Strong Words for Strong Women from Lisa Schomp
It’s no surprise to anyone who knows Lisa Schomp – groundbreaking female auto dealer who led Schomp to a top place in the Denver auto market, and mother of our current CEO, Aaron Wallace – that she has strong opinions, especially about being a woman in a largely male-dominated industry. She spoke recently to a gathering of Schomp Automotive’s female employees during an after hour mixer and gave them some food for thought.
Lisa began her career working for her father, Ralph Schomp, when she was in her early 20s. As the “coffee cart girl,” her job was to welcome customers and make them feel at home. It was several years before she made it to her own executive office.
“Remember where we were and how far we have come. Look at history and realize all the advantages that we do have. We are no longer chattel or just in charge of making dinner,” she said.
On the other hand, “Why are we looking at their [men’s] failures and abuses when we should be learning from their successes. Man has accomplished a great deal over time and we, as women, can learn from what they have done. We can take their successes to the next level and build upon them.”
There’s no reason that women shouldn’t find success in the auto industry, she said. “This industry is not a “Magical Man” job. It’s a “Magical Person” job. It’s a “Doing” job, so get to work. We need to put ourselves on a level playing ground with men and the way to do that is with our minds. Stay inquisitive and always be looking for new opportunities to learn. Keep on working hard, keep on asking questions…they will never be mad at you for asking too many questions. They will remember the mistakes you made by not asking in the first place.”
In Lisa’s mind, being a woman in the industry could be an advantage because,
“We make up 96 percent of the buying power out there, so we need to exercise our power…As women we are more caring and that is okay to be different. We just need to acknowledge our differences and move on. Don’t use them as an excuse or a crutch.”
She cautioned against what she sees as a negative female trait. “Society has conditioned us to be catty to each other and that is the last thing we, as women, need. We are our own worst critics. We have been taught to tear each other down. We need to lift each other up and be allies…Be aware of each other. Be kind to each other. Use your compassionate nature and let all your strengths as a woman shine through.”
While no longer a day-to-day presence with Schomp Automotive, Lisa Schomp’s presence lives here and her philosophy – adapted from her father’s and grandfather’s – still guides the way we do business and contributes to our success.