Ellenae Fairhurst is an expert in overcoming adversity. From attending the segregated schools of the 1940s and 1950s in Dayton, Ohio, to being refused entry to another automotive titan’s retail dealer development program on the basis of her gender — after 17 years of service — she persevered and decided to trailblaze her own path of success.
After the experience at her former company, Ellenae sought more inclusive avenues to pursue her dreams. In 1992, she opened a Lexus dealership in Huntsville, Alabama — the first in a market
many industry experts at the time believed could not support a luxury automobile line.
With this move, she became the first and only African-American female owner of a Lexus or Toyota dealership at the time. Now 75, Ellenae credits Lexus for providing her access to top corporate executives who share information, value her input and help find workable solutions.