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Spotlight:The Dedicated Women of Shawnee Mission Ford

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The Dedicated Women of Shawnee Mission Ford


by cindy mcdermott |  photographs by lauren frisch pusateri


No matter how much the internet is changing the way consumers purchase goods and services, the auto industry will always be a people business. Buyers want to see and experience the vehicle they’re considering, and they value the input knowledgeable salespeople share with them. At local dealerships such as Shawnee Mission Ford, owner Brad Shull sees repeat customers on a continual basis.


“If they enjoy their experience with you, customers will come back year after year. In fact, some customers turn out to be your friends,” noted Brad. “But the auto industry has changed over the years and moved from being one that’s heavily male dominated. We see many women having a big say in the vehicle purchases for their families or they’re buying a car on their own. Given that, Shawnee Mission Ford has changed, too. Our culture has changed because the world has changed.”


A Woman’s Touch

To meet the demands of Brad’s customers, Shawnee Mission Ford has transformed the makeup of its workforce and now boasts more than a quarter who are women. “At Shawnee Mission Ford, our female employees have excelled and, in many cases, outperformed their male counterparts,” shared Brad. “We see the importance of women in the marketplace and our industry. We find that our female employees are valued by our customers for their trustworthiness, empathy, patience and passion to meet the needs of our customers.”


Valerie Lascon: Calm and Efficient

Valerie Lascon, office assistant in the collision center, points with pride to her role as a customer liaison. While keeping the paperwork moving is a key facet of her job, she’s also focused on updating customers and following up with them to ensure they’re happy with the outcome. “As a female, I can stay composed under pressure. In fact, we are the calm in the storm when everyone else can be crazy,” she laughed. “I believe women can better relate to the customers and can be more understanding and sensitive to their needs. At Shawnee Mission Ford, I enjoy the work environment, my co-workers and my customers.”


“Our collision center is one of the largest in the Kansas City area, and not every franchise dealer has a collision center,” noted Brad. “In addition, we’re involved with direct repair for more than a dozen major insurance companies. Valerie is incredibly busy with that workload.”


Keesha Mason: Experienced Multi-Tasker

With nearly a dozen years at Shawnee Mission Ford, Keesha Mason has a long and stellar background in the car industry, beginning as a cashier a week after college. She has steadily climbed the career ladder and now oversees the dealership’s service department, an incredibly demanding, yet fulfilling role.


“I’m multi-tasking throughout the day and managing relationships between employees and customers and the dealership,” commented Keesha. “If the customer is having a problem, then I try to help them manage through that issue with compassion and concern. But I will do my best to find a way to make the customer happy. We’re a family-owned and -operated business, and I want my customers to feel like they’re a part of that family.”



Rachel Ashford: Team Player

Working for Keesha is 14-year-employee Rachel Ashford, service advisor. Rachel loves the high pace of activity and interaction in her department, and every day brings something different. As a female employee, she values the team spirit at Shawnee Mission Ford and finds that her ability to relate to others is incredibly important to her success, especially “with the guys in the shop.”


“Over the years, I’ve built a good relationship with the mechanics,” she noted. “If I need help, they’ll help me. We work together as a team to meet the needs of the customer.”


Bea Wells: Long-Time Pioneer in Her Field

For Bea Wells, sales representative in the pre-owned department, it’s been an almost three-decade career in building good relationships. Bea was one of two women hired into the sales force for Shawnee Mission Ford.


“I saw a newspaper ad, applied for the job and was one of six people to be hired. Now, I’m the only one left of that original group from nearly 29 years ago,” she recalled. “I paved the way for women because when I started there were no female salespeople. Given that so many of my customers are women, I feel we have this natural relationship and bond. It’s so enjoyable to help a customer, especially when they roll out of here in a car they really like.”


All of these females are very successful in the jobs they do at Shawnee Mission Ford. As the auto industry continues to change, more and more women will end up on the showroom floor or in the service departments. Their value to the auto industry will be recognized not only by local dealerships such as Shawnee Mission Ford, but regionally by the manufacturers and nationally in the corporate offices as lead team members and even CEOs. HLM


Visit Shawnee Mission Ford’s website at or the showroom at 11501 West Shawnee Mission Parkway, Shawnee, Kansas.