SHE LEADS – with Catherine Smith


Cox Enterprises


What would you tell your younger self?

Pay more attention in school and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do something.  

What was your major in college and how did you get to the position you are in today?

Business Admin – Marketing, Minor in Psychology.  I was working for Hertz Rent A Car and my husband got a job to move to Kansas City.  I reached out to the Manheim Auction, which was one of my fleet turn back sites and they hired me.  The following 21 years has been amazing and the best part of my job is that I get to share my story all the time!!

What was your inspiration and what helped you become successful? How do you define success?

I think it’s that I focus on others.  My success comes from helping others and doing the right thing.  I would measure/define success on how many people I’ve helped and seeing them succeed

How do you balance your work and personal life? Often times one has more importance, and we’re curious to know how you’ve handled the balance.

I compartmentalize my life.  In my 21 yrs with Cox, I had a baby, took her to tae kwon do classes, tournaments and events for 8 yrs and completed a master’s degree while working 2 jobs at one point.  my husband and daughter understood there were days or times reserved for work, school and fun.  We made sure to make time for the fun stuff.  Thursdays just became “fun night” and it didn’t have to be anything special or cost any money.  Just being together was enough!

What is your favorite quote?

“You’ll never be wrong when you do the right thing.”  Mark Twain

What’s your favorite part of your job and why?

Helping others.  Putting people in the right jobs and seeing them grow/succeed

What is your favorite hobby?

Reading mostly.  

What advice do you want to give the next generation of women leaders?

Same as the advice to myself.  Pay attention in school and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do something.  You make your future.  Be flexible, adaptable and think outside the box.

What does leadership mean to you?

I have a “servant leadership” mentality.  I work to give my people the tools they need and will give all the credit to the team.  If there is a mistake, it’s my fault and I own it.

What’s your advice on mentoring?

I love mentoring.  I love collaborating and when you can learn from someone who has walked the path before you, I think it’s amazing!

What’s your favorite ice cream?

Pretty much anything BUT chocolate or mint.  Love vanilla, strawberry, butter pecan.  Blue Bell had one a long time ago that was blackberry cobbler and it was amazing!!

Is there any other information that you think Girl Talk members would benefit from?

Look for the opportunities around you.  If you can’t find what you’re looking for, MAKE the opportunity.  Talk to people.  You will find there are wonderful people who want to help!