The Jeep Mafia

The Faces of Jeep interview with Leigh Ann Lane co-founder of The Jeep Mafia

 

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Why did you choose Jeep?”

Leigh Ann: “I guess you could say the Jeep chose me. One day, on the way home from the grocery store, my husband pulled into a bank parking lot where a red JK was sitting. I asked what he was doing and he said, “you told me you wanted to look at this Jeep.” I had never seen the Jeep sitting there and had said no such thing. But I was intrigued and we called the owner and drove it. It was love at first sight! I decided the JK was too small so I went to the dealer the next day and ordered a JKU.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has owning a Jeep influenced your life?””

Leigh Ann: “It may sound cliché, but my Jeep completely changed my life. It made me feel young, free, and life became unbelievably fun. Even though that Jeep had only a small lift, I loved the power I felt when I got behind the wheel. Owning a jeep lead to creating a Twitter account, which led to a world of great friends whom I would never have met otherwise. Ultimately, the jeep influenced a dream, which resulted in the writing of a novel…something I’d never aspired to do. The Jeep social media world has become a big part of my life.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Could you tell us more about the novel you wrote? What it’s about and how one may get a copy of it?”

Leigh Ann: “My novel, Nine Million Minutes, follows the journey of Kricket Taylor as she strives to overcome shyness. And of course a Jeep is the catalyst for her journey. The novel will make you laugh, cry, and sprinkled through it is a little mystery to keep you guessing. Jeep girls seem to love it, and surprisingly to me, Jeep guys do as well! I’m thrilled that it has received such great reviews on Amazon, where it’s available in Kindle and print versions. Autographed books are available on my website leighannlane.com.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How did the Jeep Mafia begin and what was the inspiration behind it?”

Leigh Ann: “The Jeep Mafia was actually just a lark! A Twitter friend, “Jeep Boss” contacted me and asked if I wanted to be a part of something he was calling The Jeep Mafia. It wasn’t a club, it wasn’t a Twitter page, it was just a group of Jeep friends on Twitter. He picked six people and asked them to choose one other person each to be in the initial Jeep Mafia “Dirty Dozen.” I picked Troy, “Jeep Coach.” A bit later, each of the 12 was asked to select one more person, which led to the “Core 24.” The group began to grow and one day I just decided to start a Jeep Mafia Twitter page. It quickly grew in popularity, and four of the initial dirty dozen who really took an interest and made a solid effort during the launch phase became the “Founding Four.” The Founding Four are Jeep Boss (Chris Stockmar), KricketJeeper (Leigh Ann Lane), JeepCheck (Jerry Checkster), and JeepCoach (Troy Martin). We moderated the account and as it grew, we added additional moderators, reaching a total of 21.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Does the Jeep Mafia have meet and greets or host events?”

Leigh Ann: “We have hosted one event in Moab, but most of our meet-ups occur at local or large events, such as Bantam, plus many Mafia members meet up as they travel. It makes traveling that much more fun when you get to meet someone you’ve “known” for years on the Jeep Mafia social media pages.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “I see the Jeep Mafia has a koozie nation, could you tell us more about that and how it started?”

Leigh Ann: “Koozying wasn’t planned; it just happened. Troy Martin’s (JeepCoach) wife ordered some koozies for the moderators. At the time we had business cards to leave on Jeeps, so one day on a whim, Jerry Checkster (JeepCheck) stuck a koozie on a Jeep windshield. It was funny because he told us in our Moderator group DM that he was waiting for the owner to come out and find it. He’s really not a creeper. Lol. Anyway, she came out, took it off the windshield and got in her Jeep. Then she got back out, put it back on the windshield and took a selfie. That made us realize how much fun it could be making people’s day with our Koozies. At first only the moderators had koozies, but it caught on so we started selling them so everyone could join in. We go through about 1500 koozies a month. We named our Facebook page “Jeep Mafia Koozie Nation” because people who were koozied kept finding the wrong Jeep Mafia Facebook group. Joseph Pallotta was the brainchild of the term “Koozie Nation.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are the future goals for the Jeep Mafia?”

Leigh Ann: “We really have no set goals. We never have. We just keep doing what we’ve always done because it works. If we have an idea, we discuss it as a group and either move forward with it or toss it. Some ideas work, some bomb, but we laugh about it regardless. We have a great Moderator team who is committed to keeping it fun and positive for all Jeepers, and a large group of Jeepers who make it fun for us.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Thank you Leigh Ann for sharing your Jeep Mafia journey with us. You have a fabulous team on Moderators and we enjoy watching the Jeep Mafia community grow. It’s had a positive influence on the jeeping community and our hats off to you all for a job well done. Keep up the great job guys!”

Photo from Leigh Ann Lane, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers by Leigh Ann Lane

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