Breaking up the boy’s club
I’m the president of the Alpine Buick GMC dealership. I recently won an award from Automotive News as one of the 100 Leading Women in the American Auto Industry.
When I got into this business after college, it was nearly exclusively men. I was the only female salesperson at my dealership for years. Now, if you come to my dealership, it’s not staffed entirely with middle-aged men. Sixty-five percent of our dealership staff are female, and many of them people of color. It looks more like the world we live in. Some of us speak different languages, and we’re able to accommodate different people from our community.
I was raised by two professionals. My mom was an accountant and my dad was a vice president of finance. I had hard work instilled in me from a young age.
My parents immigrated here from Cuba. They came to America to give me and my sisters more opportunities. They arrived in the early 1960s, not long after the Cuban Revolution that installed Fidel Castro.
Both my parents had been educated in America, but had returned to Cuba. When they fled, they told the authorities they were just going on vacation, but they stayed. My dad had less than a dollar. They were married for 65 years.
Even though they fled the political situation there, I don’t think they ever stopped missing it. Still, they had no desire to go back. They wanted to keep the memory alive of the place they grew up, not the place it became.
I’ve never visited Cuba. Perhaps I will at some point. My family and I are big travelers, and COVID has kept us locked down. We haven’t planned any post-COVID trips yet, but I’m thinking Europe. Down the line, we want to go on an African safari. My daughter wants to see Dubai.
I’ve always tried to give back. We have donated vehicles to Children’s Hospital, and I’ve served on the board of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and I’m now on the local Habitat for Humanity board, and I’m a trustee on the Denver Zoo’s board.
I’m one of only 13 women ethnic minority GM dealership owners. I didn’t have a mentor myself, so I hope where I’m at in my career can make a difference for women coming up.
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