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Last Update: Thursday July 29, 2021

Key Idea: Prepare Yourself

Pamela Rodgers knew that selling herself meant she had to be as smart about people as she was about the business. More...

Key Question:


Part of Pamela's preparation for her current success was the cultivation of a mentor. She credits him with creating breakthrough opportunities. She earned the right to take action on his ideas, but it took an established man in the industry to kick a door open for a young Black woman.

Q: Successful business owners know that without the insight, advise and direction from people who took time to guide them, they would not be where they are today. I don't know any business owners who are operating strong companies who are not quick to acknowlege the help they have received. Why doesn't everyone have a mentor?

The biggest reason is we don't think that the people we admire would be willing to give us the time of day. This is so untrue. The other big reason is so many of us small business owners think there is something noble about doing everything alone. It is not noble, it is wrong-headed. Mentors can speed you on your way to all of your dreams.

Think about it

What mentor do you need? What  topics do you need to learn more about? Where can you gain more knowledge so you can become the person who can grow your business?

Clip from: Rodgers Chevrolet - Meet Pamela Rodgers!

Woodhaven, Michigan:  In a quiet suburb just south of Detroit, we go inside an American icon -- the car dealership -- to witness a "can-do" attitude in action. We meet a woman whose love affair with the car is as real and palpable as any romance going. And at this place where GM is sold, driving people to act upon that passion is her business.

Pamela Rodgers is the owner of Rodgers Chevrolet.  We learn that key to her repeat business success is service. From her originally designed, colorful waiting area featuring a speedway theme to a team of highly skilled service advisers, Rodgers Chevrolet is a company that never misfires when it comes to building long-term relationships with customers. This is a team that's as well trained in the mechanics of human dynamics as they are the electronics of today's automobile engine. Keeping that relationship running smoothly is a matter of individualized communications where customer satisfaction is not an optional service.

Pamela's story is all the more unique in that she is one of the few women in the world to own a dealership in her own right. It wasn't passed on to her by her father or a husband, and she took a failing location and turned it around.

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Rodgers Chevrolet

Pamela Rodgers, CEO

23755 Allen Road
Woodhaven, MI 48183

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1991

Prepare Yourself

HATTIE: We're surrounded by heavy metal, the machines we all can't live without, but I find in this soft-spoken woman with an MBA in Finance what must be the perfect balance for leadership.

HATTIE: What makes her unique?

DIANE LABAN: Pam is very intelligent. She can read a financial statement. (laughter) And she knows what questions to ask.

MAUREEN MONROE: She's great to work for. I'm glad she gave me the opportunity to be the Parts Manager.

RON LEWANDOWSKI: She's really good to her employees.

TERRI MAHONY: The easiest person I've ever worked for.

BEN HEER: It starts from the top, obviously, and Pam's direction and motivation – she obviously – Again, it's just Pam coming out.

DIANE: I think Pam demands excellence in a way where people want to give her the best that they have.

HATTIE: While working at Ford Corporate, Pam found out about the Minority Dealer Program. You've done your fourth application into the Minority Program, and finally they said, "Yes."

PAMELA: Finally they said, "Yes."

HATTIE: Did that have anything to do with that particular mentor writing a letter for you, or this particular location becoming available because it had --

PAMELA: Well, he played an important role, in terms of my acceptance, in terms of making sure that I met the right people, learned some of the jargon, cut through some of the, you know, political tape, if you will, at the time.

HATTIE: What do you think he saw in you?

PAMELA: I don't know what he saw, but whatever it is, thank God for it. Maybe just my willingness to work, my tenacity for work, my willingness to come early, stay late, do what it takes to get the job done. Follow-through. Discipline. So -- because I volunteered to do things. When they needed help, I'd step up and say "I'll take care of that," and was hopefully helpful to him in his business, in growing his business, that he took me by the hand. Because you're right. He didn't just look at me and say, "I want to help her." A relationship had to grow and nurture –

HATTIE: Would you say meeting him was a turning point?

PAMELA: It was a very important point. A very important point, yes.

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