By Melissa Gautier
Barbara Jackson has been a powerhouse of energy and leadership in the automotive industry since 1985. What started as a job selling advertising to car dealerships has remarkably grown into ownership of multiple Toyota dealerships in Texas, Oregon, and the state of Washington. A believer with a strong faith at the core of her life, Barbara is proof she can do all things with the Lord as her guide. She’s on a mission of service to others, uniting her community, supporting charities, and uplifting spirits along the way.
“It’s been an incredible journey,” Barbara says. Raised in Oregon, her career began in 1985 with advertising sales to car dealerships, eventually leading to an opportunity in automotive sales at a dealership. “I was the first woman to start selling cars in south Oregon,” she says. By 1998, she was married to Steve Jackson, who had been in the auto industry most of his life, too. Together, they purchased and managed a Pontiac GMC dealership in California. Years later, an unexpected opportunity presented itself with an offer to purchase a Toyota dealership near Dallas, Texas. They decided to go for it and headed to the Lone Star State along with their four children, Chelsea, Dustan, Steven, and Jasmine.
All in the Family
The Jackson family completely immersed themselves in the Toyota brand, watching and learning how they’re designed and manufactured. Currently, the Jacksons have nine manufacturers they represent.
“This truly is a family business,” Barbara says. She and her husband own eight dealership franchises, two in Texas, five in Oregon, and one in Washington. “My daughter, Chelsea, was answering phones at our first dealership when she was 14 years old.” Today she is the mother of four beautiful girls while her husband, Jacob, is the general manager.
Their son Steven helps run daily operations at Albany Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram & Hyundai dealerships in Albany, Oregon. Their son Dustan is the GM at Toyota of Corvallis and Subaru of Corvallis, Oregon. Barbara and Steve acquired Toyota of Corvallis in 2013 and have been able to build it into the world’s first net-zero impact facility with a cistern water collection system, geothermal heating and cooling, and a solar array that provides enough power to pump green energy back into the community.
Barbara and Steve’s youngest daughter, Jasmine, is also a mother of four beautiful daughters. Her husband Christian is the controller at Toyota of Rockwall. The dealership’s Toyota of Rockwall team is proud to be the first LEED Gold-Certified Automobile Dealership in the world as awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. As the vice president of Jackson Automotive Group, Barbara manages all community relations for Toyota of Rockwall. Her energy and enthusiasm is contagious, setting an example for others to follow in her path of service and compassion.
Her Mission of Service
“We support numerous charities and have had a fantastic response from our community,” Barbara says. “We appreciate our four surrounding school districts and enjoy shining a light on the accomplishments of outstanding teachers.”
Each year, Toyota of Rockwall celebrates local educators’ victories by awarding Teacher of the Year winners in Wylie, Forney, Royse City, and Rockwall ISDs with a Toyota Camry or Corolla to drive for a six-month period. While Toyota of Rockwall picks up all maintenance and fuel costs for all eight cars, each Teacher of the Year winner in the districts’ elementary and secondary schools has the privilege of driving their complimentary car sporting a custom wrap design emblazoned with their newly-awarded title. “It’s one of the most exciting and rewarding things we do each year!” Barbara shares.
To accomplish Toyota of Rockwall’s continued mission of charity last year during the pandemic, Barbara planned for their dealership to partner with the Salvation Army. Working together, they would distribute donated food and personal items to those desperately in need. Their goal was to feed entire families for one week. Barbara and her team worked tirelessly promoting the event, collecting food and toiletries, and packing and loading donated items into boxes. Together with the Salvation Army, Toyota of Rockwall became the food distribution location for those families in need during the pandemic.
Pack the Pantry has always been an annual community project Toyota of Rockwall has sponsored. Renamed the Toyota I-30 Classic — a donation challenge between Rockwall ISD and Rockwall Heath ISD high schools — the school with the most pounds of collected food wins. As an added incentive, Toyota of Rockwall gives the winning school money that goes directly into the Student Council campus budget. A record-breaking 35,910 pounds of food was collected this year, positively impacting less fortunate families in the area. “It’s the largest donation of food to date for Helping Hands,” she says.
Toyota of Rockwall also gives matching grants to various community charities. Rockwall First is a dealership employee program developed to allow employees to volunteer for charities during work hours without being docked pay. Matching grants have been awarded to Meals on Wheels, One Man’s Treasure, Helping Hands, Child Advocacy, and Lone Star CASA.
“I’ve learned a lot as a leader through the years,” Barbara says. “Finding people’s strengths and matching them with a job they will excel in and enjoy is so important for self-esteem and company morale.” She admits the true secret to her success is summed up in a John Maxwell quote: “Once we know our worth, there is nothing that can stop us.” Firmly believing it is better to give than to receive, Barbara’s noble actions are an example to her team and the Rockwall community. “I have a great job,” she says. “It is so much fun to walk in what God has prepared for us. He gives us passion and soft spots within our hearts to impact others in a powerful way. I have the awesome opportunity to honor Him not only in my job, but in my life.”
Toyota of Rockwall
1250 East I-30
Rockwall, Texas 75087