Shakia McDavid, the oldest sister of four brothers, describes herself as a leader. She explains that her leadership qualities come from her role as an older sister. And she credits the leadership qualities she developed with them for creating a path to running her own family car sales business.
She says she refers to her brothers as her “kids.” When asked why, she chuckles and responds, “Because I do everything for them.” What does that everything include?
McDavid says anything that her entrepreneurial parents could not do, she did, whether that was running the house or making sure that her brothers made it to all of their activities. She was second in command, and that mentality is what drives her now.
McDavid credits her parents for her entrepreneurial skills. “I grew up with both parents in the home, and I got to see a lot of early mornings and late nights.” Her parents’ lifestyle taught her early on formidable skills in delegation and time management, skills she uses to be an effective leader. As a result, a strong work ethic and creativity came very naturally to her.
The Minnesota native credits the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists as one of the main places that allowed her creativity to shine through. Pink hair, piercings and bright colors were all allowed at this high school. Though she didn’t color her own hair pink, she said, “I believe that all should have the freedom to express themselves in whatever format that they choose.”
She attended Columbia College in Chicago. During her junior year, she remembers times getting really tough. She called her dad and told him that she was really in need of money. After a few discussions back and forth, her dad encouraged her to start selling cars as a way to earn cash.
This was the one of the first opportunities McDavid had to put her leadership skills, combined with the creativity skills she had cultivated, to the test. She describes how she would purchase cars off Craigslist and, with the help of her father, they would fix them up and sell them. Her dad encouraged her to get her dealer’s license, and what started as business-to-business car sales transaction later became a business-to-consumer transaction.
McDavid completed her bachelor’s degree. What she liked most about Columbia was that she had a lot of adjunct professors who currently worked in the fields in which they were teaching. “This gave me a lot of confidence in what they were saying, because their advice was real time.” At Columbia she also sat on the board for the Urban Music Association and participated in the Black Student Union.
The car sales that started as a way to earn cash have now become a full family business. McDavid now owns the Belt Line Remarketing dealership that her father helps her run. She says that she is very happy to have something her family can be a part of.
Asked what has carried her through life that could benefit others, McDavid quoted one of her favorite Dr. Seuss books: “You have brains in your head, you have shoes on your feet. Your mountain is waiting so get on your way.”
Julia Johnson welcomes reader responses JJohnson@spokesman-recorder.