In October 2016, Shenay Taylor decided to make a career move and join the sales team at the Orr Kia dealership in Shreveport. She served on the Shreveport Police Department for 14 years before being injured on the job after someone crashed into her squad car while texting and driving.

In the midst of her recovery process, she remembered an encounter with a woman she picked up on the side of the road.

“A call came in saying a woman was broken down, so I went to pick her up. I drove her to the Orr Kia dealership and before she got out of my car she suggested that if I ever decided to leave the force, I should sell cars,” Taylor said. “She told me that I could serve people just as much selling cars as I could on the force — it was just a different kind of service.”

Since joining the sales team at Orr Kia, Taylor has consistently been the top saleslady.

“This is definitely a challenging environment. Much like on the force, you have to prove you’re capable of working in a male-dominated environment,” Taylor said.

At the beginning of 2017, another saleswoman joined the team at Orr Kia. Simone Simpkins came into the Orr Kia offices originally intending to apply for a receptionist position. She left the offices on day one with her sights set on being a saleswoman instead.

“At first I wasn’t sure I would be able to do this,” Simpkins said. “Shenay helped me out and taught me a lot at the beginning, and now I’ve been here for over a year. I know I can do this job.”

When Simpkins first started in sales, she kept a phone book at her desk and would work her way through the book in an effort to drum up sales. Taylor taught her how to line up appointments and get her foot in the door with potential clients. At the beginning, they split commission on a few deals as Taylor helped Simpkins get her footing.

Taylor and Simpkins are a testament to women working together to advance in the workplace. They stick together when slow times of the year hit and provide encouragement for each other when needed. Simpkins credits much of her success in her first year to the support provided by Taylor.

“I’ve now branched out on my own, but I’m thankful for all the help she gave me when I started,” Simpkins said.

One of the biggest challenges that Taylor and Simpkins work to overcome in their eld is the mindset that women know less about cars than men do.

“In my experience, someone is more likely to buy a car from a less experienced man than an experienced woman just because they believe that men know more than women do about cars,” Taylor said.

The only way to counteract and prove this assumption wrong, Taylor said, is to study and know your product.

“Information is always changing and your knowledge of the product — of the cars — has to change as every little modi cation is made. You have to prove you know what you’re talking about,” Taylor said.