As President and CEO of Ruge’s Automotive, a family-owned business that has been around nearly 100 years and employs more than 100 community members in three locations, Kristin Ruge Hutchins understands the importance of supporting the local community. A respected businesswoman who continues to thrive in a male-dominated industry, Hutchins is mindful of protecting the positive reputation set forth by her grandfather, who founded the auto-sales company.
Not only has she led a strategic plan to create a community-centric mission, vision, and set of guiding principles for Ruge’s, she also serves in several local leadership roles, including as a Trustee for the Northern Dutchess Hospital Foundation Board. Ruge Hutchins has also helped spearhead special events and fundraisers, such as Subaru’s Share The Love event, which has raised more than $100,000 since its inception.
Additional fundraisers benefit local veterans at American Legion Post 429 and the Anderson Center for Autism. “When we can pay it forward, we’re helping another organization or group achieve a milestone that enriches life for everyone in the community,” she says. “The feeling of fulfillment and pride I experience from those outreach efforts is pretty extraordinary.”
What does it mean to you to carry on your grandfather’s legacy by running the family business?
It’s deeply rewarding to build on the foundation developed by the generations that came before me. To think that it was in 1935 when my grandfather Joseph Ruge first opened a Ruge’s Oldsmobile dealership in the center of Rhinebeck is pretty incredible. Today, many family members work together here, and that’s pretty unique and special.
What advice do you have for women about breaking the glass ceiling?
As a female leader in a male-dominated industry, I can honestly say that I believe tremendous progress is being made for women across the board — and I encourage any female wishing to pursue a leadership role in her field to go for it. By not stretching, growing, and breaking that glass ceiling, you not only do a disservice to yourself, but to those who’d benefit from your leadership and vision.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
The Golden Rule, “Treat others as you want to be treated.” It’s a guidepost for my life. Kindness is, of course, at the heart of this statement — but it goes beyond that. It also captures the fact that each one of us has equal value in this world. We all want to be respected, honored, and loved — and each of us deserves all of that!