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#Rising #Ranks #Hindman #CEO #Alyssa #Quinlan #WorthPoint

“[I]t is important to ask for what you want,” says Alyssa D. Quinlan, the CEO of Hindman, as she spoke with WorthPoint® during Women’s History Month. In our Q&A, Quinlan offered her unique perspective on business development and women in leadership roles.

Quinlan has sage advice for women seeking these positions, especially those in the longtime male-dominated antiques and collectibles trade. Now, as Hindman’s new CEO, Quinlan exemplifies the solid female leadership that has been in place at the auction house since Leslie Hindman founded the firm forty years ago. Today, the firm is the country’s most successful woman-founded auction house.

Leslie Hindman mentored Quinlan, an act which Quinlan greatly credits her success in the business toward. And her success is easy to witness. Quinlan capped her extensive career in business development by helping Hindman achieve its highest-ever annual sales total in 2022, a year after it did the same in 2021. During her three-year role as Chief Business Development Officer, Hindman increased its yearly sales by 43 percent and set many records, including a world auction record for an acrylic painting by Martin Wong.

Hindman auction 1984 painting by Chinese American artist Martin Wong
Hindman auctioned this 1984 painting by Chinese American artist Martin Wong for a world-record $1.1 million in 2021.

But what challenges has Quinlan faced throughout her career in male-led industries? What words does she offer women seeking to rise through the ranks of their own professions?

Read our full interview with Quinlan below.

WorthPoint: What challenges have you faced as a woman rising through leadership roles in a traditionally male-dominated trade? How did you overcome them?

Quinlan: Having spent more than half of my career in asset management and private wealth management, the majority of leadership roles were held by men at the time. And in the auction and art advisory industries, they are primarily male-dominated trades as well.

I come from a family of four girls and was lucky to have a father who constantly reminded my sisters and me that we could do whatever we set our minds to. Having a strong work ethic and not being afraid to ask questions was key. I also think it is important to ask for what you want. It won’t happen overnight, but in every role I’ve had, I was always looking at what the next possible role might be and wasn’t afraid to ask what it would take to move into the next role or earn the next title.

WP: How have your experiences guided business development at Hindman?

Q: Our business, like many others, is relationship-based. I have always enjoyed meeting new people and hearing their stories. I also remind team members that in addition to having IQ, equally as important is having EQ or emotional intelligence. In addition to being active listeners, it is important to be empathetic and willing to go the extra mile for our clients.

In my previous role as Chief Business Development officer, it was a joy to be able to apply all that I learned in terms of how to lead teams across the country—which includes an exceptional group of women.

It’s been thrilling to get to work so closely with the Executive Team, including former CEO and now Executive Chairman, Jay Krehbiel, to expand Hindman to our current sixty locations—many of which opened over the past decade. Learning how to successfully develop strong sales and build an outstanding team has been critical to my role at Hindman.

portrait sand bottle by Andrew Clemens
This impressive portrait sand bottle by Andrew Clemens reached a sale price of $860,000 in a September 2022 auction by Hindman.

WP: You have described founder Leslie Hindman as a mentor. Given her role in developing the most successful female-owned auction house in the United States, what did you learn from her? How did she impact your career?

Q: When I first saw Leslie auctioneering, I was immediately impressed. Everything I learned about auctions was from Leslie—from how she interacted with clients and built the business to her poise and skill on auction day. While there is definitely a lot of excitement and a performance-like element to auctions, there is also an incredible amount of teamwork and preparation required. Whether it be for an auction at Hindman, or a charity event that I’m auctioneering for, there’s always a lot that goes on behind the scenes.

From considering how important collections will be presented to the marketing to making sure buyers are all set for auction day, Leslie demonstrated how to be a strong woman leader in the auction world. I am forever indebted to Leslie for taking a chance on me and her willingness and patience to teach the trade to [me].

WP: Why are women underrepresented in leadership roles in this trade?

Q: While more and more women are pursuing (and landing) leadership roles in the art market, the auction industry continues to be very male dominated in its upper levels, not unlike other financial and wealth management companies. It’s been exciting to see women leaders assuming major roles at the other national firms, and I am confident we will continue to see more women taking on these roles.

… [I]n every role I’ve had, I was always looking at what the next possible role might be and wasn’t afraid to ask what it would take to move into the next role or earn the next title.”

Alyssa Quinlan, Hindman CEO

WP: As an active member of CHIEF, the professional network for women executive leaders, what advice would you give women seeking leadership roles in this trade?

Q: I was introduced to CHIEF by Hindman’s then-CEO, Jay Krehbiel, who had seen mentions of it on his LinkedIn feed, and he thought I might be interested. I was intrigued about the premise and was very impressed by the various workshops they held around topics from organizational skills to executive presence, and they featured incredible speakers who shared their personal stories.

One of the most beneficial aspects of the network is the monthly meeting that consists of a “Core” group of peers from other industries, and for two hours every month, an executive coach leads us through various topics and allows plenty of time for peer-to-peer coaching. I am now in my third year and find the sessions invaluable.

Even if you aren’t a member of CHIEF, I am a huge proponent of surrounding yourself with peers who will help keep you accountable and finding mentors who will help you reach leadership roles if that is what you are working toward.

Most importantly, stay authentic and confident. While the auction industry is very fast paced—there is no boring day at this job—there are so many opportunities to connect and learn from colleagues, clients, and partners.

Hindman has been an Industry Partner of WorthPoint for several years, providing more than 163,000 auction prices realized in the Price Guide. Check out the auction house’s sales of fine art, antiques, and other valuables here.

Niara Collins is the Senior Editor of WorthPoint. In addition to thrifting clothes and vintage collectibles, Niara loves to do anything and everything involving words, music, and food in her free time. She has a degree in English with a concentration in rhetoric, writing, and culture.

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