. She spent six years with Chrysler Group/FCA in various account exec and sales positions before joining up with Utilimaster in 2018.
Brought on board to help create focus and energy, Costello helps Utilimaster execute a targeted approach to the marketplace with a focus on customer relationships.
She tells a familiar story about her entry into fleet.
“My entry into fleet was more of a fluke than anything else. At the time, I was working in Audi Warranty and was looking to make a change. I knew a few of the people in the Volkswagen Fleet department, and they were looking to expand the group. It was the right move at the right time, and the chance to work with some incredible people. But, I knew nothing about fleet. Thanks to some of the industry legends I learned the business and have never looked back. The incredible people — whether colleagues, customers or business partners — is what has fueled my passion for a career in fleet,” she said.
Costello considers her earlier days in fleet among her biggest successes.
“I was new to outside sales and pretty new to the commercial fleet industry. I had the chance to move into a brand-new role in Volkswagen Fleet and be the voice and face of the brand to the Central region. I successfully developed a brand awareness and presence in the industry and grew the customer portfolio from one customer to more than 30,” Costello said.
She is motivated for continued success in work by the same guiding principle that motivates her personal life: continuous change and continuous improvement.
“I believe we are all a ‘work in progress’ and there is always something I can do new or different to achieve better results. The fast pace and constant change in the automotive and fleet industry is a perfect platform because as an industry we are also always changing!” she said.
And for anyone looking to join the industry, Costello offered this advice: “GO FOR IT! And, find a mentor. The fleet industry is like a family; there are many people willing to help, give advice, and help newcomers learn the business,” Costello concluded.
Get to Know Me
Experience is only part of our story and what someone likes to read, watch, and listen to can help paint a fuller picture of their personality. Here are some of Costello’s favorites:
- Book: “The Bible. While I enjoy reading both fiction (spy, suspense, crime novels) and non-fiction (leadership), scriptures are my consistent go-to for encouragement, inspiration, and life lessons,” she said.
- Movie: “The Natural. While not a huge sports fan, sports-genre movies are my favorite. And I LOVE Robert Redford!!” Costello said.
- Songs: “My library is likely more than10,000 songs of a huge variety of genres. But my top three is ‘Fly Me to The Moon’ by Frank Sinatra (it was my wedding song); ‘Ramble On’ by Led Zeppelin (it always gets me energized) and ‘Nine to Five’ by Dolly Parton,” she said.
- You May Not Know: “I love anything creative: sewing, knitting, painting, and decorating our home. I’ve actually made some of my own clothes,” Costello shared.