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When Stephanie Goldstein Isn’t At Alfa Romeo, You Can Find Her In The Mosh Pit

The car company’s head of marketing talks death metal, female mentorship, and Selling Sunset’s Mary Fitzgerald.

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As Alfa Romeo’s head of marketing, Stephanie Goldstein spends much of her time traveling to different states, visiting local dealerships, and getting to know the brand’s car salesmen firsthand. And while she checks in on all aspects of these dealership’s businesses, there’s one area she’s most passionate about: how they’re selling and marketing their cars to women. “I'll ask for a show of hands, ‘Who's heard of Selling Sunset? Who's heard of Mary Fitzgerald?’” Goldstein tells Bustle, before revealing that the reality star-realtor is now a brand ambassador. “So [I’ll teach them about] those types of things and how to reach our new target consumer, [who] we're trying to attract through people like Mary.”

While getting women into cars like their new Tonale — which is the first plug-in hybrid vehicle from the brand — takes up much of Goldstein’s day job, her true passion is recruiting women to work in the automotive industry. According to a 2021 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 21.7% of jobs in the auto sector are held by women. And Goldstein, who has over thirty years of experience in the field, having worked for everyone from Ford, to Chrysler, to Kia, is intent on bolstering those stats. “I think it's about letting them know that they are capable,” she says of the advice she gives to women contemplating an automotive career. “It's a matter of actually faking it till you make it. We can do anything, we just have to have the confidence to apply [for these jobs].”

To Goldstein, what will inspire a woman to buy an Alfa Romeo is not all that different from what it will take for a woman to come work for them. It’s all about seeing themselves in order to believe in themselves. “I'm not sure if you've ever had a female salesperson but they're gravitated to because there's an automatic trust built in,” she says. “I think similarly in corporate automotive, even if you're not a true leader by title, you are a quiet leader [because of that trust].”

Below, Goldstein discusses growing up in “Motor City,” the best piece of advice she’s ever received, and what she learns from her mentees.

The automotive industry is incredibly male dominated. What inspired you to join the field?

Growing up in Detroit, the “Motor City,” my dad worked for Ford and we spent a lot of time in the garage. Then, right out of college, there was an opportunity for me to interview with Ford, and I started my illustrious career in automotive in [their] call center. It was so inspiring from day one, because you learn how the automotive industry literally touches every other industry that makes America go.

Were there women for you to look up to in the field at the time? Who was your automotive role model?

Definitely my dad. My uncle, my grandpa, everyone was at Ford. My dad afforded us a lot of really nice things in our childhood, and I knew that if I wanted to have a similar lifestyle, that automotive could definitely provide that for me. So I jumped in with both feet.

How did they feel about you joining the family biz?

“We got her!” My dad raised me to be headstrong and speak my mind, and he knew that I would have the chops to move forward in automotive. But I will tell you, I love to be the mom or big sister, and put my arm around the younger generation as well. I mentor a lot of females in my company to make sure that if they're struggling or having a hard time [they can] look at me and think, “I'm your future. You can do this and here's some points on how to get through it.”

What does an average day look like for you at Alfa Romeo?

A lot of screen time. But I just back from a week on the road in New York and New Jersey visiting with dealers. I speak with all of their employees and say, "Tell me how you're selling the Tonale. Sell me this car and sell it to me from a female perspective." Sometimes the older sales sales guys on the floor are just like, "Can you help me? Maybe a few pointers from a female perspective?”

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

That it's a marathon, not a sprint. You have to continue to foster your own career, you have to be your own number one fan, and [that’s how] you're going to drive your success. But truly, it's not a sprint. Don't sweat it if you're not a vice president by 30.

You’ve fostered great relationships with the younger generation working at Alfa Romeo. What have you learned from your mentees?

I'm trying not to become that person that gives up [on learning] the digital landscape. This might be super embarrassing, but I just learned last year about an NFT. I had no idea! So I buckled down and learned what it is, and I was so proud of myself. That’s how you stay relevant.

How do you unwind after a long, stressful day?

I do have an affinity to death metal [ever since] my late twenties. So I’ll put on my headphones and jump on my trampoline for a while. Or literally sign me up for the mosh pit, I’m all about it. I’m probably several beers in by the time I even get in there, but I’m down front and center. I know every word to Metallica, all of those guys.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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