MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT | Ed Fitzpatrick
Focus on Forward ~ A New Era
After serving as TLMODA’s founding president, it’s exciting to once again be in a position to direct and lead the organization as we move into the future, continuing to support and develop the growth and success of ethnically diverse Toyota and Lexus dealers. What a difference seventeen years makes! When the Toyota Lexus Minority Owners Dealers Association (originally the Toyota/Lexus Minority Dealers Association) originated in 2001, we were a fledgling organization with the goal of bringing people together for a common cause to provide benefit and value to all of us—not just to grow amongst ourselves, but to bring in young dealers and provide them the opportunity we had.
Today, with Toyota’s tremendous success in meeting their commitment to add four to six ethnically diverse dealers each year for the past sixteen years, TLMODA has a substantially larger membership than it did when we began. Thanks to their dedication to growing an ethnically diverse body of dealers, TLMODA’s ability to shape the future grows along with our numbers.
Additionally, we now have Robert Hatchett as the executive director of the organization and Eleanor Beasley as a consultant. With their initiative, hard work, and dedication, the organization has a solid foundation on which to grow. So for me, returning as the president is like déjà vu, but with the benefit of an excellent staff to help me, which wasn’t available to me before. We also have a brand-new board of directors, all of whom bring something valuable and unique to the table. There has never been a better time to be a part of TLMODA.
One of the goals of TLMODA’s five-year strategic plan is to increase the membership of minority dealers by 15 percent per year, with a projected membership of 75 percent of Toyota/Lexus Minority Dealers as members by 2021. Last year, saw an increase of 5 percent with limited outreach activities. The focus of my presidency will be on continuing to grow a dynamic, active membership that will move the organization forward. This includes reaching out to potential members to inform them of the benefits of membership and encourage them to attend meetings to experience firsthand the power of TLMODA, as well as urge current members to get more involved. I also believe providing value to member participation is key to our growth. I will be sending out a letter detailing my plans in the near future, so stay tuned.
In the meantime, our Membership Engagement Committee has been doing a great job of invigorating our inactive dealers and growing our membership, from inviting inactive dealers to the Fireside Chat with Toyota executives earlier this year to notifying dealers of upcoming events. However, I urge every one of you to get involved, as well as to invite potential dealer members you know personally to join this organization and take advantage of all it has to offer.
I look forward to a year of growth, activity, and impact, as we gain strength in numbers.