I came to the United States after fleeing Mexico in pursuit of safety and opportunity. I had high hopes but remained unsure where my journey would take me. I was starting from scratch, I had left my entire family behind in Cuba and knew next to no one in the States. Despite these struggles, I knew the one thing I needed above all else was a job, any job really, I just needed money to live. So I started working at Six Rent A Car at which point I needed a car but had no idea where to start. So I went to Kendall Toyota, and from there my entire journey accelerated onto a new path.
It’s funny to look back and think that I started my career at Kendall Toyota in the same seat my customers sit in. All I can say is that I felt inspired by a compassionate and informative sales associate who helped me reach my goal. I had been told the auto industry was full of slimy sales people but that was the day I realized there are caring and trustworthy car salespeople too. That’s what made me realize I wanted to help someone in the same way I was helped. So when I was asked to apply for a job with Kendall Toyota, I accepted.
People often ask me if I take a different approach from the male sales associates, and in fact I’d say I do. They stand near the entrance or out front of the showroom. Meanwhile, you’ll usually find me at my desk connecting with people who want my help. I am always willing to put in the extra legwork to help them with more than just buying a car. I want to help my clients with everything, including setting goals so they can obtain financing or finding them the best deal on repairs.
Statistics will tell you sexism is still alive in the workplace, and certain industries are far worse than others. The male-dominated auto industry isn’t always easy for females to work in. I’d be lying if I said I never get overlooked by customers who immediately discredit my knowledge assuming a male salesperson knows more than I do about cars. I know that I can’t let it get to me, not after all of the risks I’ve taken to get here.
If I was not prepared to face diversity and the possibility of rejection, I would not have come to the United States in search of opportunity in the first place. And so I continue to disprove doubtful dudes and surpass all customer expectations, putting in up to 12 hours of work most days of the week. Going above and beyond for my customers cuts into my personal life and passion for teaching and playing music. But at the end of the day it’s all worth it because I get to provide caring and compassionate help to some of the coolest customers ever.
Most people treat purchasing or selling a vehicle as a financial transaction and nothing more. They come to test drive, avoid salespeople as much as possible, negotiate the best price and then drive off in their new car. Even when customers are excited about their new purchase–who doesn’t love the feel of a new car?– they are often sidetracked thinking back on the transaction. Was there any way they could have scored a better deal? Did they pay too much? That’s why I put in the extra effort from the get-go to earn my customer’s trust and advocate for them so that they can be truly excited about their final purchase knowing they got a great deal.
To all of my fellow females out there–have you ever experienced sexism in the workplace?