'I am a People Person'

Michelle Desrochers scans documents, and warms hearts, at Findlay Toyota
by Dan Miller
Nov/Dec 2019
'I am a People Person'
Team Desrochers 
Michelle Desrochers owes much of her success to the unconditional love and support of her mother Barbara.
Selling and servicing cars can be a tough business, especially when you’re a large dealership like Findlay Toyota. But the Henderson, Nevada, store has a surefire strategy to diffuse the tension.
“We have about 60 salespeople,” says General Manager John Barr. “She goes around and high-fives all of them. She comes through the doors happy and excited and really gets everyone’s energy going.”
Who is this magical “she?” That would be Michelle Desrochers.

Phone Flair
Michelle Desrochers describes herself as a “people person,” whether she’s interacting face-to-face or over on the phone. “She brings out the best in people,” says her manager, Gay Otey.

Officially, she is an assistant in Findlay Toyota’s Business Development Center who collects contracts and other documents throughout the store and scans them into a database.
Unofficially? She is the dealership’s emotional core.
Super Achiever
Her mother Barbara knew just how special Michelle was from the day she was born with Down syndrome, a genetic abnormality which can result in an intellectual and developmental disability (IDD). Since then, she’s seen her daughter achieve great things, such as:
  • Graduating from Coronado High School in Henderson with a 4.0 grade point average;
  • Attending Nevada State College on scholarship, where she completed the highest level offered in American Sign Language (in Michelle’s formative years, ASL was her first language);
  • Training staff at Opportunity Village, a Las Vegas nonprofit, in ASL — in the event a nonverbal client was facing a life-threatening situation;
  • And serving as a performance interpreter on stage with such musical acts as Garth Brooks, The Jersey Boys, Matt Goss, Véronic DiCaire and the Australian Bee Gees.
A little over a year ago, Michelle’s path intersected with that of Tyler Corder, chief financial officer of the Findlay Automotive Group. Both were on the set of a local television station to shoot a segment promoting Best Buddies, a nonprofit that works to foster one-on-one friendships between people in the community and those with IDD. When Corder learned that Michelle was looking for a job, he introduced her to Barr.

Productivity Plus 
As an assistant in Findlay Toyota’s BDC, Desrochers collects and scans key documents into various databases.

Customer Relations
Michelle took it from there, setting up shop at a desk near the showroom’s coffee bar.
“I am very talkative,” she says. “I love people. I am a people person. I am funny. I am bubbly. I am happy."
“She talks with every customer who comes in,” adds Gay Otey, the BDC customer relations manager and Michelle’s supervisor. “She’s always in a good mood. It’s almost impossible to talk with her and not be in a good mood yourself. She brings out the best in people.”
She’s also productive. Otey says whenever she gives Michelle a task, “she works until it’s finished.”

Her Work Family
Desrochers collaborates with General Manager John Barr and BDC Customer Relations Manager Gay Otey. “I see myself working here forever and ever and ever!” she says.

And Barr will tell you she’s a very effective salesperson. Recently, Michelle set her sights on raising money for Best Buddies by selling T-shirts. With the support of the dealership as well as her family and friends, she collected $40,000. That far outpaced others in the state, earning her the title of Best Buddies Champion of the Year in Nevada.
Yet for all she has given back to Findlay Toyota and her community, no one is more grateful than Michelle.
“Working at a job like this is different for me, but I love it,” she says. “I feel part of the Findlay family and I love them. I see myself working here forever and ever and ever!”
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