Like a lot of 20-somethings, Dani Babcock has had a few jobs while she figured out what she wanted to do as a career. Her goal was law enforcement, but she found that was a longer road than she originally thought it would be. Like many her age, she has rent, student loans and other bills that require a steady paycheck. So her roommate suggested she apply at Toyota of Olympia, where she worked as well.
The rest, as they say, is history.
As soon as you drive up to the new Tumwater location’s service center, you will see Dani’s bright, cheerful face smiling at you. There are no strangers with Dani. “I love talking to people,” she says. “I have no problem sparking up a conversation with a stranger. I really love taking care of the customer, offering customer service inside the service department.”
If she seems familiar, that’s because Dani has been working at the dealership since February 2017. “I started out as a greeter in the service drive,” she says. Dani’s contagious smile makes you feel welcome immediately. It was a perfect fit. “They said, ‘All we want you to do is greet cars and make sure they have a good experience.’ It was a lot of fun.”
Dani’s positive attitude makes her an asset for Toyota – she shines no matter what department she is in. “Joe asked me to cover in the cafe for a couple months, so I learned how to make coffee,” she says. “That was fun, too.”
Dani Babcock’s Favorite Things
- Favorite Toyota model: Tacoma
- Favorite local drive: Driving down the 101 towards Hoodsport
- Favorite car-themed movie: “Vacation”
- Favorite car snack: Sunflower seeds
From there, she worked as valet manager at the new Tumwater location when it opened, where the energetic Millennial was the perfect person to welcome people to their new dealership. She also job shadowed in the business development center and with the inventory manager, giving her a well-rounded understanding of how the entire dealership works.
While searching for a career, she found Toyota to be the perfect place for her to grow. “Fred, the service manager, came to me and asked me what I wanted to do with my life and where I wanted to go,” she explains. “I told him I was thinking of being a police officer and his response was, ‘You have the exact values that we try to encompass at Toyota.’ He wanted me to stay, but I had worked hard to become a police officer so I wasn’t sure.”
When she did get a job offer from a correctional facility, it was for an on-call position only. Dani decided to talk to Joe McCorkle, general manager at Toyota of Olympia. “He is the coolest boss ever,” she says. “He is so down to earth. He has charisma, something about him, that makes him so easy to talk to. I can connect with him. Usually with bosses I am nervous. But with him, I feel comfortable enough to go and talk to him about my job and where I am headed. And he is genuinely interested in me and my life. He told me not to make a decision just based on a paycheck, but he wanted to make sure it was the right decision for me and my interests.”
Service is her favorite, so she was moved into service, where Tim Ellis jokingly calls her “the New Tim,” as he moves from service into sales.
Like many team members at Toyota, Dani looks for opportunities to go above and beyond. Recently a woman was dropped off by her husband to pick up her car from service. “I walked her to her car and I noticed she was almost in tears,” Dani shares. It turned out she had only been in the country for two years, did not drive often and didn’t know how to get home. On top of that, her car needed gas and she didn’t know how to fill it. Dani went to the manager on duty to share the situation. Dani drove the woman’s car to the gas station and showed her how to pump gas. Then, the Toyota of Olympia shuttle drove her home, while Dani followed in her car. “It was great that we were able to help her out,” she says.
Dani now knows what the other team members at Toyota already knew – this is a place that fosters aspirations and growth. “It’s super cliché, but we really are a big family here,” she says. “I have no problem asking anybody for a favor or for help. What truly makes it different from any other dealership is Joe. He is a living example of how he wants his employees to be –positive, upbeat. You never see him in a bad mood and he is ready for anything. And, that trickles down to the manager and employees. The culture is a lot different than I ever could have imagined.”
And as far as looking for another career? Well she says she no longer thinks about leaving her Toyota family.