Meaningful connection is essential to incoming Board President. It's the foundation of life.
By Mark Thomas
On September 1st, 2016, Danny Zaslavsky officially becomes Board President of the Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
Danny is the marketing guru behind the successful used car dealership Country Hill Motors. His company is a founding member of the Chamber. Started in 1983, Country Hill began with a single small lot. Today, this family business has two substantial dealerships and approximately 70 employees.
Zaslavsky started working for his father and uncle at the lot when he was 14, washing cars. While in college at the University of Kansas (and majoring in Human Biology), he started thinking about what he could do for the dealership.
"I really thought if we had some marketing we could do really well. I made a deal with dad for a bonus if it worked. He wouldn't have to pay me if it didn't. That's where I got my real niche in the business."
Many people recognize the distinctive "wave" of co-owner Josh Buterin in Country Hill Motors advertising. The original idea was to allow Country Hill cars to stand out in Auto Trader magazine. The iconic wave is now so associated with the business that customers enjoy recreating it after they purchase a vehicle. Danny was the original man behind the camera.
Country Hill focuses on a large inventory of vehicles in the $4,000 to $12,000 range. Even with an approach that caters to a more modest budget, Zaslavsky says the company takes a long term approach.
"We have a commitment to being excellent. What matters to me is how we can provide the best service possible." Often there are featured unique vehicles on display (such as a pristine vintage Volkswagen 'Bug'). "We take a lot of pride in picking really cool inventory".
Danny speaks as enthusiastically about the Mid-America GLCC as he does about his business. "When I was asked to join, five years ago, I frankly didn't know what a Chamber of Commerce really did! But, I've always believed in mentorship." He quickly realized that, "This isn't you ordinary Chamber. There's genuine connection that happens."
Zaslavsky found his initial niche on the Board fostering the Masterminds Program. He sees the program as a valuable tool for both individual business and the organization as a whole. As incoming President, a key focus will be on diversity. "This is an opportunity, not a challenge," he notes. "If you have all of the same people in the same room that think the same and act the same you're going to plateau very quickly. If you have a diverse group of people, then that group will echo that. I don't want the same ideas."
"A board president has to have a very unique set of skills. I need to recognize talent and bring people together in ways that empower them personally and for the Chamber. The title of President is a little intimidating to me personally. I am most excited about watching all this work together. We have an incredible group of people. Being able to listen and bring their ideas together is what I feel my job is about."
For recreation, Zaslavsky loves to spend time on the water on his ski boat. He also says he recently "really got into cooking!" He is the parent of twins, and importantly says, "I'm a father first.