Women’s History Month Highlight: Esther M. Santos, Director, North American Sales
Behind every battery, every chassis, and every complete vehicle that rolls off the line is a team of talented people dedicated to bringing clean transportation to our roads. We’re proud of the depth of talent across our staff; they bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to help lead us into a future of zero-emission automotive technology.
The entire month of March, Xos has been celebrating Women’s History Month with special content highlighting the women that make a difference at our organization and beyond. This week, we’re excited to formally introduce Esther M. Santos, Director of North America Sales. We recently sat down with Esther to learn more about her background, her goals at Xos, and where you can find her when she’s not busy selling electric vehicles.
1. Tell us about your background and experience.
I started my career at Toyota Motor Sales, Inc. in Los Angeles, where my love for automotive began. After spending eight years at Toyota, I decided to take a break from the Fortune 100 world to join Noribachi, a startup specializing in solar and LED technologies. After a successful run at Noribachi, I jumped into the rapidly growing (no pun intended) cannabis industry. After several years, I found myself missing the automotive industry.
I wanted to find a company in the automotive space that felt like a startup but had that Fortune 100 budget, which led me to joining Genesis. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, but felt like it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to be able to contribute more in a fast-paced environment. My passion for the industry combined with my experience in growing sales organizations brought me to Xos.
2. Why Xos?
It goes without saying that Xos has an opportunity to make a real impact in the commercial transportation industry — and we have already begun doing so. We are one of the few commercial EV manufacturers that has vehicles on the road today. And I want my team to continue being a significant contributor to that growth.
But truthfully, it’s the culture that hooked me. I’ve worked at companies with toxic cultures that limit people’s abilities to make a significant impact. Xos is the complete opposite of that. Xos is home to an incredible group of people who I’m enthusiastic to work side-by-side with and learn from. We have an opportunity to do something big and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
3. What are your biggest initial priorities at Xos?
I’m the head of sales, so of course it’s to sell as many trucks as humanly possible. But beyond that, my job is to make sure that my team has all of the tools they need in order to educate potential customers on the benefits of fleet electrification. Converting internal combustion engine fleets to EV not only helps Xos as a company, but also has a positive impact on helping the planet by taking gas guzzling trucks off the road.
4. What do you think are the biggest advantages for fleets going electric?
The biggest advantage is decreasing total cost of ownership (the “TCO”). With rising costs of diesel and maintenance, fleets can save significantly on TCO by going electric. Additionally, EVs typically require less maintenance than conventional vehicles. The battery and motor require far less regular maintenance compared to their gas guzzling counterpart. Also, there are less fluids. No more oil changes, so more time producing revenue!
5. Do you have a female role model who has shaped your approach to your career or life?
My mom. My mother worked two jobs the majority of my childhood. She worked as a bank teller by day and manager of a pizza shop that my parents owned by night. They ended up selling it after many successful years and my mother continued in the banking industry. I’ve never known a time growing up that my mother wasn’t getting promoted or receiving some accolade for her hard work. I’m happy to say that my mom’s strong work ethic continues to shine to this day. I definitely wouldn’t be the woman that I am today if it weren’t for the positive influence of my mom.
6. Do you have any advice for younger women starting their careers in the automotive or tech industry?
Don’t take “no” for an answer.
I can’t count how many times I was told “no,” or, “We have someone else in mind for that position,” or even, “You’re a bit too aggressive.” Take everything people say to you with a grain of salt.
If there’s something important you want to do or if you want to be in a certain position, find your advocates at the organization and go for it. Sometimes that means you have to leave and find another company to get that opportunity.
The right organization will build you up and help you craft the career path you want and deserve.
7. Where can we find you when you’re not at work?
Usually at home with my husband and two dogs. Or if it’s nice outside, then I’m going for a run or a long walk with the pups. I also love to travel, generally to somewhere warm where I can scuba dive. I’ve traveled to over 60 countries so far and am looking to hit another 40 in the next ten years.
8. What are three words your best friend or family would use to describe you?
Loyal. Ambitious. Funny
9. Where is your favorite place to go when you need a mental reset?
We’re thrilled to have Esther on the team and we’re proud to celebrate her accomplishments alongside the other women here at Xos this month and beyond.
This post may contain forward-looking statements. For details, please see https://investors.xostrucks.com/forward-looking-statements.