FROM KINDERGARTEN TO SERVICE MANAGERS: FOREVER FRIENDS BRANDI AND MEEGAN


Brandi Lawler and Meegan Best became close friends in kindergarten, but the duo lost touch by fifth grade after Brandi moved away.

However, fate wasn’t through with them just yet.

Years later during move-in day at Colby-Sawyer College, the young women discovered they were quad mates. They would quickly become best friends all over again—and eventually Prime Motor Group co-workers as well.

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Brandi made the move to cars first, an easy decision, considering she was raised in the business. Her dad is Danny Doucette, general manager of Prime Motor Cars in Scarborough, Maine. (Danny has worked with the Rosenberg family since practically the beginning when Ira Rosenberg started North Shore Auto Brokers in Salem, Mass.)

Brandi loved shadowing her dad “at the office,” taking in the cars, the smells, learning everything as she went along. At the tender age of 14, she officially started working part time for Ira Mazda. After leaving college, she joined the Ira Lexus store in Danvers as a cashier before working her way up to service advisor.

Brandi loves everything the business has to offer. “I love the cars,” she says. “I’m a huge classic car buff, but I love highline cars, too. I like the challenge. I like the communication. The gratification of knowing the harder that you work, the better customer satisfaction scores you get and the more money you make.”

As Brandi embarked on her career, she and Meegan remained close, and Brandi would often talk up how much she loved her job. So one day when Meegan was looking for work, Brandi mentioned Ira Lexus was hiring a cashier and that she should apply for it. Meegan did and got the gig.

Meegan says she never intended to stay in the car business, but somehow weeks turned into months turned into years. She, too, learned as she went, absorbing everything along the way. Meegan says, “I worked as a cashier, a greeter, assistant writer, I was out washing cars when needed.”

Brandi adds, “Meegan and I worked together for many years, and when I ended up transferring over from the Lexus store to the Audi store, I had the opportunity to train Meegan to replace me at the Lexus store as a service advisor.”

This mentoring spirit is something they both practice, and not just with each other. In a business historically dominated by men, both Brandi and Meegan recognize the importance of helping other women—and not simply as a feminist flag-waving gesture. Having a strong mix of men and women within a dealership is actually better for the business, particularly when it comes to engaging customers.

Brandi says, “One thing that I think powerful women in the car industry are really good at is adapting. We can adapt our personalities. We can get along with the people that drive the $200,000 cars, but then we can get along with those people that can’t afford to service their car. We have empathy. We can sympathize with them. We can talk about a guy’s wife, and tell him what to get her for an anniversary present, or we can talk to the woman venting to us about a relationship. I would say it’s about building the relationships and how we communicate with people and the ability to multi-task and follow up and follow through. And I’m not saying that guys don’t do that well, but I think that we tend to do it in a powerful, positive manner.”

Meegan agrees, noting how the industry continues to evolve—for the better. When she first started in the business nearly two decades ago, she remembers attending training where she was the only woman in a room with 100 guys. But the demographic breakdown has definitely shifted, something Meegan witnessed firsthand at a recent parts and service managers’ meeting in Arizona.

“There were thousands of people there, and I would have to say almost 20 percent of them were female,” Meegan explains. “That consists of parts managers, service managers, and also general managers. It was great to see.”

Brandi and Meegan concede that it hasn’t always been easy being trailblazers. Brandi recalls during the old days that some male customers would refuse to talk to her because they assumed she didn’t know what she was talking about. “That would just get under my skin,” she says, “because I could take them out to the car, show them what was wrong with the car, and point out the problem, if not better, then the same as any guy out there.”

She says she still encounters skeptics, but the difference now is that more people are open to hearing her out. She explains, “You’ll get a phone call where they say, ‘Okay, I need to talk to one of the guys in service.’ And I’ll say, ‘Well, I’m one of the guys in service. What are you experiencing?’ And it’s, ‘I’m experiencing this, this, this, and this.’ And I’m like, ‘Well, it sounds like you may need X, Y, and Z.’ And they’re like, ‘Oh. You do know what you’re talking about.’ And that’s what makes it fun. You get that adrenaline rush like, ‘Yeah, I won that one.'”

Meegan echoes Brandi’s sentiments: “You kind of have to just grow thick skin over time, and basically just show the customers you know what you’re doing, you know what you’re talking about.”

After stints with other dealerships, Brandi and Meegan have since returned to the Rosenberg family. Brandi is currently the Service Manager for Prime Motor Cars in Scarborough, and Meegan is the Service Manager for Mercedes-Benz of Hanover.

The two remain close, despite the physical distance between them, as well as friendly competitors. Meegan says, “When we do get together, we try not to talk shop. But it always gets into that, because we’re extremely competitive people. Now having two stores within the same ownership…we’re trying to ask each other what the other is doing without giving up all our secrets.”

As for the future? Both have their eyes on their general manager stripes. That is, unless they decide to bring to fruition a dream they’ve had forever. Meegan explains, “Brandi and I have always joked that she and I would love to have our own store and run it together. Pretty much make the female power team, if you will, and possibly just have all females working for us and see how that went.”

In the meantime, Brandi encourages young women and men to consider the car business because she believes it’s an excellent career path. “If you’re willing to put the time, the effort, the energy into it, and learn, and grow, it can be life changing.”

Categories: People