Life at OPENLANE Black History Month Edition: Q&A with Erin Battle, Relationship Associate at AFC

This Black History Month, learn about Erin Battle’s nearly 10-year journey at OPENLANE, from joining as the second employee in Fredericksburg to evolving into a relationship associate. She speaks about everything from her long term projects, to finding community in OPENLANE’s Employee Resource Groups and more.

What has your journey at OPENLANE looked like? 

It’s been a nearly 10 year adventure. I came to AFC in 2015. I was the second employee that was hired at the Fredericksburg branch in Virginia. At first, I was mostly in the office, handling responsibilities like processing titles and payments.  After getting promoted, I started spending more on the field — seeking new business, building on our customer relationships and more.

What is something you are most proud of during your time with OPENLANE? 

The long term projects. For instance, my work with our business technology team. This team does our beta testing for AFC’s technical upgrades. So I was able to beta test our new system for processing non-auction purchases, which replaced another system last year. It was a 12-week program and was really awesome. My teammates and I served as subject matter experts for the branch itself, and we were liaisons between the branch, the customer, our tech support and product managers. I’ve also been a part of projects for beta testing our customer facing systems as well.

What do you like the most about working at OPENLANE? 

Our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). They allow us to connect with people all across OPENLANE. But they also allow us to find allies, gain partnerships, that sort of thing. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to find others from the same race or ethnicity as you. It’s huge to me. 

Beyond that, I’m grateful for the opportunities our ERGs give us. For instance, I’ve written two articles for BLK@OPENLANE that were published on the Hub, our employee intranet where we share company news and can connect with coworkers from across the enterprise.

What’s a piece of advice for newcomers to the company?

Don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard. Find out where you can use your talents. And make sure to get involved and meet people! We have a lot of great teams and a lot of times, that’s where you find your friends. Over the years I’ve made friends at corporate, credit, contracts, audit and other departments. The more connections you make, the easier it is to solve any problems that arise in your daily work.

What does Black History Month mean to you personally? 

Black History Month is our time to reflect on our achievements, educate others, and celebrate our culture’s impact. It’s about embracing our heritage, acknowledging progress, and envisioning a future without racial divides. While there’s still work to do, we’re incredibly optimistic about the positive changes ahead for future generations.

What is your favorite part of Black History Month? 

I enjoy seeing the progression and celebrating us. The beautiful things about us as a collective and our versatility. We have actors and actresses winning Emmys and Grammys and Oscars. Musicians that are, you know, transitioning from one type of music to another type of music to reach a broader audience. Doctors, activists and everything in between.

Tell us about the work that BLK@OPENLANE does and the importance of this group to you? 

The fact that we accept everyone. It’s not just black people in BLK@OPENLANE. We have made it a safe space so that others who may have an African American spouse or child or parent or friend feel comfortable enough to be present. We bring awareness, educate, and make others feel empowered. All while making it a friendly thing. It’s not a place for condemnation. It’s not a place for ridicule. As long as you want to learn, you have a safe space to have your voice heard.


Meet More Waybuilders