Leading women in carwashing: Liseth Zeledon

Leading women in carwashing: Liseth Zeledon

Liseth Zeledon is the site manager – Miramar for El Car Wash.

This month let’s meet Liseth Zeledon. 

MP | How did you get your start and how long have you been in the carwash industry? 

LZ | After being an entrepreneur all my life in the food services, I started in the carwash industry in 2020 right in the middle of the pandemic and after a divorce. I started at “El” as a sales adviser and fell in love with the industry and eventually worked my way up at “El” in June 2021. They gave me the opportunity to manage a store at the newest location that they were opening at Okeechobee Rd., Miami, and in January 2023 they gave me another big opportunity to lead another new opening at Miramar, which is where I’m at now. 

MP | What is the most important lesson you have learned while working in the carwash industry?

LZ | That it’s an amazing industry. I learned how important the service we provide for customers is and how they enjoy having their cars cleaned. Being part of that experience and being able to make it the most extraordinary possible has been an amazing journey for me. Being able to see the growth of “El” where I worked these two years makes me realize that it’s definitely a promising industry and, of course, I love to be part of it. 

MP | What advice do you have for women getting into the carwash industry today?  

LZ | This is a big industry that — if you are open to learn and be open-minded — there is no limit to achieving your dreams. And, of course, the whole idea is to let all women know that there is a place for them and they are needed in the industry. Don’t fear an industry in which the majority is men. Don’t be intimidated; instead, grab every opportunity that comes your way. Never let your gender rule your possibilities, believe in yourself, dream big and enjoy every step of the process. 

MP | What are some challenges you have overcome as a woman in the carwash industry that you would like to share with other women to help them to overcome similar challenges? 

LZ | Some of the challenges will be, for example, earning respect and a place in the industry as a women. Any leadership position will require commitment, love and passion for what you do, and this industry is not different. Respect from colleagues and employees will have to be earned by leading as the example and integrity will be always the best option, continually being open to learn and grow from all experiences will make the difference. 

MP | What aspect of the carwash industry is most exciting/rewarding to you?  

LZ | That it is a double win. I enjoy serving our customers, seeing them happy and satisfied with their clean cars driving out of our property and coming back continuously, as well as being able to be part of the process of your team growing and sharing with others, as a team in general, the passion and possibilities that this industry offers. I also enjoy helping our team members achieve their own career goals — training them and seeing them fulfill their own dreams and their development in the industry — that is a double rewarding experience. 

MP | What three character traits are most important in your opinion for a woman starting out her career in carwashing? 

LZ | First, never forget that the way you treat others is a reference card, which will make a huge impact on your team, and any good leader will need a solid and strong team to work along. Second, quality in your service and customer service is the key in this industry — make them fall in love with the service and keep coming back. Finally, add your touch in every detail to make sure your customer has the best experience when they leave your property, and the employees will love to come to work in an atmosphere that lets them flourish.

MP | What would you have done differently starting out in the carwash industry if you could go back to the beginning? Or, would you not change a thing? 

LZ | Nothing, to be honest. I think everything is part of the growing and learning process and every single part has shaped me into who I am now and keep my development continuously growing. 

MP |  Did you have a role model or a mentor in this industry? If so, who and how did he or she inspire you? 

LZ | Of course, I have many role models. Our company’s vice presidents, Jereme Tarr and Rafael Trenard, who believed in me from the beginning and gave me the opportunity to run my first store, which taught me we all need that someone to give us a push and support. Also, our regional manager Daniel Martinez, who has been working with me almost two years. I can say that their leadership and passion in the industry has influenced my life in such a way that it has marked a before and after in my career. Daniel’s patience, love and passion to share his knowledge with others, guide them through their goals and dedication to develop leaders makes me want to follow his steps. 

Melissa Pirkey is the CEO/president of Melissa Pirkey Insurance, dba Car Wash Insurance Agency. If you are interested in sharing your story in an upcoming issue, please contact her at 214-998-8960 or [email protected] or email PC&D’s Rich DiPaolo at [email protected].

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