On the Rise: Kristen Swinehart

Oct. 31, 2023

Kristen Swinehart

General manager for sellout | Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. | Akron, Ohio | Age: 36

What was your first job in the industry?

I started as a retail development specialist. My territory was Louisiana, eastern Texas, and lower Arkansas. I called on Walmart, Sam’s Club, car dealerships and company-owned retail stores. I loved the position and the team so much that I made it my career goal to someday run the organization, and now I’m fortunate enough to have that honor! It’s a complete full circle.

What attracted you to the industry?

I grew up in Akron, so I always wanted to work for Goodyear. Tires are a stable, commodity product and something that people always need. 

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?

One of the biggest challenges of being in the tire industry in general is simply being a female in a male-dominated space. There are many meetings where I may be the only female in the room, especially on the sales side of the business. It challenges me to be courageous, to not shy away from sharing my ideas or thoughts, and to be confident in the value I bring to the table.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career?

One of my former managers, Dan Gross, has had the greatest influence in my career. He has always provided thoughtful guidance and set an excellent example as a leader in our business. He has taught me the value of analytical, out-of-the-box thinking and been a consistent resource when needed.

What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?

When Goodyear purchased Cooper, I was asked to co-handle the change management responsibilities of the integration for North America. This project required significant collaboration across many departments and team members. I assisted with external communication to our customer base, internal communication to our associates, coordinating strategic project teams, and organizing training opportunities. It was a significant effort that I’m proud I was able to be part of.

Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your workday?

I'm the general manager for the sellout organization. I manage four teams of associates that call on car dealerships, fleets, retailers and independent dealers. I spend much of my time supporting my sales team internally at corporate and working on hiring our next generation of talent.

What's been the biggest surprise of your current job?

The biggest surprise I've had is just how creative my team is. They continue to impress me with their ingenuity.

Tell us about your family.

I have a wonderful husband, Matthew (aka Norm). I also have two Pembroke Welsh corgis, Nola and Hashbrown, along with one fat cat, Chewy.

If you could wake up tomorrow with one new skill, what would you choose?

I'm currently trying to learn to do handstand walks and it's been a frustrating process, so I would have to choose that.

In a single word, how would your friends describe you?


If you could switch jobs for a day, what job/who would you choose to swap with, and why?

Within Goodyear, I would swap jobs with one of our blimp pilots so I could spend the day flying around!

What's the biggest issue facing the tire industry?

Not an issue but an opportunity — things will continue to develop with fleets and how they're being utilized in the market. It will be critical for manufacturers, distributors and retailers to figure out the best go-to-market strategy to service this expanding channel.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an author and write fantasy books.

What goal did you set for yourself this year? Are you on track to reach it?

I had a goal to visit as many new national parks as possible and will end up hiking Acadia, Zion and Bryce Canyon by the end of the year.

What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?

Impossible to say! I simply hope to continue to utilize my skills and talents to help others.