Amy from Think Creative. I’m here today with Shirley.
Also from Think Creative. And Kathie at Colley Ford for Colley Ford’s podcast. Welcome, Kathie.
Thank you so very much.
Thanks so much for joining us today. So I just want– I was told that you have– that you’re just like the woman here.
You are the woman to talk to here.
Let’s say I’m the oldest woman [laughter].
Okay. Okay. Respect that. So I’m just really excited to have the chance to talk to you. And I just wanted to know a little bit about you. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure. Well, in reference to my relationship with the company, I first met the Colley family back in 1976. They acquired a Porsche/Audi franchise that I was working at over in Riverside, California.
So that was the first dealership?
No. Not the first dealership I worked at. I started out in 1971 as a cashier in a Volkswagen dealership in Fontana.
That’s a long history. Yeah.
And then that dealer bought a franchise, opened a Porsche/Audi franchise in Riverside, so I moved over there. And then the Colley family came in and acquired it, like I said, in 1976. And I just was there for a couple of weeks and moved on and went to another Porsche store in Pomona, California. And worked for a race car driver, George Follmer.
Anyway, yeah. So that was fun for a while. And then in 1983, I got a telephone call from a friend of mine who said that her friend was working at a Ford franchise in Glendora, and it was a new dealership and she needed some office staff. So I had called her and interviewed and it happened to be the Colley’s.
Oh, wow. What a small world.
Yeah. Small world, right? So seven years later, our paths crossed again and that was in 1983. And here it is 2019, and I’m still here.
We’re all still here doing the same thing.
That’s some kind of loyalty.
Yeah. That’s a fantastic history.
They’re great people. And we all go way back, and we have some fun conversations sometimes.
That’s an amazing history and it really does say a lot about the Colley’s.
The Colley’s not– Especially who you are as well, very loyal, very loyal to the family.
Well, and they’ve been so kind and generous to me. That goes both ways. And I appreciate their loyalty to me and their generosity.
And their friendship, so to speak.
Yeah. That’s an essential relationship. You know, a lot of people would love to have that kind of stability and loyalty. So what is your role here?
Well, I’m the business manager. And when I was hired, way back when, I came on as the office manager. And I’m going to say it’s probably been, I don’t know, maybe 15 years ago or so, Rena, the lady that had also worked for the Colley’s for a very, very long time, she retired. And I just stepped in and took her spot and so. So it’s been the two us for all these years [laughter].
So what does your role entail?
Well, the office is a kind of a behind the scenes department of a dealership. Everything ends up in the office. All the parts and service accounting, the car deals, everything. And in the business office, we do all the accounting, prepare the financial statements, the bank statements, all of that.
Okay. So it’s maybe not the most invisible role, but it’s an essential role.
No, it’s the backbone of the dealership.
Yeah. The backbone. I like that.
And it’s really a group effort to make it all come together. And from the service porters to the general manager, it’s all of us working together to keep it going and make it a great place to work and–
So what it is like being a woman in the automotive industry?
You know, it’s interesting you bring that up because things have changed. I mean, when I first started–
When I first started, there were– Women weren’t even business managers. My first boss was a man.
And I hadn’t worked for– When I went to the– moved to the Porsche/Audi store, I worked for two men, also, that were the business manager’s controller, so to speak. There were no saleswomen. No women in finance. I mean, I didn’t have a lot of experience at working at other dealers. But I don’t recall, at any of our stores back then, having women.
So you were like a trailblazer?
Yeah. So then in the ’80s you– When I went to Colley, I remember we had a woman finance manager and a woman salesperson. So I thought, “Wow, this is great.”
So that’s pretty a rarity.
Yeah. So back many years ago, women weren’t in the sales force or in management. Maybe in Los Angeles or real big dealerships, that could be, but not from–
Yeah. The norm.
So you seen that.
Yeah. Right. And then now, of course, I think there’s women CEOs of General Motors, different places. All these women have moved up.
It’s really grown.
It’s been a long time, though. 30, what, 30 years. About time, I guess.
Yeah. That those changes are reflected.
In other [crosstalk] as well, but yeah.
Yes. Yes. Absolutely.
Well, that’s excellent, and I love it. You are a trailblazer. You are one of the first.
Oh, well [laughter]. So but anyway.
You want to make a trail mark.
[crosstalk] for sure.
But yeah. So.
So what are some of the highlights of your job here? What are some of the things that you enjoy the most?
What I enjoy the most is the work, to be honest with you.
I love that.
Yeah. I like that work. I like to come in, get the task done, and move on to the next thing. And keep things–
Now, were you paid to say that?
No, no. No, I was not. But you know what? We have a great office. And we just– I don’t know–
[crosstalk], and that’s good.
I just want to get the–
There’s a lot of satisfaction in it.
Yeah. Get the job done.
Get the job done.
Right. Do your best. Because if we don’t do our job, then it can–
Affect everyone else.
And it seems like you are the brains of the company. You are the backbone of the company. And it’s probably what you said for your team and your staff members to make sure to get the job done and to assist everybody else.
Right. Right. You want it to be done right. You want a good outcome.
You want everybody to be happy and work harmoniously together because that attitude reflects leadership. You know, anyway.
Yeah. And that’s what brings the satisfaction and that feeling of– That you’re really contributing.
Right. Right. That I did a good job today.
Do it again tomorrow.
And everybody’s happy. Yeah.
Yeah. So just to wrap things up a little bit, are there any women that you looked up to as a role model in history? Or any women you look up to now, or?
You know, looking at that question, and I’m like, all women are– We all get out there day in, day out. Try to do the right thing.
Right. I love it. Of course.
Take care of our families if we have children. Or even the single women that try to do the best that they can.
Yeah. Yeah. Right.
And [crosstalk]. And we can too.
Right. And make changes, make the world a better place, so women all over the world.
Well, that was a perfect answer.
I love it, personally. And I’ve absolutely loved having the chance to talk with you today, Kathie.
Oh, well, thank you so very much.
Thank you for joining us.
This was so great. I appreciate it.
We’ll let you get back to your work.
All right. There you go.