Growing, evolving, and mentoring in the auto care sector with Kari Hann 

July 2, 2024

Since joining the auto care industry in 2008, Kari Hann has seen the industry shift, grow, and evolve. Her journey with the Young Professionals in the Auto care sector (YPA) began in 2009, where she received invaluable mentorship and growth opportunities. Now, in 2024, she plans on doing the same as the new YPA Committee Chair.  

Kari Hann, Specialty Sales & Marketing

At a glance

Name: Kari Hann  

Job title and company: Marketing and Digital Communications Manager, Specialty Sales & Marketing  

Years of experience: 16 years  

Years in the YPA: 15 years  

What causes are you passionate about in the auto care industry?   

I am most passionate about bringing talented youth into our industry—it is no secret we have an aging industry. That said, our industry is also very vibrant and filled with passionate individuals. There are so many lucrative jobs in our industry that are not as well-known as they should be. Once we attract the talent, the chances are these individuals will stay in the industry for a long time, if not the entirety of their careers. I believe that this is the key to our continued success as an industry. I am also committed to giving back to the industry and to the communities we all work and live in—I will never turn down an opportunity to volunteer my time to an individual or cause I am passionate about.  

How important are mentors when entering the auto care industry?  

Mentors are extremely important. Having mentors that can guide and help shape your career is a major key to success in this industry. Throughout my career, I have been very fortunate to have mentors that have provided invaluable support and insight that has helped me in so many areas. I realized early on that I had much to learn, and by actively seeking out and learning from the knowledge and experience of my mentors, I have been rewarded in many ways.  

What was the biggest challenge you have experienced in the auto care industry? And what has been the most rewarding experience?  

I find that the biggest challenge is being a young female in a mostly male dominated industry—especially when I first started. While this has been a challenge, it has also been my biggest blessing. It could feel very intimidating in the early years, but once you show your commitment, talent and work ethic, this is just one factor that makes you stand out. Everyone I have encountered throughout my career has been extremely supportive and encouraging.  

The most rewarding experience, though, has been being a part of the YPA Committee for so many years, and now stepping into the role of chair. It has been an absolute pleasure to see the committee grow, change and evolve so much over the years and to get to know and collaborate with all the talented committee members.  

About Specialty Sales & Marketing  

Specialty Sales and Marketing (SS&M) represents Automotive and Heavy Duty Aftermarket Parts, Accessories, Hardware and Industrial Suppliers in every Province and Region in Canada. Founded in 1982, SS&M currently has full-time staff geographically located across Canada to service their manufacturers and customers. 

About the Young Professionals in the Auto care sector 

Young Professionals in the Auto care sector (YPA) is an Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA Canada) community comprising of young executives, of 45 years or younger, in the Canadian auto care sector. They support the career growth of young professionals by expanding their network and assisting them in becoming a thought leader in Canada’s auto care industry. 


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