Seasoned used car industry leader Ejola Cook steps in to revitalize Florida Independent Dealers Association
May 25, 2022 9:00 a.m. EDT
ORLANDO, Fla., May 25, 2022 (Newswire.com) –
The Florida Independent Automobile Dealers Association (FIADA) Board of Directors has announced the appointment of Ejola Cook as Executive Director.
Cook, a lawyer and former chief executive of Off Lease Only, one of the country’s largest independent retailers, as well as a former FIADA board member, replaces Lisette Mariner, who stepped down on January 1, 2022. .
Jason March, president of FIADA, said the board’s search committee had spent three months researching and interviewing candidates and was fully confident of recommending Cook for the job. She got the support of the whole board.
“Ejola will be a tremendous asset to our association. Her previous roles as Vice President and General Counsel for Off Lease Only will bring great value to independent dealerships in Florida as we face new challenges,” March said. . “She has over 17 years of experience in the independent automotive retail industry. She understands all facets of dealership operations and the role our association plays in assisting dealerships in their business.”
Cook said she realizes the importance of strong leadership for independent dealerships in the state, especially during this time of rapid change and challenges facing independent dealerships now and in the near term.
“We’ve seen how quickly the rights of dealers as commercial operators can evaporate in recent years,” Cook said, “and we need to make sure state and local lawmakers understand that we will protect those rights. We need to be sure they understand the value of the services we provide.”
She added that the association should and must play a key role in adding value to its members and the industry as a whole in Florida.
“We need to focus on the basics like growing membership,” Cook said, “but we also need to help connect our members with providers who can provide vital services like financing, insurance plans floor, capital, technology, as well as accounting and legal services.
March said providing the multitude of services that FIADA members rely on and being a source of accurate and timely information is vital, but without members to serve there is no point.
“We need to make sure that the rights of the independent dealer aren’t as easily swept away as they were during the pandemic,” March said. “As important as industry education and training is to our members, we will be intensifying our focus on lobbying, legal efforts and developing close relationships with those who oversee our industry.”
Ejola Cook is the founder of E Cook Consulting, a trade association consultancy, and will bring in her staff members Ashley Eggers and Elizabeth O’Malley to assist with her and the day-to-day operations of FIADA.
“Ejola is no stranger to going up against large and powerful entities,” March said. “She is an excellent negotiator and has proven throughout her career that she can reach mutually beneficial compromises.”
Initially, Cook, under the direction of the Board, will streamline the operations of the association and maximize the efficiency of existing resources available to FIADA members.
Cook said his years of working closely with dealers and his time on the FIADA board of directors give him a unique perspective on the needs, both short and long term, of the independent Florida retailer.
“Retailers face many challenges – legal, regulatory, economic – and our job is to ensure a strong and sustainable future for our members.”
Source: Florida Independent Automobile Dealers Association (FIADA)