We’re excited to announce this year’s speaker line-up for the upcoming Women in Automotive Conference!
Click on the ‘View More Info‘ button to learn more about the speaker!
Dr. Suzanne Mendoza Feeney
Hyundai Motor America
Wells Fargo Dealer Services
Melissa Hansen Kann
McGrath Acura of Westmont & McGrath Acura of Downtown Chicago
Treasure Coast Lexus and Treasure Coast Toyota
Country Chevrolet-Cadillac / Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram of Plymouth, IN
Bob Ross Buick GMC & Mercedes Benz of Dayton, OH
e-Dealer Solutions and NADA Academy
Tracy Shields Jones
Tracy Shields Jones, president of Century Automotive Group, Inc., has 28 years experience in the automobile business and has led the organization to many prestigious awards including the most coveted in the automobile industry, the 2007 TIME Magazine Quality Dealer of the Year Award.
Jones graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from The University of Alabama in 1984 with accounting honors and business school honors. Upon graduation, she accepted a position with Price Waterhouse in Houston, TX and then proceeded to Peat, Marwick, Main and Company. She became a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in the states of Alabama and Texas in 1988, the same year she began working as comptroller for her father, John Shields, at Century. She became president upon his retirement.
Jones has been married to George Jones, Century’s General Manager, for 29 years. The couple resides in Huntsville, Al. and has four children ranging in age from 18 to 26. Aside from running a successful business with her husband, she cites raising her children as her greatest achievement.
After going to work for her father at Century Automotive Group, Jones and her father put together their innovative approach to the automobile business. To ensure the future of the company, they put their emphasis on employee enthusiasm, customer satisfaction and generously giving back to their community. Her dealership now has the most franchises under one roof in North Alabama, which includes BMW, Volvo, Porsche, Jaguar and Land Rover.
In addition to being chosen from more than 19,500 dealers nationwide for the 2007 TIME Magazine award, which stands for excellence and community involvement, Jones has also led her organization to many other top honors. In 1999, Century was named Small Business of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce. The Alabama Retail Association awarded the Alabama Retailer of the Year to Century in both 2002 and 2014. The list of honors continues for many of the franchises under Jones’ ownership.
Jones, a distinguished leader in her industry, is also an active member in her community. She presently serves as the Chairman for the Board of Directors for the Alabama Automobile Dealers Association (AADA). She is the only female director for the Board of Directors for Regions Bank, one of the country’s top ten banks and the largest in Alabama. Other board seats for Jones have included but not been limited to: Huntsville Chamber of Commerce, the Von Braun Center, National Children’s Advocacy Center, and the Huntsville Hospital Foundation. Jones is also the community facilitator for many local charities and is proud to be a United Way Alexis de Toqueville Member.
David & Diana Villa
David and his wife of 22 years Diana started Imperial Press Direct from their bedroom in Tampa, Florida. They went from dialing local dealers from their house, to now working with more than 600 dealerships annually. IPD is now one of the leading direct marketing firms in the U.S. servicing the automotive industry. Based out of the greater Tampa Bay area, IPD has been in business, and expanding, for 20 years.
Doug Austin is the founder and President of StrategicSource, Inc., the leading provider of Spend Management Services (strategy, spend mapping, purchasing, sourcing, process improvement and audit) for the automotive and truck dealerships, and various other vertical markets. StrategicSource, Inc. currently supports hundreds of single point, group and mega-group dealerships all over the United States and Canada with the spend management services. Doug is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, a graduate of the University of St. Thomas, and a speaker at various conferences and 20 Groups. Doug has been married to the former Peggy Englund for 37 years and have three adult children, six grandchildren and three more on the way. Doug has acquired over 30 years of line, staff and executive experience in Spend Management and Supply Chain Management in various vertical markets. Doug is also a trainer, speaker and consultant on the Spend Management, Supply Chain and Procurement disciplines.
Amy Bannor (JustAGirlSellingCars) is the GSM at Towbin Fiat in Las Vegas, NV. She brings years of management and sales experience to the team. Establishing processes, creating culture, and achieving goals will make them the #1 Fiat dealer in the nation. She has been featured in Automotive News, AutoDealer Live, “Be Less Typical” podcast, The Dealer Play Book, The Fargo Forum, and Forbes.
A nationally acclaimed speaker and lecturer, Linda utilized the Fifth Gear Sales Approach and increased sales revenue of AutoBuilders General Contracting Services by finding, meeting and understanding many of the America’s Top 125 Automotive Groups and Dealer Principals. Linda was personally responsible for “reaching the unreachable in the industry”, meeting with leaders from Sonic, Asbury, DCH, Chrysler Realty, Atlantic Automotive Group, Celebrity Motorcars, Berkshire Hathaway, Group 1, Sewell Automotive, Lehman, Garber Management, AutoNation, Lithia and many more. Her record sales earned her top performer status, with $54 million in sales in a 12-month period. “Meeting with the CEOs and Dealer Principals and directly communicating with decision makers is key to generating new business and understanding the unique culture of each store,” she says. AutoBuilders General Contracting Services completed more than 260 stores in the past 26 years.
Melanie Batenchuk is the founder and editor of Be Car Chic, which contains industry news and advice through the lens of her experience and passion for cars and writing. Melanie has worked at the dealership, trade association and manufacturer levels, gaining a deep understanding of the complexities of the auto industry. She most recently served as Vice President at Beekeeper Group, a public affairs firm based in Washington, D.C., where she provided strategic communications, PR, writing, blogger relations and social media to help clients achieve their goals. Melanie recently completed a second term as president of the Washington Automotive Press Association (WAPA), which connects automotive journalists in the Washington, D.C. area to auto industry executives, federal regulators and Administration representatives. Her distracted driving campaign (Distraction Free Fridays), launched during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in 2011, gained her recognition as a top voice in the areas of consumer advice and distracted driving. Her work has been published by Autoweek, Carfax.com, eBayMotors.com, Mashable.com, MSN Autos, Jalopnik and other Websites.
Marc S. Bland
As the Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion for IHS Automotive, Marc develops and enhances his company’s business opportunities within the growing and diverse automotive market. He also ensures that their broad suite of products and custom solutions addresses the unique marketing needs of those seeking to reach the African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Women, Military and LGBT automotive communities. Marc is a highly sought-after speaker whose thought leadership has been published in the following books: The 85% Niche: The Power of Women of All Colors – Latina, Black, and Asian by Miriam Muley; Black Is the New Green: Marketing to Affluent African Americans by Leonard E. Burnett & Andrea Hoffman; and Black Still Matters in Marketing by Pepper Miller. His work has also been featured in Advertising Age, Automotive News, Black Enterprise, Hispanic Business, The Michigan Chronicle and TargetMarketNews.com. Marc has received numerous national and global accolades for his efforts in the growing diverse market, most recently garnering the prestigious 2015 National Diversity Advocate Award from the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD).
Celeste D. Briggs
Celeste D. Briggs has been at the forefront of increasing the female presence in the GM dealer network by increasing the number of women as dealers and key managers. Established in 2011, WRN remains the only program of its type in the industry. WRN is dedicated to “Changing the Face of Automotive” Retail and increasing purchase consideration and market share among female consumers.
Jennifer Briggs, Director of Strategic Accounts, Dealer Teamwork: Jennifer is an innovative professional that has had remarkable success implementing processes and strategies in several different fields. Regardless of the scope, automotive retail sales, marketing, manufacturing, and technology companies, she has constantly pushed progress and goal achievement to the next level. Hence how she got her nickname #NextLevelBriggs.
Briggs has 15 years’ experience in Retail Management. She has received 3 National Awards for innovative digital sales, marketing, and management strategy. One of which was a spot in the Automotive News 40 Under 40 Retail Class of 2015, this is a designation of top Retail producers in Automotive under 40 years old.
She also has a strong back ground in technology and its integration capabilities to improve operational efficiency. Participating in research and development of many industry specific technologies, in both Retail Automotive and the Manufacturing space. Experienced in building SAAS models, and custom solutions to make businesses more efficient.
Briggs is a national speaker, trainer, and consultant who is a SME for Digital Marketing, BDC, Data Mining, and Sales Strategy in the Retail Automotive industry. Who aspires and is working toward owning her first dealership in the next 4 years.
And while balancing all of this Briggs also holds the prized title of Mom, raising two young men, Aiden 13 and Carter 10, who are currently eating her out of how and home! She also has the proud honor of being a member of an awesome Tribe of female friends who are constantly supporting, inspiring, and keeping each other in check.
Started in the car business in 1988 as a sales person with no car experience. After a few short weeks I knew this was my passion. Moved thru the ranks over the next 10 years in sales, finance, management and was presented with a opportunity to purchase my own store. In 1998 purchased a family owned Nissan store, relocated it and built a new store from the ground up. Realized then getting involved with our state association and having a voice for this great industry was a must. Joined the association after opening my store and few years later joined the board. Community was very important to me and giving back was forefront. I had a great store doing well and even though had been told not to buy a Nissan store I was going to prove these people wrong. It’s a people business and I had the best people. In 2009 I became the first woman president of WSADA (Washington State Auto Dealers Association) in 90 years of there existence. This was one of my greatest accomplishments to represent my fellow dealers during a time I never believed I would see in our industry. I spent the next year fighting for tougher franchise laws. I sold my Nissan store took a little time off and now am a manager of Auburn Volkswagen doing what I love, Helping others! I am married for 30 years and have 2 wonderful sons. My father always taught me if you believe in it you can accomplish it and I have been blessed to say I have accomplished it.. Never stop believing.
Evelyn, co-owner of Freedom Auto Group & General Manager, is celebrating her 36th year the automotive industry. Her story is not typical, she and her family escaped Cuba when she was three. This drives her. She is inspired to play an instrumental role in the success of the company’s “Life Improvement Business”. Evelyn & her team participate in non-profit fundraisers to support the community.
One of the most important faces in the automotive industry, Lisa is a dedicated pioneer in the field of automotive sales and brand strategy who has more than 25 years of proven success. Named among the Top 100 Women in the Automotive Industry in 2015 by Automotive News, Lisa has dedicated her career to revolutionizing the automotive industry. She served four years on the FCA National Dealer Council and was named one of the Five Most Powerful Women in Austin by The Austin Business Journal in 2012. She and her team were the first FIAT retailer to break NAFTA sales record by selling more than 100 new FIAT 500s in one month. That impressive record earned them a personal visit by FCA Chairman Sergio Marchionne.
In 2016, Lisa sold her award-winning dealership to pursue her passion for leading a team committed to transforming businesses and promote corporate civility and winning cultures. She joined the leadership team at The Culture Works as the Head of Automotive Retail Strategies.
She has keynoted at many events, including Texas Women’s Conference, Automotive Leadership Round Table, Digital Dealer, NADA and her personal favorite – the inaugural Women in Automotive Conference in 2015. With extensive knowledge of hiring, training and retaining diverse candidates, Lisa/FIAT of Austin earned recognition as the #6 Best workplace in North America by Automotive News in both 2013 and 2015; and Northwood University named Copeland an “Outstanding Business Leader 2014”.
In 2015, Copeland and FIAT of Austin earned FCA’s highest honor, the “Walter P. Chrysler” award for sales and service excellence. With passion and expertise in sales and marketing, her success story has been featured in prominent publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Marie Claire and Automotive News.
Copeland is also the co-founder of Women Impacting the Nation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing leadership roles for women. In 2012, the Girl Scouts CTX named her among their “Women of Distinction”; and as the creator of BuyingCarsHerWay.com, she is dedicated to empowering women consumers. Lisa and Rene Banglesdorf, Co-Founder of Crushing It Academy, have a book due out late summer entitled Crushing Mediocrity.
Twitter: @LisaCCopeland https://twitter.com/lisaccopeland
Linked In: LisaCopeland https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisaccopeland
Facebook: LisaCopeland https://www.facebook.com/Lisa-Copeland-175687282480593/
Instagram: LisaCCopeland https://www.instagram.com/lisaccopeland/
With over 20 years of diverse corporate experience, including 13 years of revving up the automotive industry with innovative business and marketing ideas, Kimberly Cowan calls AutoAlert home. Serving as VP of Business Operations, she offers a combination of superior leadership and staff development skills, creativity, and marketing expertise.
Kimberly has a wide range of executive-level experience that led her to AutoAlert. From brand re-launches to strategic marketing initiatives, she has held positions at AutoTrader, VinSolutions, and other well-recognized companies within the industry, successfully meeting a broad range of internal and external client needs. Her effective management skills and ability to enhance team collaboration make her a sought-after professional throughout the industry.
A firm believer in the “life’s a journey, not a destination” philosophy, Kimberly is notably driven and encourages those around her to find and focus on their motivators as well. An admitted workaholic, Kimberly thrives under pressure and never backs down from a challenge or a deadline. She willingly goes out of her way to mentor and develop professionals in their career paths and can often be found helping industry pros forge their professional paths, as she continues to advance AutoAlert’s industry presence.
Kimberly studied Political Science at the University of Oregon. She enjoys the opportunity to travel, spend time with her family, and there’s a good chance you’ll hear her cheering for the Mets and the Jets in her downtime.
Candice has 15 years of sales and operations experience in a variety of markets and is currently VP of Dealer Solutions at Hireology. Previously she was the Organizational Development Director of a large automotive group in the Midwest, where she designed and led a transformational change that improved the customer experience and reduced employee turnover by replacing the F&I silo with cross-functionally trained recent college graduates.
Candice has extensive experience in Talent Management and is considered an SME in recruiting and retention strategies for high-turnover environments. Candice is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds a M.S. in Organizational Development.
Dena is a Senior Field Consultant at L2TMedia. She is responsible introducing L2T Media’s digital advertising solutions to dealerships throughout the Midwest. In addition, she manages relationships with existing clients within the Midwest region. She has more than five years of automotive digital marketing experience beginning with an internship at L2TMedia.
She has a thorough understanding of the digital industry and how it specifically relates to the automotive industry. She has owned many vehicles including a Chevy Truck, BMW 3 Series and Honda CR-V. Her favorite digital solution right now is either YouTube Video Advertising or Facebook Advertising. Both products offer a low cost and highly targeted solution to dealers.
Dena was born and raised in Chicagoland. She attended the University of Illinois-Chicago where she fell in love with the city and all that it has to offer. She is very passionate about helping dealerships understand and utilize digital marketing. You can connect with her on Twitter @DigitalAdDena or e-mail her directly at DDenman@L2Tmedia.com
Tony is considered the industry’s most forward-thinking F&I and sales trainer and consultant creating The Academy’s Y.E.S. Processes. Tony has a degree in communications plus 26 years in Auto.
Tony is a featured workshop presenter at the NADA Convention, including 2017, addressed international dealer groups on F&I and sales techniques, and spoken at numerous 20 Groups and dealer associations.
Judy L. Farcus Serra
Judy has worked as an innovative and resourceful manager in the automotive industry spanning thirty years. She began her career part time as a receptionist and cashier while attending high school and college. She went on to work in all of the different dealership accounting positions, moving from one to another with a thirst for knowledge.
After twelve years with two Chevrolet dealers, Judy found her true calling with Headquarter Toyota. She started as the Office Manager in 1997 and was promoted to Controller in 2001. Judy was promoted again in 2005 to Assistant General Manager due to her involvement in both the financial and operational sides of the Headquarter Group, as well as being an integral part of the long-term planning team. As the Group’s CFO, her position has expanded; the overall health and growth of the organization is now her key focus.
In 2010, Judy played a critical role in the opening of Headquarter Honda, a new point in Clermont, FL awarded to the Group. She helped with not only the application process, but also oversaw the construction of the building as well. In May 2013 Judy took the lead on the acquisition of our Hyundai dealership. Immediately following the Hyundai acquisition, the quest for a Mazda franchise in Clermont, FL began. Along with the Group’s executive team, Judy planned and jointly developed the interest of Mazda and the group was awarded the Mazda franchise in Mid-2014. Judy is currently taking lead on the land acquisition, and liaison for the group on the planning, construction, and legal sides of the project.
Judy is responsible for the group’s overall profitability, including her direct involvement with the CEO, executives, general managers, department managers, and most importantly their development and retention of leadership for the group. Her days stay fairly full with project planning and implementation, manufacturer relations, vendor relations and negotiations, finance negotiation and relations with lending sources, while she oversees the financial side of the group.
Judy is celebrating her 19th year with the Headquarter Group. She is married to Gregory Serra and they have a 17 year old son, Justin. Outside of the dealerships, she enjoys spending time with her family, being involved with dog rescues, cooking, deep sea fishing, and volunteering and advising at a local middle school as a Miami-Dade business partner.
Dr. Suzanne Mendoza Feeney
Suzanne drives change and leads organizations to increase productivity, revenue and satisfaction. As Senior Manager of Customer Communications Strategy at Hyundai Motor America, she designs lifecycle communication strategies, governs customer data, and champions “big data” analytics in order to make customer experiences better.
Suzanne serves as a member of the Hyundai Diversity Council, the council sponsor of the Drive:Equality LGBTQ Employee Resource Group (ERG), and the chair of the Women@Hyundai ERG. Her experience spans the automotive, insurance, travel and academic sectors.
Let’s connect: https://www.linkedin.com/in/suzannefeeney
Carey has CallSource in her DNA. She founded the company with her father 25 years ago and has been on a lifelong learning quest to work smarter (not harder) ever since. Most recently as Marketing Director, Carey launched the company’s new Website, created its social media strategy and aligned the sales and marketing teams to focus on the customers’ needs. She was recently certified in the Google “Search Inside Yourself” curriculum currently taught by the Search Engine giant, that explores science-supported mindfulness and emotional intelligence.
During the eight years at Kate Frost Inc., Ms. Frost has been an important voice in the field of social media and conducted hundreds of social media campaigns designed to brand businesses, drive traffic and generate sales and service leads.
Erich K. Gail
Erich K. Gail is the Chief Executive Officer of the Cardinale Automotive Group, which has 19 dealerships in California, Arizona and Nevada (currently the #2 highest sales volume eDealer in North America).
Mr. Gail is a 26-year veteran of the global automotive industry, having served in a variety of executive and senior leadership roles in an array of management and investment groups throughout North America, Europe and Asia.
Dennis Galbraith is the Head of OEM and Reseller Programs for Dealer E-Process. He is the author of two marketing books, Sales Integration and Online Automotive Merchandising, and produces a weekly video series for dealers, Automotive Marketing Facts. His ability to help dealers quickly turn marketing metrics into profitable action items makes him a popular speaker at conferences and 20 groups across North America. Dennis owned two successful companies serving dealers and vendors, Dennis Galbraith Marketing Services and Revenue Guru.
Through the 1990’s he taught marketing at the graduate and undergraduate level for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He ran the automotive internet division of J.D. Power and Associates until 2006, then managed over $300,000,000 in advertising products as Cars.com’s Vice President of Advertising Products and Training. He taught marketing for NADA Academy and is widely known for his dynamic speeches and videos as well as his informative writing.
Claire Calhoun is the VP, Sales and Marketing at Colors on Parade, an automotive recon company with over 300 locations across 2 countries. Claire also owns New Life Communications, a consulting agency focused on integrated marketing and public relations. She has 15 years of marketing experience, with clients ranging from pharmaceuticals to non-profit. She holds a B.S and M.S. in Advertising.
Kim Gershon is the West Regional Leader for Wells Fargo Dealer Services, the nation’s second-largest auto finance lender. She is responsible for the growth and profitability of 21 regional business centers. Kim joined the organization in 1999 and soon became one of the first Division Sales Managers in the organization. In 2002 she was promoted to National Sales Manager, then Regional Business Center Manager two years later. In 2007, she became the first female Division Manager and has been in her current role since October 2014. Kim previously held a number of positions with auto finance companies, including Household Automotive Finance, Key Auto Finance and Chrysler Financial Corporation. In 2011, she received the prestigious Extraordinary Leader Award. Kim was the 2013 chair of the Wells Fargo Dealer Services Diversity and Inclusion Council and still serves as an active member. She was part of the Consumer Lending Group’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, receiving the 2013 and 2014 Diversity Champion awards. She served on the Latin Connection Network Leadership Team from 2010-2012 and co-chaired the 2013 Dealer Services Dallas Fort Worth Community Support campaign. In 2015, she co-chaired the multi-business Wells Fargo Dallas Fort Worth Community Support campaign.
Subi Ghosh spent her first 6 years in Automotive working her way up from Internet Sales Assistant to Sales and E-Commerce Director of Dealer Groups. Her passion for the industry and drive to be an advocate for dealers serves as a perfect match as Executive Vice President of Dealer Authority and Founding Board Member of Women In Automotive. Subi has become a respected speaker at the major Automotive Events including NADA, Driving Sales, Digital Dealer, and more.
Subi keeps actively involved in the automotive community as a conference speaker and blogger on many automotive forums to be an advocate for dealers, share her knowledge, grow within her profession, and improve the way the industry sells and markets cars.
You can find out more about her on DealerAuthority.com, AskSubi.com, and follow her on twitter @subi101 @asksubi
Kathy has been in the automotive industry for over 20 years in various roles of increased significance at CDK Global, Inc. For the last 3 years as Director of Sales and Business Development, she has national responsibility for the minority dealer business, representing over 1,600 customers across the US, generating over $90M in revenues. Kathy is also responsible for building customer advocates and growing CDK’s brand and market share within the women retail business segment, representing over 1,000 customers across the US, generating over $57M in revenues. CDK Global is the only DMS provider with a program focused solely on our minority and women dealers. This position has given Kathy a very unique view of diversity in our industry and in our company.
For the past 20 years, Kathy has been passionate about growing representation of minority and women dealers in the automotive industry. She has grown the minority dealer business from $60M to $90M over the last 5 years. In addition to her relationships with dealers, she has developed strong relationships with automotive manufacturers and dealer associations. She strives to strengthen CDK’s relationship with minority and women dealers and key segment influencers by being an advocate and liaison for the minority and women dealers.
Kathy was recently awarded the 2016 National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD) Woman of the Year Award which recognizes the woman whose heroism, longevity and advancement in the automotive industry serves as a shining example of the contributions women make at the highest levels of business leadership.
Kathy is currently a Founding Board member of the Women in Automotive organization, focused on accelerating the role of women in the automotive industry. She has been associated with WAAI for nearly 10 years. As an early member, she started a WAAI Chapter in Chicago, which she grew to over 100 members before accepting a position that relocated her to the Northeast. During her Presidency, she conducted the 1st Women’s Day Awards Program at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show honoring women in automotive.
Melissa Hansen Kann
Melissa began her career in the automotive industry in 1995 as a salesperson for McGrath Acura of Countryside. The following year she was named salesperson of the year. In early 2004, she became the Client Relations Manager for McGrath Acura of Westmont. During her tenure she has been awarded Manager of the Year three times; and led her store to achieve Dealership of Distinction status (Acura’s most prestigious award) in each of the last 11 years. For the past 2 1/2 years Melissa has also managed Client Relations at McGrath’s Chicago location. Over the years Melissa has employed many young women, taking them under her wing and mentoring them not only at work, but also through life – so they not only complete their job tasks but also become strong professionals.
As Chief Human Resources Officer, Cynthia is responsible for the strategic direction of all human resources functions. She leads all Human Resources teams, including Employee Relations, Total Rewards and Benefits, Recruiting, Organizational Development, Talent Management and HR Systems. Working cross-functionally to support all areas of the business, Cynthia’s focus is on perpetuating a company brand and culture that attracts and retains world-class talent.
Jessie is on the Sales Strategy and Enablement team at Google. In this role, she trains sales reps, managers and analysts on digital advertising solutions, sales processes, vertical-specific trends and insights, and the power of analytics.
Before Google, Jessie held roles ranging from Digital Specialist to Digital Advertising Operations Manager to Multimedia Advertising Director at Scripps and Gatehouse newspapers. She has an MBA from California Lutheran University, with an emphasis in Small Business Entrepreneurship; a BA in Philosophy from UC Berkeley; and a BS in Business from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
Jessie is very passionate about helping businesses thrive in an ever-changing advertising landscape–particularly within the automotive space, having worked with dealers on their multimedia advertising strategies at every stage in her career.
Bill is an expert in Talent Management and Talent Acquisition. He is passionate about creating forward-thinking talent strategies that drive organizational culture change that better support people doing their best work. Always the driver and never the passenger, Bill has achieved results in a variety of high-profile global companies that are in rapid transition.
Bill joined General Motors in November 2012 and is the head of Global Talent Acquisition. Based in Detroit, Michigan, Bill ensures that GM has a robust talent pipeline to meet the current and future business demands for talent at all levels in the Company. Previously, Bill was with Google in Mountain View, California, where he led the global career development team. Bill was also a Director, Professional Career Development, at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington and was the Head of Talent Planning at Visa in San Francisco.
Mark D. Johnson
Mark is the President of MD Johnson Inc., an automotive mergers, acquisitions and financial advisory services firm. The 16-year-old company’s practice is strictly in the retail automobile industry. Mark and his 10-person firm have advised on more than 200 engagements nearing $5 billion related to automobile dealerships, dealership real estate, assets and inventory, as well as closely held finance companies, insurance and reinsurance all related to the automobile business. Mark is recognized and admitted as an expert in Federal/State/Family Court in valuation; and as a damages expert regarding the retail automobile business. He has represented decedent estates, and personal and co-personal representatives in the sale of business assets and real estate in the automobile dealership business. Mark has been a speaker/presenter and moderator at over two dozen automotive seminars and webinars with Automotive News, the CPA Dealers Association, NADA, National Association of Dealer Lawyers and the Chrysler Minority Dealer Association. Mark is a former Ford dealer who came up through the Ford Minority Dealer Development Program as a Non-Minority, putting himself through EWU as a licensed used truck dealer.
Ms. Julie Kimes brings to the table 25 plus years at O’Daniel’s and an entire family history tied to the car industry. With a background of growth and Avant guard development in the way cars are sold, Kimes has spent her career dedicated to delivering extraordinary service and value. Her hard work has clearly paid off in every position she has held in the dealership. In 2009 after successfully managing a satellite store, she was asked to be the GSM for O’Daniel Automart and Mazda. When Kimes took over the operations the total dealership sales were only 556 units a year. She has not only gained market share but has nearly doubled sales volume closing 2015 with 1069 retail units. She attributes the success to thinking outside of the box.
Dealertrack DMS, under the leadership of Sharon Kitzman, is helping to transform the way dealers sell cars, engage customers, and run their business. Kitzman – a 25 year automotive industry veteran – is responsible for leading Dealertrack’s DMS division from single to double-digit market share, and for executing triple digit growth. Prior to joining the Dealertrack team, Kitzman spent 15 years with Ohio-based Reynolds & Reynolds.
Most recently, Kitzman led Dealertrack DMS through their acquisition by Cox Enterprises, Inc., the 17th largest privately held company in the nation. Kitzman’s vision, direction, and overall leadership were decisive in the success of the acquisition and will be instrumental in the continued growth of the business. Dealertrack’s acquisition by Cox will amplify Kitzman and her team’s ability to deliver innovative, market-leading solutions to dealers nationwide.
In 2015, Kitzman’s extraordinary leadership was recognized by Automotive News and resulted in her inclusion as one of 100 Leading Women in Automotive. She was also recently recognized within the Cox organization as one of 10 Courageous Leaders for 2016.
Sharon’s passion for automotive and fresh perspective on automotive technology enables her to adeptly guide Dealertrack DMS through the rapidly changing industry landscape and to deliver on evolving dealer needs in a way that’s unique to the industry.
Deb Krueger is Client Care Center Manager at Treasure Coast Lexus and Treasure Coast Toyota. Deb started in a Lincoln-Mercury dealership as a service department assistant and was quickly promoted to Title Clerk and Assistant Office Manager. Deb’s volunteer work with the local Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse led her to take on the tough love job of therapeutic foster parent after the closing of the Lincoln-Mercury dealership. She devoted 14 years to caring for abused and neglected children, then returned to the automotive field once her children were older; joining Braman Motorcars and quickly becoming one of the top Sales Advisors. She remained there for almost two years until an off-duty car accident sidelined her test-driving abilities. She was offered a position in the somewhat-chaotic Braman Motorcars Sales BDC while she recuperated. Deb was subsequently promoted to BDC Manager of the nearby sister store (Jupiter BMW) before accepting a position closer to home with Treasure Coast Lexus. There, it was decided to institute a Client Care Center (CCC) with Lexus Principles as a guideline (instead of a traditional BDC). The CCC tripled appointments, all the while raising client satisfaction.
Susan is the Manager of Corporate Reputation & Community Outreach for the Hoffman Auto Group. Her focus is on developing brand awareness while also fostering and nurturing relationships with customers and community partners. She creates the vision and business plan for all social media and online reputation for 10 brands and two body shops, as well as the company blog. Susan received the Service Award in Psychology for her dedication to serving others through student teaching and volunteering in the local community. She is an active member of the Connecticut Women’s Council, United Way Women’s Leadership Council, Leadership Greater Hartford and MetroHartford Alliance. During her previous employment of 11 years at Aetna, Susan held administrative positions before promotions to research and technical assistant in the marketing department. Susan currently represents Hoffman in radio and TV commercials, YouTube videos, press conferences and other public forums. A 13-year survivor of breast cancer, Susan is a spokesperson for Komen Connecticut and seeks opportunities to speak to groups on a range of topics from customer satisfaction, leadership, self-improvement, self-worth, and cancer survival.
Tammie LeBleu overcame huge hurdles on her way to becoming one of the most successful salespeople in the U.S. Raised in a small parish of Louisiana, LeBleu pursued a degree in nursing and served in the profession for many years before making a career change into the automotive industry. She took to automotive sales almost instantly—first at Lexus, then at Orr Nissan—and was a high performer, averaging 18 cars sold per month.
Despite her professional success, LeBleu had to overcome tremendous personal challenges. After “hitting bottom”, she made the decision to turn her life around and began working hard to rebuild her life and career.
Today, LeBleu has made over $1,000,000 as the Internet Director and Sales Manager at Orr Nissan Bossier. The secret to her success? Hard work and CAR-Research XRM, which allows her to network efficiently with potential buyers, as well as hold her sales staff accountable for driving conversions. LeBleu sums it up best: “You have to believe in yourself, have to take the tools that the dealership gives you and use them, and come in every day and work. But most of all, I would say: don’t quit before the miracle happens.”
Amanda Ledezma began her automotive career in 2005, working her way through receptionist, sales, finance and management positions – each one allowing her to learn different aspects of a dealership. Amanda is a natural counselor, which allows her to use teamwork to get the desired results from the sales departments. She is an innovative quick thinker who can confidently tell her team what needs to be accomplished. As a mother of three, she understands the importance of family and relationships which, enabling her to connect with guests on a consistent basis. Amanda believes in people and strives to make her employer, Cable Dahmer of Kansas City, a fun place to work. When this is accomplished, it becomes a great place for guests to visit for all their automotive needs.
Rebecca Lindland serves as the senior director of commercial insights for Kelley Blue Book. In this role, she oversees the creation and delivery of consultative, actionable and differentiated insights for automakers and advertising agency clients. Working with many departments within the Cox Automotive Media Group, Kelley Blue Book’s parent company, Lindland cohesively synthesizes available data and reports, highlighting interesting and relevant data with the automotive industry. By utilizing data and analysis related to customer behaviors and perceptions of automotive brands, she provides recommendations to optimize and improve advertising campaigns, messaging and media strategies. Lindland also applies knowledge of new vehicle launches to help automakers and advertising agencies craft storylines. Additionally, using these insights, she frequently speaks with media on current and upcoming trends and timely automotive news topics.
Prior to Kelley Blue Book in 2015, she spent over two years as a senior research fellow for the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC), based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. KAPSARC is a non-profit research institution focused on energy policy, technology and more. Lindland created and developed the center’s transportation studies initiative, and spearheaded a research project aimed at analyzing the Saudi Arabian light-vehicle market to evaluate potential methodologies for applying fuel economy standards, while minimizing market disruption. She also led a project market sizing and estimating adoption rates of alternative fuel vehicles in the U.S. market, advising regulators, academics and manufacturers on the topic.
Previously, Lindland also spent more than 10 years at IHS Automotive as director of research and formerly, as a director of industry research and senior analyst.
As a veteran industry analyst, Lindland is highly respected in the automotive industry and frequently interviewed by national media outlets, such as The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, National Public Radio, WIRED, and CBS News, among others. She also recently served on two National Academies of Sciences committees, “Overcoming Barriers to Electric Vehicle Deployment” and “Cost, Effectiveness and Deployment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles.”
Lindland holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from Gordon College in Wenham, Mass.
Craig Lockerd is a 43-year ” Green Pea” in the auto industry who has literally held every position in a dealership from Porter to President. In the late 1980s he became known as a “Turn-Around Specialist”. Nearly two decades ago, he founded AutoMax Recruiting and Training, where he still serves as President of the company. Craig, his staff and the company’s trainer network are the premier experts in the world of automotive recruitment. AutoMax has conducted over 14,000 recruiting campaigns and placed more than 140,000 women and men into the car business in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.
Jennifer is a transplanted Southerner who married into the Martin Automotive family of Marshall County, Indiana in 1993. She previously spent nine years working for AT&T in their manufacturing facilities in a number of locations, and credits that time as the foundation she applied in learning the automotive world. Her husband, Joe (the Dealer Principal at the time) brought her in to use her knowledge from the corporate world to streamline and establish processes in all aspects of the dealership. She has worked in many different positions, including Customer Relations, Service Desk Consultant, Parts Department clerk, Office Management support, and finally, Fixed Operations Manager. In 2013, General Motors and FIAT-Chrysler (FCA) initiated a change of ownership of the franchises upon learning of Jennifer’s heritage. She is a Native American, belonging to the Adai Caddo Indian Nation of Louisiana, part of the great Caddo tribes of Oklahoma. As a Native American, she now represents her franchises with FIAT-Chrysler and General Motors as a minority dealer. Jennifer is a recent graduate of the FIAT-Chrysler Dealer Development Program, where an emphasis is placed on operational best practices in all dealership departments.
Stefania Mereu is the Vice-President of Vast, and holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology. She is a User Experience (UX) Researcher, Strategist, Evangelist, SXSW speaker, and statistics junkie. Stefania has been measuring user behavior for over 10 years. Her unfair advantage as a UX researcher features a deep understanding of how people distribute their attention in time and space while performing complex tasks, such as trying to decide which car to buy. An outspoken and needed voice in automotive where data should overrule gut instinct, she has developed products and insights for Vast that increased product conversions by 700%.
Emily Miller is most comfortable driving the dunes of the Sahara and refuses to commute on the 5 Freeway. President of Public Relations and Sports Marketing firm Soulside Network, she is also the founder of the first women’s navigation rally raid in the U.S., the Rebelle Rally, which spans seven days of competition based on skill – not speed. No GPS, cell phones or outside assistance.
For longer than she cares to reveal, Emily has been in the sports marketing and PR business, with automotive being her true passion. Her background is in brand building, and her experience is deeply rooted in the action sports world.
As an athlete, she learned quickly that a vehicle is the great equalizer for body size and gender – a blessing, given her 5-foot, 100-lb. frame. What started as an opportunity to race stock trucks for legendary off-road racer Rod Hall became a chance to see many amazing places across the planet and gain invaluable life and work lessons from the driver’s seat. Despite numerous podium finishes and wins including the Baja 1000 … and being the first woman to solo the longest off-road race in the US (and win her class), her takeaway has been transferring the lessons to her business; and most important, encouraging women who share her passion for cars and adventure.
To date, she has coached over 4,000 people to drive off-road, organized and produced over 100 experiential automotive events, spent countless hours “secret shopping”, and helped women tackle their fears and challenges in a vehicle – including spearheading the US women’s effort at the punishing Gazelle Rally in Morocco. Emily is a recipient of the Women’s Automotive Alliance International “Spirit of Leadership Award” who still mutters the age-old adage of “to finish first, you must first finish”.
Clayton Morris joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 2008 and is the co-host of FOX & Friends Weekend. He also serves as a co-host for “FOX & Friends First.” Presented weekdays at 5 AM/ET, the program is an hour-long expansion of “FOX & Friends” and is anchored by a pair of rotating hosts.
Prior to joining FNC, Morris worked for FOX 29 in Philadelphia where he was the host of “Good Day Philadelphia.” Before that, he worked in Orlando on the launch of the WB Network’s nationally syndicated morning show “The Daily Buzz.” He was also an anchor at WVVA-TV (NBC) in Bluefield, West Virginia and a political reporter at Montana’s CBS affiliate.
Morris got his start in television as a producer for “Good Day LA” at KTTV in Los Angeles. He attended the University of Pittsburgh where he received degrees in US History and Broadcast Journalism.
I am a broadcaster, writer, and speaker. I am the anchor of Code Forward on MSNBC and a contributor for CNBC. I am also the writer of this very blog that you are visiting and for that I thank you.
My specialties include business, technology, and personal finance. I am a personal finance enthusiast and autodidact. On this site, I share with you what has taken me years to learn in the hopes that I can inspire you to always be in control of your wealth building goals.
Prior to NBC, I was an anchor and contributor for CBS Interactive and CBS News. I have also contributed to CNN, ABC News, G4TV, BBC, The CW, Fox News, Fox Business News, and Univision (Spanish-language reporting).
I have written for Consumer Reports, WIRED, Variety Magazine, MarketWatch, TechCrunch, The San Francisco Examiner, PC Magazine, ELLEgirl, The Oakland Tribune, and more. I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Hayward and a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Southern California.
Prior to 2010, you may have seen my work under my maiden name, Natali Del Conte.
I am from the San Francisco Bay Area but live just outside of New York City in a charming New Jersey train-stop town full of very inspired thinkers. I really love it here.
I live with my husband Clayton and our two lovely children. My sole focus is to not screw them up.
Kathleen L. Patterson
Kathleen joined Ally Financial in May 2007 and currently serves as the Sr. Vice President of Dealer Financial Services. Prior to Ally, she was the managing director of Human Resources for 11 years at DTE Energy, a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of nationwide energy-related businesses and services. Kathleen was responsible for managing the company’s staffing and consulting efforts and organizational development, including leadership, talent management, employee engagement strategies, diversity management and career development. She also provides counsel to the senior leadership team on executive development training, both on individual and team levels. Kathleen has served on the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross of Southeast Michigan and is currently active on the Advisory ree from University of Detroit Mercy in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.
Scott began his career in automotive at a Ford store in Southern California in the 1990s, then joined Autobytel in May 2000. Today, Scott serves as Vice President of Sales for Autobytel, where he manages sales and account management, along with Autobytel’s broad range of industry-leading products. Additionally, Scott serves as an automotive industry spokesperson, a company news media spokesperson and lead trainer of the Autobytel Dealer Insight Series. Scott is an NADA Convention and NADA 20-group speaker, in addition to Driving Sales, Digital Dealer, IS-20 Groups, Internet Battle Plan, CBT News, and Auto Con. You can contact Scott at Scottp@autobytel.com.
Eliana Raggio, known as the “Webinar Goddess”, is host and moderator of DealerOn’s free weekly webinars (DealerOn.com/webinar), where she presents invaluable information from industry-leading experts on timely and relevant topics dealers need to compete and succeed in the automotive industry today. The highly interactive installments of the popular continuing education series are held every Thursday at 9am PST/noon EST. She is also an award-winning voice-over artist, professional emcee and former Philadelphia morning show radio personality. Additionally, Eliana is a US Navy Veteran, having honorably served during the Gulf War. She is also a gifted communicator and eloquent writer who has long been a strong advocate for all issues facing women in male-dominated industries. You can connect with her on Twitter @ElianaRaggio or e-mail her directly at Eliana@DealerOn.com.
Andrea Riley is the Chief Marketing Officer for Ally, tasked with overseeing all marketing activities company-wide consistent with the “One Ally” philosophy. She joined Ally in 2008 and was charged with the re-brand development and deployment for the company, as well as the award-winning launch of Ally Bank. Her award-winning work has been instrumental to Ally being named a “Top 25 Up and Coming Brand” and helping Ally quickly become a leading online bank and top auto finance company. Andrea spent 20 years at Campbell-Ewald Advertising, where she led the agency’s Chevrolet account as the youngest account director in its 90-year history. She launched the massive American Revolution campaign and supported the launch of 20 new products in 40 months. She was inducted into the AAF Advertising Hall of Achievement in 2006 for extraordinary accomplishments for those under 40. She was also named one of the Top Women in Remarketing by Auto Remarketing Magazine. Andrea earned the distinction of being named to the Forbes list of the “50 Most Influential CMOs” in 2014 and again in 2015. Most recently, she was selected by Automotive News as one of the “100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry”.
Yolanda Rocio is Vice President Human Resources for CDK Global, Inc (formerly ADP) in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. She is the HR Executive for the North America Sales and Operations organization for 3,800 associates located in multiple locations in the US and Canada. Her team of 12 includes nine HR Directors. During her 16 ½-year tenure, she has also been the HR Executive for Finance, IT, Supply Chain, and Marketing. While at ADP, Yolanda was the Executive Sponsor for the Midwest Region and division-wide diversity initiatives and was a member of the Steering Committee for Women In Leadership – Midwest Region. She is the Executive Sponsor of the Summer Minority Intern Program and has been the HR Lead for various acquisitions and divestitures. Prior to CDK (formerly known as ADP – Dealer Services), Yolanda worked as the Program Leader for high potentials, which included leading a Minority Mentoring Program, Minority Supply Chain Program, and a partnership with the Lead for the Women Mentoring Program at Accenture. She also worked at State Farm Insurance, where she held roles in the Claims Operations and Human Resources departments. She was most recently honored as one of The Chicago Defender newspaper’s “50 Women of Excellence”.
Agustina Rodriguez-Gunn is the general manager of Chrysler Jeep Dodge City of McKinney, a consistent leader in the DFW Metroplex. She is responsible for managing 108 employees and oversees both fixed and variable operations. Agustina moved with her family from Argentina in 1981 and was raised in Miami, Florida. Her passion for the automotive industry started at a very young age, when she would go to work with her father after school. She lived in and out of all the offices, parts departments and her favorite, the body shops. After moving to Dallas in 1999, she started working with her father, who at the time was the general manager of a very successful Pontiac, Buick, GMC store in Carrollton, Texas. This started her career in the Automotive Industry, where she worked her way through many departments in the dealership. In 2005 Gus Rodriguez, her father, was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to buy into a single-point Dodge dealership in McKinney, Texas. In 2010, they expanded the dealership to add the Chrysler and Jeep franchises. Agustina is a huge advocate for community involvement and has partnered with a local charity The Love Life Foundation to give back to local families in the community. Not only is her commitment to the community a driving force behind the many decisions that take place at the dealership, so is family. Chrysler Jeep Dodge City of McKinney is a locally owned-and-operated dealership that has many families working in the daily operations. Agustina’s husband, BJ Gunn, and her brother Lee Rodriguez work side-by-side with her on a daily basis; they truly embrace “family owned-and-operated”.
As Automotive Industry Marketing Lead for Twitter, Rebecca works closely with Twitter’s in-house research team to uncover insights and user behaviors that help Twitter’s partners better connect with their customers and fans – both current and future. She brings the voice of the auto consumer to Twitter, and is responsible for aligning Twitter and its advertising products to best support the automotive industry. Prior to joining Twitter in 2014, Rebecca spent five years at Toyota Motor Sales, USA. There, as the Brand Manager for RAV4, Highlander and Venza, she influenced product pricing and promotion, training and research, and oversaw all elements of sales, marketing and advertising for those models. Prior to business school, she worked as a Business Process & Technology Consultant with Accenture in their Health Payer practice.
Jenell is the only second-generation African-American woman automobile dealer in the country. She accepted the leadership role in 1997 after the untimely death of her father, Robert P. Ross Sr., who in 1974 started the family-owned business in Richmond, Indiana. Jenell became president after the passing of her mother, Mrs. Norma J. Ross, in 2010. Today, the Bob Ross Auto Group, located in Centerville, Ohio, includes five franchises. One, Mercedes-Benz of Centerville, was the first African-American owned Mercedes-Benz Dealership in the world. Currently, the Bob Ross Auto Group also has the distinction of having the only Mercedes-Benz, Buick-GMC, Fiat and Alfa Romeo dealerships owned by an African American woman. This year the the group celebrated 42 years as a Buick Dealer, 37 years as a Mercedes-Benz Dealer, 34 years as a GMC Dealer and five years as a Fiat Dealer. Jenell is an active member of the Dayton community, serving on numerous boards of several foundations and community service organizations; and has recently been appointed by the Governor of Ohio, John R. Kasich, to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Board. Jenell has completed the General Motors Dealer Management Development Program and also graduated from the NADA Dealer Candidate Academy.
Dr. Pat Schuch
Dr. Pat Schuch is a Professional Engineer with degrees in physics, education, business, and leadership. She worked for a major auto company for three decades in a variety of areas, including mechanical and electrical components, vehicle assembly, metal fabrication, engineering, quality, strategic planning and global technology management. Pat enjoys sharing her insights about spiritual growth, family, travel, lifelong learning, work-life balance and community service. Her book, Driving in the Middle Lane, is the collection of adventures of a young wife and mother of two, who embarked on a 30-year career in the auto industry in 1977. Pat’s anecdotes describe her struggles and successes adapting to the predominantly male working environments of the factory floor and management offices, as well as her family challenges in a dual-career household. These stories provide encouragement for both women and men who are striving to advance in their occupations while nurturing the important relationships in their lives. At the end of each chapter, the author’s “Pearls from Pat” reinforce the effective strategies she’s discovered along the way.
Loren entered the automobile business right out of college in 1977. In his first year selling cars, he was salesman of the month nine times. He advanced into F&I, then a year later was promoted to Used Car Manager and Assistant GM. Loren first became a Dealer in 1988 as 25% owner of Borton Volvo of Delray Beach, FL. In 1991, they added a VW franchise. In 2001, 10 days after the horror of 9/11, Loren bought out his partner and became sole owner the dealership. In 2004, Loren sold the stores in Delray Beach and three years later opened Volvo of Fort Myers. He sold that store in 2015 and retired from the retail car business. He then became a Principal in M.D. Johnson, Inc., the leading Broker for Luxury automobile dealerships in the U.S. He is a five-time Volvo Dealer of Excellence and Presidents Club award winner. In 2003, he was A.I.A.D.A.’s and Motor Trend and Automobile Magazine’s “Import Dealer of the Year”. He is past President of the South Florida Auto and Truck Dealers Association, past Chairman of the the Auto Show in Miami and past President of the Delray Beach Auto Dealers Association (for 11 years). In both 2014 and 2015, Loren’s Volvo store in Fort Myers was the top overall performing Volvo store in the Florida market and one of the top three performing Volvo stores in the entire Southeast.
Jack Simmons is a renowned trainer in the automotive industry, and currently works as a dealer consultant in addition to working with Women in Automotive. His past endeavors include manager of sales and dealer training for Cars.com, a destination for buyers and sellers of automotive sales and service. Previous to that he worked for AutoTrader.com where he managed and developed training programs for dealers, manufacturers and state automotive associations in a similar capacity. Simmons has trained more than 100,000 automotive professionals over the course of his 30+ years in the industry, including franchise dealers, independent dealers and professionals from automotive manufacturers.
A former dealer himself, Simmons has been at the forefront of digital marketing, helping stores improve in the areas of online reputation management, vehicle merchandising and mobile marketing, among others. He is a frequent speaker at industry events, including NADA, NIADA, Digital Dealer, DrivingSales Executive Summit, J.D. Power Automotive Internet Roundtable and national BHPH conferences.
Previously, Simmons served as a national dealer trainer for Autotrader, where he managed and developed training programs for dealers, manufacturers and state automotive associations. He joined Cars.com in 2010.
Ted L. Smith
– Lobbyist – Formerly in Virginia and now in Florida Legislature, mana team of seven government affairs professionals
– Represents 850 new car franchised automobile dealerships in Florida
– Shapes the direction of this $70 billion industry
– Teaches auto execs and professionals on regulations and laws impacting dealers
– Serves as industry consultant to members
– Manages consumers and media outlets
– Avid reader and golfer
– Dog lover – Mulligan and Bella
With nearly 30 years of industry experience, Joni is recognized as one of the most trusted and relied-upon experts in the automotive business. As the President and Founder of Owner Connect, her team has revolutionized the role and impact Business Development Centers now play among dealerships throughout North America and Europe. In addition to her years as the face of Owner Connect, Joni has gained a wonderful reputation for her corporate speaking experience and workshop series. Focusing on delivering results and improving efficiency, Joni has built an organization and strategy to ensure every client realizes its full potential.
Alison Summerville was named business administration executive of Ally Financial Inc. in June 2015. In this role, she is responsible for liaising with business and functional leads on behalf of the CEO’s office on enterprise-wide business initiatives. This includes managing and implementing executive leadership routines and seeking organizational efficiencies that advance Ally’s strategic objectives. Alison also oversees the company’s corporate workplace team which manages Ally’s facilities and related services. Most recently, she served as executive director of CFO business support, overseeing governance routines, budget and expense planning for the Finance and Treasury functions, as well as acting as business lead for employee engagement initiatives. Alison joined Ally in 2009 as chief of administrative officer for the company’s Treasury function. Prior to joining Ally, she spent nearly nine years at Bank of America, with her last position being that of the company’s Treasury business support executive. During her tenure at Bank of America, she also served in balance sheet management, compliance and corporate research roles.
Jennifer is the Founder and President of e-Dealer Solutions, Inc., an award-winning Education and Activity-Based Training Company focused on improving dealership showed appointments, sales and management processes. Her 21 years of experience includes stints as President, e-Dealer Solutions; In-Dealership Sales Trainer; Guest Instructor at NADA Academy; NADA Multi-Year Convention Speaker; OEM, State Association; and Twenty-Group Speaker. She has a tremendous reputation for delivering significant success to dealerships looking for up-to-date phone skills and profitable actions that convert non-present buyers to showroom customers. She can be reached at Jennifer@edealersolution.com, or via text 954.873.8029.
Jaclyn is an award-winning journalist and automotive reporter, deciphering the world of sheet metal for the masses. She divides her time among Los Angeles, Detroit and New York. A former automotive reporter for The New York Times and The Detroit News, Jaclyn has also covered cars and women for The New Yorker, Fortune, Glamour, Newsweek, Fast Company, Marie Claire, Men’s Health, Rolling Stone and Refinery 29, among others. Jaclyn has reported on cars from five continents, where she seeks out other women in the automotive industry. She has been interviewed on The Takeaway and profiled by Israel’s second-largest newspaper, which called her “the female automotive journalist with the largest readership in the world.” She writes an automotive blog for Forbes and serves as a U.S. juror to the World Car Awards. A regular attendee at high-profile events including Forbes Women’s Summit and Glamour‘s Women of the Year Awards and Summit Series, Jaclyn bridges the worlds of automotive and consumer lifestyle with a passion for distilling complex information in an engaging way for a mass audience. In 2013, she gave a Tedx talk to a 1,000-person audience exploring how we consume news.
Donna Wagner is chair and professor of the Aftermarket Management program at Northwood University. Her insights into recruiting and retaining employees comes from 25+ years of industry experience in sales, marketing, category management and education roles. Donna is an Auto Care Association Board of Director and serves on the Higher Education Council of Category Management Association.
Lisa W. Wardell
Lisa is chief operating officer of The RLJ Companies, a diversified holding company with portfolio companies in the financial services, asset management, real estate, hospitality, media and entertainment, automotive and gaming industries. She is responsible for managing the portfolio, including strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, business strategy, operations and finance. Lisa was a key member of the team that formed RML Automotive, the 19th-largest automotive dealership in the U.S.; and also played a key role in the creation of RLJ Equity Partners, LLC, a private equity fund formed in association with The Carlyle Group. Lisa also directed the successful development and management of RLJ Kendeja Resort and Villas, a luxury hotel in Liberia, West Africa. Lisa served as CFO of RLJ Acquisition, a $140 million Special Purpose Acquisition Company that acquired Acorn Media and Image Entertainment and formed RLJ Entertainment, Inc. Prior to joining The RLJ Companies, she was a Principal at Katalyst Venture Partners, a private equity firm that invested in start-up technology companies in the media and communications industries. Lisa previously worked as a senior consultant for Accenture, a global management consulting company.
Joe Webb is the President of DealerKnows, an Internet sales and digital marketing consulting firm specializing in the automotive industry. He maximizes companies’ online investments through on-site training, virtual consulting, and the industry’s first lead management coaching software. Joe has been called “the funniest guy in the car business” and passionately speaks and consults bleeding edge strategies internationally. He films comedic videos about car sales that are almost entertaining, writes for countless publications and online resource sites, and is viewed as one of the top process improvement experts in retail. With a history of retail success, Joe is best known for blending the lines between entertainment and education.
Brent Wees is the “Director of First Impressions” for Nextup and has been a fixture in the North American automotive digital landscape for almost 20 years. Brent’s energetic, comedic and uniquely engaging presentation style keeps him in demand around the globe at events such as the Digital Dealer Conference, World-Shopper, Auto-Retail Network Summit, Women in Automotive and the Canadian Auto Dealer Innovation Series. Brent also has the good fortune of being a featured columnist/guest for automotive publications and podcasts in the US, Canada, and England.
Entrepreneur. 12 Stepper. Punk. Brent challenges all those he interacts with to “Do 1 Thing Different Today”.
Jennifer White is a training manager at Cars.com. She has more than a decade of experience in automotive advertising and retail, including her role as e-commerce director at a 25-store group. White joined Cars.com in 2010 and works with both direct and affiliate channels. She leverages her extensive experience buying and selling traditional and digital media, teaching hundreds of media consultants and dealers around the country each year on how to optimize marketing strategies for success with today’s car shoppers.
Anne C. Williams
As President of Holman Parts Distribution, Anne Williams oversees all aspects of the company’s unique powertrain sourcing business model. A universally respected leader with meticulous attention to detail, Williams has played a vital role in establishing Holman Parts Distribution’s reputation across the automotive industry as an industry – leading supplier of powertrain products. During her tenure as President, Williams helped to spearhead Holman Parts’ shift in strategic focus while simultaneously expanding both the company’s distribution footprint and product lineup, fortifying relationships with key business partners. Today, Holman Parts Distribution, a division of the prestigious Holman Automotive Group, remains at the forefront of its industry due in large part to Williams’ unwavering guidance and commitment to the company’s long – standing core values.
Williams began her career with the Holman Automotive Group in 1989 when she entered into the organization’s management training program. Upon completion of the comprehensive training program, Williams spent six years in various management roles in Holman Automotive’s finance and insurance department. Williams quickly rose through the ranks, serving in various sales management roles at several Holman dealerships. In 2004, Williams was named General Sales Manager of Holman Infiniti Maple Shade, a role in which her dedication to customer satisfaction became evident and her unique style of leadership allowed her to flourish. In 2008, Williams was named General Manager of Holman Toyota – Scion – one of Holman Automotive’s flagship dealerships . During her five – plus years as General Manager, Holman Toyota – Scion experienced unprecedented sales growth as Williams helped to improve sales efficiency by more than 30 percent. Additionally, while under Williams’ management, the dealership was awarded the prestigious Toyota President’s Award for outstanding achievement by Toyota Motor Sales and was also named to Automotive News’ inaugural list of the Best Dealerships to Work For in 2012. Williams received her bachelor’s degree from Franklin & Marshall College in 1988 while also being recognized as a two – time tennis All – American, an honor which helped her earn induction in to the college’s athletic Hall of Fame in 1997. Williams currently resides in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey with her husband and two sons .
Camron Wilson is the Senior Consultant, Education Solutions for the National Automobile Dealers Association. In this position, Camron coordinates customized financial management, parts, service, variable operations and leadership training from the Dealer Academy for dealership groups, allied industry groups and manufacturer personnel at all levels. Camron’s goal is to educate and prepare the next generation of Automotive Dealers in the US and abroad. Her collective 15 years of experience in the industry with Ford Motor Company, Dealer Product Services and NADA has taught her the importance of Dealership Operations training for dealership employees and those individuals who interact with dealerships on a daily basis. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Kerri Wise is Vice President, Dealer Education at TrueCar. In her role, she leads dealer training initiatives and events focused on helping dealers understand the tools and best practices that can maximize their success. Kerri’s automotive career spans nearly 19 years and prior to joining TrueCar, she served in various roles working with auto dealers at Edmunds.com and J.D. Power and Associates.
Lori Wittman is Senior Vice President, Sales and F&I Solutions for the Cox Automotive Retail Solutions Group. In her role Wittman has responsibility for the strategic direction and overall financial success of both the VinSolutions and the Dealertrack F&I businesses.
Wittman joined VinSolutions in 2013 as Vice President of Operations, bringing cross-industry operations experience along with more than 15 years of practice leading large project implementations and driving multimillion-dollar benefits to the business owner. Prior to joining VinSolutions, Lori served as Vice President and General Manager of Rockwell Transportation Services. She previously held the positions of Vice President of Customer Operations for Freightquote, Field Technology Director at H&R Block and Associate Partner with Accenture.
Wittman holds a B.S. in Accounting and Business Administration from the University of Kansas. In 2015 Wittman was recognized by Automotive News as one of the 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry, a prestigious list compiled every five years to recognize top female executives at automakers, suppliers and dealerships nationwide.
Erin Wold is the Chief People Officer at RedCap Automotive Technology. She’s also a passionate performance coach and a startup founder. When she’s not working at RedCap, you’ll find her in San Francisco building her fashion company or putting together personal development seminars. Erin also speaks at Victim Impact Panels (due to her volunteerism with Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and shares stories that are bound to touch, move and inspire you. Erin is regarded by her communities as bold and charismatic.
Nancy Wolk is a co-founder of eMentorConnect®, a woman-owned company specializing in mentoring and training solutions. Prior to eMentorConnect®, she was a senior sales leader, director of operations and a marketing product manager with Pfizer. Nancy earned a BA from the University of Rochester and an MBA from Loyola University. She is a recognized expert in the field of leadership development.