To continue the momentum started by our Women in Remarketing and Women in Auto Finance franchises, AuSM has launched Women in Retail, an awards program that specifically recognizes leaders on the retail side of the auto industry.
This inaugural class of honorees is spotlighted in the July 1 issue of AuSM, which includes Q&As with each recipient of the award.
Next up is Deaun A. Flowers, who is a second chance finance manager at Lou Fusz Automotive Network.
AuSM: What was your career path to the retail auto industry? Did you always see yourself in this line of work?
Deaun A. Flowers: When I started my career, it was as warranty administrator for a BMW dealership in the state of Florida. I then moved into finance when I relocated back to St. Louis in 1998 at Merollis Chevrolet. I spent the next 21 in auto financing, specializing in secondary finance and helping customers with challenged credit. I worked in several areas of the auto industry from administration to running a used-car center.
A valuable contribution to my success was by learning all avenues of what it takes to make this all work. I spent many days learning what service administrators/advisers do as well as an administration office staff processes.
Deaun A. Flowers
I am most proud of my drive to be the best and deliver quality work to both the organization as well as my committed customers.
AR: What advice would you have for someone just starting out in retail automotive?
DAF: My advice for someone that is wanting to start his/her career in the auto industry is that you must know it is hard work and takes a lot out of you personally. You must have a passion for the business, drive to be successful, willing to be flexible with your personal life, patience, understanding, but most of all, a love for the auto industry and, foremost, your customers.
AR: What accomplishment or moment in your career are you most proud of?
DAF: My most proud moment while being in this industry is my customer loyalty and the success of them understanding their credit and how to use it. Taking someone that may have had some credit challenges, (bankruptcy, repossessions, etc.) in the past and helping them rebuild their credit and being able to understand and purchase a vehicle with a clear understanding.
AR: Who is a leader, outside of the auto industry, that you admire and why?
DAF: A leader to me outside the auto industry would be my mother, Jacqueline Jones. When I started off in the auto industry business and consistently doubted myself, she continued to tell me I could accomplish anything. Her continued encouragement of me being an African -American women in the auto industry shaped me to be successful; not only for me, but for others that needed me for what I was called to do. My mother’s continued prayers for me shaped and molded me to never deter from what you believe in.
I have to mention a very special person that challenged me to be something at times I didn’t see in myself, and that is Carl Merollis of Merollis Chevrolet in St. Louis, Mo. He gave me an opportunity when women working in the auto industry were very rare and taught me every aspect of the dealership, and I am forever grateful.