CEO | Ray Brandt Auto Group
CEO | Ray Brandt Auto Group
The best piece of advice I ever received is, “A bad decision is better than no decision at all. Most decisions can be undone, but you have to learn to move with the right amount of speed.” For me, this means always take action and advocate for meaningful change.
What have been some of your biggest challenges and biggest successes?
My most significant challenge was mourning the man I loved. Knowing what the Ray Brandt Auto Group meant to Ray, I’m duty-bound to honor his legacy by picking up right where he left off. Having worked side by side with Ray for years, I knew what it would take to move the company forward, and I was ready for my new role as CEO. Within months of becoming CEO, I joined the Board of Directors for the Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association.
Leading this team has been my most significant and meaningful success. In 2020, we restructured our company, and 2020 proved our most successful year to date. I am proud to be the CEO of Ray Brandt Auto Group.
How do you maintain a balance between your personal and professional life?
Maintaining a work-life balance is a challenge in the best of times, and it has become all the more daunting in this time of uncertainty. I choose to spend my time away from work supporting my New Orleans community, and I work diligently to keep my time well-balanced.
As native New Orleanians, my husband and I founded the Ray and Jessica Brandt Family Foundation, supporting local educational institutions. My community support also includes holding fundraisers for schools in the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the American Heart Association and supporting the Susan G. Komen foundation. I have also been a significant supporter of the LCMC Children’s Hospital, earlier this year joining its Board of Trustees. I serve as a member of the Advisory Board for POWER with Fidelity Bank, the East Jefferson General Hospital Foundation Board, the New Orleans UNCF Advisory Committee, and the City Park Improvement Association Governing Board.
What changes or innovations do you hope to see for your company or industry in the next five years?
Ray Brandt Auto Group is poised for continued growth, which has always been Ray’s focus and mine as well. Days before Ray passed, he brought diversification to our brand by purchasing Pascal’s Manale Restaurant. My husband was always a strategic visionary, and our company continues to adapt, expand, and seek new opportunities. The automobile industry is experiencing tremendous growth in technology, and we look forward to evolving technologically as well.
In your experience, what are the keys to maintaining a healthy, productive company culture?
I think two things that play a considerable role in keeping a healthy and productive company culture are accountability and motivation—holding people accountable and keeping the team motivated. I set clear priorities for my team and have invested in and developed my team so that they can trust their own judgment on operational decisions.
Who have been some of the greatest influences on your career or leadership style?
My husband was someone who I very much respected and admired as a leader. He founded the company in 1983 with just one dealership and, over his career, grew it to 13 dealerships across southern Louisiana and Mississippi with six collision centers. He started with a dream and then defined the company’s direction. Ray’s focus was on thinking big and thinking long-term. I strive to think this way, too.
Ray Brandt Auto Group
3223 8th Street, Metairie