IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Auctioneer Camille Booker Commands The Block

Credit: Original article published by Barrett-Jackson.

Written by Nicole Ellan James

Camille Booker is the first woman to have presided over the Barrett-Jackson block as an auctioneer selling automobiles.

Camille Booker rocked the 2022 Las Vegas block like only a seasoned pro could when she hit the gavel and called out “sold” as an auctioneer on Barrett-Jackson’s world-famous auction stage. What made this occasion different is that Booker is the first woman to have presided over the Barrett-Jackson block as an auctioneer selling automobiles.

The executive team at Barrett-Jackson knew that Booker was a natural choice to lead and made the decision to hand her the gavel without hesitation.

“It’s like nothing I’ve ever done before,” Booker said of her experience on the Barrett-Jackson block. “I feel so honored and privileged that I was given the opportunity to lead the auction.”

The Washington native has been an auctioneer for more than 20 years and helps run her family’s auction business. She is a third-generation auctioneer, following in her grandfather and father’s footsteps.

Growing up around the family business, Booker was shy and quiet when she was sent to auction school at 16. It wasn’t until her final year in college that Booker realized she wanted a career as an auctioneer. In 2011 she was honored to win the title of Women’s International Auctioneer Champion — the same year Joseph Mast, Barrett-Jackson’s lead auctioneer, won the Men’s division.

“When you become the International Auctioneer Champion, you serve as an ambassador for the National Auctioneers Association.” Booker said she got to know Mast and his family through their shared experience as reigning champions, which has culminated in their continued professional connection.

“When he became the lead auctioneer at Barrett-Jackson, he sent me a text that said, ‘Please hold these dates.’ He didn’t say what it was for, but I had an idea. I’ve been very blessed to have some opportunities from my connection with him,” Booker said.

“Working in an industry that has been traditionally male-dominated, Camille has always been driven to set lofty goals, and it’s been an honor to watch her continuously reach them,” Mast said. He added that as a father of daughters, he is especially aware of the importance of representation in the industry. He is honored to have many great female team members, such as clerks, bidder assistants, seller ambassadors and auctioneers.

“For decades I have thoughtfully and carefully chosen an auctioneer team that is the best of the best,” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “At Barrett-Jackson you experience world-class collector car auctions led by world-class auctioneers.”

Since joining the Barrett-Jackson team in 2015, Booker has also worked relaying bids to the lead auctioneer as a professional bidder assistant in the auction arena.

Booker was excited when she got the call that she would be an auctioneer during the 2022 Las Vegas Auction. Looking back, she said, “I am grateful my son, who is 12, had the opportunity to watch me prepare and watch me navigate the ups and downs and the stress of it along with the excitement of it all. It’s important to me that he watched me go and do it. It was just as exciting to let him see that like, ‘Hey, you know, mom can go out and auctioneer on the world-famous Barrett-Jackson block.’”

The collector car auction company is no stranger to putting prominent women in the spotlight.

“Barrett-Jackson was co-founded by Nellie Jackson, the First Lady of Collector Cars,” said Carolyn Jackson, Vice President of Brand Strategy and Chief Philanthropy Officer. “Nellie was a driving force within the company, the hobby and the industry, and I’m proud that Barrett-Jackson continues to provide a platform that encourages and strengthens women’s careers. I am grateful to have someone as talented as Camille be a part of the Barrett-Jackson auction team.”

“I am so honored that I was given the chance to command the block,” Booker said, adding that it was a bit nerve-wracking at first. Still, her experience leading the auction has given her a new perspective and understanding of all the moving parts behind a Barrett-Jackson auction.

“A lot was going on, more than I am accustomed to or any other venue I’ve been put into, which was part of the thrill,” she said.

“All of the current auctioneers at Barrett-Jackson are such powerhouses. There’s so much more energy and excitement put into a Barrett-Jackson sale than at a lot of different venues,” Booker said. She added that she practiced, prepared and watched videos of the other auctioneers so that she could match their cadences and rhythms. Booker said being able to have your voice fill the room is essential because all the people that are attending and watching on TV or online are there for the experience and a certain level of excitement and enthusiasm.

Booker advises other auctioneers to have patience along their journey because the end goal never happens overnight. “If it’s something you’re passionate about, set those goals and don’t give up on them.

“Leading a Barrett-Jackson auction is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I had to put in some time and earn trust from everybody on the team, as well as from Craig Jackson, Steve Davis and Carolyn Jackson.

“I’ve always just been raised to believe that the only obstacle in life is myself and with hard work and determination there is no limit to your successes,” Booker said. “It was my turn to get up there and shine.”