Leisa: Hello, I’m Leisa Holland Nelson and welcome to another edition of Women Mean Business, where we’re going to take you up close and personal with extraordinary women doing extraordinary things. My guest today is Maria Moncada Alaoui, the General Manager and Developer Operator for BMW of West Houston and I might add I think one of the only female BMW Dealer Operators in the United States, correct?
Maria: Yes there are a few of us. I don’t know if I’m the only one but there’s definitely a few.
Leisa: Well I’ve never seen another one so I’ll take it at that. Maria, I’m guessing that you didn’t play on the swing set in the backyard and think of growing up to be a Dealer Operator, how did you get to this incredible position?
Maria: I stared actually as a secretary in the car business and was putting myself through college. The car business paid really well. As I was learning about the car business I fell in love with it and one of the managers allowed me to work on the weekends to make extra money. As you can imagine college, any extra money is welcomed. So I would outsell a lot of the sales guys that would sell every day and they tried to talk me into becoming a sales person. I eventually became a finance manager and just loved it and fell in love with the car business and continued to grow; became the first Sales Director they had at that store that was a woman, have stayed in the car business ever since – 22 years later here I am.
Leisa: Wow, so do you think there was any particular thing that made it so interesting to you?
Maria: I think all aspects of the car business; dealing with customers I really enjoy, I really enjoy the vehicles. I didn’t realize I had a passion for cars until I got in the car business. But I think the interaction with customers and the other associates, being able to help bring out the best in each associate; it was very self-gratifying, very rewarding.
Leisa: So you not only get to test yourself as a great sales person, you get to manage people – which is also a lot of fun – and plan business and all of that.
Maria: Right. So this business is probably the best rounded in the sense that you get to do marketing, you get to do forward planning when it relates to business, work with numbers. And then there’s also a lot of the right side of the brain; being able to help customers find the right car, being able to coach associates and ring out the best in them. So it’s very rewarding, very fulfilling and definitely not the same thing any day.
Leisa: Thank you very much. There you have it, another extraordinary woman doing extraordinary things. I’m Leisa Holland Nelson, President and Co-founder of ContentActive, Houston’s leading web and mobile design and development company. You can find me at ContentActive.com or follow me on Twitter @LHNelson. We’ll be back again next week with another edition of Women Mean Business.
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