Embracing Change as a Leader with Tractor Supply Company's CMO, Kimberley Gardiner

Embracing Change as a Leader with Tractor Supply Company's CMO, Kimberley Gardiner

There’s a reason why people say no one likes change. But for Kimberley Gardiner, Chief Marketing Officer at Tractor Supply Co, change is what she’s learned to thrive on and how she makes the greatest impact. Kimberley knows what it’s like to be the only woman in a room full of executive leaders, and she’s had to learn how to be authentic and boldly share her ideas, even if they were unpopular at the time. From being able to do this, she’s found more happiness and satisfaction from work than she could have imagined.

Kimberley has a broad background in the automotive industry, previously having worked as SVP & Chief Marketing Officer for Volkswagen and Mitsubishi - and for Kia Motors America in marketing. She’s skilled at innovation and is a creative thinker. Her role as a change agent was a perfect fit for Volkswagen’s electric vehicles and the push for their adoption by the mainstream. In this podcast, Kimberley explains why leaders should be bold about asking for advice and tells us what she does every day that leads to her success. She also shares with us how to overcome failures, learn to say no, and what success habits helped her achieve her goals.


[02:53] Kimberley’s career journey
[07:55] Embracing being a change agent
[10:27] Managing your personal brand
[13:24] Don’t be afraid to ask for advice
[16:17] Building your board of personal directors
[17:52] Kimberley’s daily success habits
[22:50] Overcoming failures and setbacks
[27:17] Executing and achieving your goals
[31:48] Learning to say no
[35:30] How to embrace change
[40:08] Kimberley’s advice to our listeners


“You build business relationships like friendships, tell a little about yourself, ask for 5-10 minutes, and be very specific in your ask.” – Kimberley Gardiner 

“When you encounter a failure, think about what you can learn from it rather than replaying the event over and over in your head. Put the record player away and move forward with the lesson.” – Kimberley Gardiner

“Positioning success in terms of how it ladders up in the long term will help you be more successful in the short term.” - Kimberley Gardiner

“By saying yes to everything you shortchange the things that are really important to you.”- Kimberley Gardiner 

“The more you paint that picture early on, of what change can look like in the future, in a way that a person or team can relate to - saving you time, helping with turnover, achieving goals faster, and ultimately being more profitable, with a smaller footprint, the more people will be excited about the opportunity ahead.” - Kimberley Gardiner 

About Kimberley Gardiner:

Kimberley Gardiner, Chief Marketing Officer, Tractor Supply Company

As the former Senior Vice President of Marketing & CMO at Volkswagen Group of America, Inc, Kimberley was responsible for leading brand marketing for VW, including building on the momentum generated by the introduction of Volkswagen’s first all-electric SUV, the ID. 4.

Kimberley brings more than 20 years of automotive and marketing experience to her current role (joined Tractor Supply Co in July 2022). She recently served as the Chief Marketing Officer for Mitsubishi Motors North America and Kia Motors America, where she directed marketing efforts for the brand. Previously, she served as CMO and Vice President of Operations for 5th Kind, a global digital asset management company. She is known for being an innovative thinker with a passion for helping drive change in the automotive industry – a great fit for helping push for mainstream adoption of electric vehicles led by Volkswagen.

Kimberley holds a bachelor’s degree from Mills College and an MBA from Indiana University.


LinkedIn: kimberley-sweet-gardiner

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