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Commentary: Tear The Cover Off The Book

In early 2020, Peter Roberts was looking for a service manager for Double R Performance, the full-service Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats dealership he owns with his brother, Raymond, in Ontario, Canada. And then in walked Lisa Lipka, a lanky 23-year-old who’d been rigging for Ontario-based Legend Boats, which offers an array of aluminum models.

As the service manager for Double R Performance, Lisa Proud shattered preconceptions.

“When you think of a service manager, you tend to picture a middle-age dude with a big gut, but this tall blonde woman shows up and tells me she’s here to apply for the job,” Roberts recalled, then chuckled softly. “I said, ‘OK,’ and she told me her story. She seemed organized so we decided to give her a try. And boy, did she ever do a good job. Her paperwork was tight. Her communication with our customers was great.”

She started with Double R in June that year. At first, Roberts was nervous that some of the dealership’s more-ego-driven, alpha-male customers wouldn’t treat Lipka with respect. He needn’t have worried.

“I was a little bit concerned that with her age and the personality of some of our clients that they might try to ‘Bigfoot’ her,” Roberts said. “I told her I would step in if she ever needed me to.

“I never needed to,” he continued. “I saw a few customers try that a couple of times and she just wasn’t having it. She was impressive.”

Short version? Lipka tore the cover off the powerboat dealership service-manager book. She didn’t look the part and it didn’t matter. She commanded respect because she was competent and confident enough to make her age and gender irrelevant.

The truth is, they never mattered in the first place.

The following year she married Jordan Proud and she became Lisa Proud. The two had known each other since they were teenagers. Life was good.

Last month, they were driving home from a camping trip when a driver coming from the opposite direction crossed the center line. The ensuing collision took Lisa Proud’s life and left her husband seriously injured.

She was 26 years old.

“Lisa had such a good work-life balance,” Roberts said. “She’d go home from the shop, she lived about 30 minutes from here and we work long hours, and then make dinner for Jordan. Then she’d go out for a run.

“It just really, really sucks,” he added. “But we were so proud of her. She was amazing.”

Don’t be afraid to tear the cover off the book.

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