Breaking the Barrier of Trust w/ Damon Lester

August 4, 2022
Today’s guest is an accountant turned executive turned dealer. Damon Lester leads NAMAD’s (National Association of Minority Auto Dealers) mission to increase equitable access and meaningful opportunities for minority entrepreneurs and employees across the automotive industry. Our conversation reminded us to get in the dirt and work, and that automotive encompasses everything.
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What we discuss with Damon Lester:

03:03 - Damon is unique because he both understands the “dirt and the grind” of the industry. As an accountant who has worked 20 years with NAMAD (National Association of Minority Auto Dealers), Damon has vast experience spanning the industry, and as a recent new dealership owner, he knows what it takes to make the retail side of the business thrive.

05:53 - Damon shares about the journey leading up to owning his store, Nissan of Bowie. He’s not looking at this as a quick investment opportunity. He was willing to put in the work to achieve ownership, and sees this as a track he can follow for decades. “I’ve said this a couple of times… retail automotive is the best kept industry out there. There are a variety of opportunities, whether it’s at the OEM level manufacturing, at the retail level — it encompasses everything that is ‘American’. It’s not going away.”

07:36 - Damon explains that alongside the opportunity within the industry, it’s a great way to make a difference in the communities in which dealers operate.

13:52 - When asked about what advice he’d offer to new potential dealers of minority, Damon says, “You definitely gotta come in here humble. A lot of people come in without humility or the gratitude of appreciating this opportunity. There are a finite number of people that are really blessed to have this opportunity and so, I’m grateful of being in the store and working with my folks every day and working with NAMAD as well.”

19:04 - While OEMs are publicly announcing their commitment to increase the number of minority dealer owners, Damon suggests that we can still do better. Damon also notes that those who are interested in ownership can’t cherry pick the opportunities.

Listen to the full episode for more insights and context from our conversation with Damon Lester!

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