Photo Credit: St. Augustine Social Magazine
You are a female leader in an industry commonly associated with men. What is that like?
It has presented its challenges over the years but I have always seen it an an opportunity to grow versus something I just have to deal with. I have worked with men in this industry that have accepted me, supported me and taught me invaluably so I feel grateful for those experiences much more than i feel burdened by any of the negative experieces I may have had.
You’re very involved in the community as a board member and through your own personal outreach; what does it mean to you to give back?
My Grandparents and my father were all extremely involved in this community in different ways as I got to witness that growing up. They never pushed me or my brother to follow in their footsteps, but rather lived a life that they were proud of and let us see it. It is hard not to learn from those types of examples and want to follow in their footsteps in some way. I feel like it is my responsibility to contribute in whatever ways I can, in return for the opportunities that other provided to me along the way.
How did growing up in the car business shape your childhood?
Well, it certainly shaped my view on cars. I always said that if your father was a dentist you would have the straightest and whitest teeth….so it’s pretty normal to hear me say that my windshield washer fluid is empty so I need a new car, haha! But seriously, this business provided for a life full of opportunities for our family, we were able to travel as well be rooted in a community that we all cared so much about. It was a very fortunate childhood.
What’s your favorite car you’ve ever owned?
My all time favorite car was a Lincoln MKT. they don’t make them any more but it was what I called my first “grown up car”, all the bells and whistles, big engine and looked amazing. It was the first on in the this area when they came out so I got to be one of a kind for just a little while!
You focus heavily on employee appreciation and involvement, including a wellness program and group runs and activities and your dealership was recently voted the # 1 dealership to work for – an honor you received from your own employees.
What does it mean to you to run a positive business?
It means a lot to me to run and continue to find ways to run this business promoting a positive culture for our employees, our vendors and our customers. The bottom line on that is I don’t personally want to work in an environment that isn’t that way so how or why would I expect anyone else to. It’s kind of a golden rule kind of concept.
You have two daughters – a 19-year-old and a seven-year-old – what’s your parenting philosophy… How do you approach parenting girls in two different phases of their lives?
I will gladly admit that I am a “winging it” mom! Every morning I am running through the house trying to get us out the door like ground hogs day. Have two girls at different ages has sometimes made that part of me harder to manage over the years but they have helped me to grow just as much as I have helped them, if not more. As for parenting philosophy, I am all about openness. In my house the rule is, we can talk about ABSOLUTELY anything as long as it is spoken respectfully. If you are mad or frustrated, happy or curious, not matter how taboo or difficult, I am open to talk about it as long as we all respect each other while we do it. Because after the conversation is over, we are all going to still be a family, that’s one thing that will never change!
When you were growing up, who inspired you? Who do you look up to now?
Growing up I really looked up to my Grandmother. She was strong and independent yet traditional and loving… an amazing combination in a woman. Now, I gravitate toward people with passion, that are finding ways to make their lives and the lives of other better in creative ways!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Being independent and strong willed can produce a lot of success but it can also create conflict when others don’t know how to take you. I was told once that when you are angry or think you are right about something that has been done wrong by you and you want to fly off the handle and respond harshly, to write it down. Write the letter, type the email, type the text, whatever it is…proof read it to make sure you made all your points….then delete it or throw it in the trash. And then go figure out what you really want to accomplish because many times proving you are right doesn’t get you the end results you are looking for!