Being a woman is my advantage, says Karolína Topolová, CEO of Aures Holding, which covers the AAA Auto and Mototechna brands.

Photo: courtesy of Aures Holdings

Karolína Topolová is the first woman to become the leader of a large automotive company. She has been the CEO of Aures Holdings for nine years. This group covers the largest Central European used car dealer AAA Auto or the Mototechna brand. In 2021, she was ranked in Forbes Magazine’s Most Influential Women.

Woman in managerial position and automotive business. How difficult were the beginnings for you?

The beginnings really weren’t easy. Not all men took me as a partner and I had to prove it harder to prove that I was in the right place. I think I managed to get over it quickly and often, on the contrary, it was my advantage that I was just a woman. The most important thing was that I really enjoyed the work and actually enjoys it until now.

Have you ever encountered stereotypes in this regard?

When I joined AAA AUTO, not many women worked there. However, then-owner Anthony James Denny did not make gender differences. He treated everyone equally and wanted the same quality results from everyone. Not all colleagues had it that way, and prejudices against women in managerial positions have lasted longer. It took a while, but they, too, were able to recognize the work of others.

Photo: courtesy of Aures Holdings

Is it possible to effectively balance work and family life when you are in the position of CEO of a holding?

It works, but I must admit that from the beginning it was not at all as easy as I had planned. Long before the birth, I had a plan in place for how it would all go, but I was surprised at how difficult it was. Gradually, however, I found a way to balance time with family and time spent at work. But without the support of my husband and our mothers, it would be much more complicated.

What is your recipe for success? Can you actively relax at all? And in what activity?

If you want to be successful, you have to devote a large part of your life to work. From the beginning of my career, I spent basically all my time working. My advantage was that work was always my hobby, and I didn’t mind working on weekends or in the evenings. Even during this period, I was able to find time for friends or sports. I’ve always enjoyed football or snowboarding, for example. Lately, I spend my free time mainly with my family, but we take trips together and we are quite active. I’m not the type of person who can lie down all day, but a good book, like a Nordic detective, I like to read from time to time.

Photo: courtesy of Aures Holding

What is your opinion on fashion? For example, do you have a favorite brand or designer?

Like most women, I like fashion, but I don’t explicitly have one favorite designer or brand. But it is true that I basically go shopping only to one shopping center, but to several stores. My biggest weakness is my watch, which I already have a larger collection.

Speaking of brands, can you tell our readers your favorite car?

My favorite brand is the Mercedes Benz, specifically the GLS model, which is spacious and comfortable enough for traveling with the family.

Photo: courtesy of Aures Holdings

What is most important for you personally about the car? Is it more about style, functionality or design?

Practical things are more important to me. I like spacious taller cars where I feel safe.

What cars do Czechs prefer? Is our claims different from the rest of the world in any way?

Czechs still love mainly Škoda cars. Up to a third of customers buy them from us. I would see the specificity in the fact that we are quite practical and we are not just interested in the appearance of the car. We more often consider our real needs, ie how much space we need, how many seats, higher comfort equipment, etc. Safety is also important for the Czech Republic.

Photo: courtesy of Aures Holdings

How did you deal with the pandemic? For example, has the way you sell changed? Did you have to fire?

The arrival of the pandemic surprised us like all entrepreneurs. Thanks to the fact that we have already tested online sales, we were able to start selling in this form from day to day. That was our advantage over the competition. Nevertheless, in the first wave we also had to reduce costs, which also affected employees. Fortunately, customers learned to buy cars online relatively quickly during lockdowns, and we settled our losses relatively quickly and were able to recruit employees.

How is your holding and especially the AAA Auto network preparing for the era of electromobility? What is your opinion on this trend?

In my view, electromobility is still an overrated issue. Until electric cars are produced at more affordable prices, batteries last longer, there is a wider network of charging stations and cars do not travel at least 500 km on a single charge, people will not have enough motivation to buy them. It is also necessary to realize that the times of cheap electricity are gone, so the argument about cheap operation of electric cars is slowly falling. I see more potential in hybrids, which are also of higher interest every year.

Photo: courtesy of Aures Holdings

Source: MODA.CZ – Pánská móda, dámská móda a vše ze světa módy by

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