Marisable O. Cole
GM Women Parts & Service Forum
Martha E Rader
Rader Coaching, Training & Consulting, LLC & Professor
A sport that takes strength, adrenaline, speed and risk-taking also demands respect and knowledge. After 10 years of accomplishments, Shea Holbrook has become a nationally recognized racecar driver, 6-Time Pirelli World Challenge Winner and team owner. Featured in espnW and Autoweek, Holbrook is recognized as a leading Woman in Motorsport and representative of the Women’s Sports Foundation.
Samantha C. Zawilinski
As the Vice President of Account Services at North America’s most advanced automotive advertising agency, Potratz, Samantha sees the hard data results from a wide range of advanced strategies and tactics. Lots of people know the strategies that work in some situations don’t work in others; Samantha knows why. More importantly, she breaks things down into actionable bites.
Samantha oversees campaigns involving virtually every form of media available to dealers, and does so for dealers across North America. Her views are not a product of what she has to sell, they are the data-backed conclusions that can only come from a broad, integrated, independent perspective back by mountains of data.
Sally Whitesell is the Founder and CEO of sw Service Solutions and Fixed Ops University. She has provided service advisor training in hundreds of drives across the country for over 23 years, both at an individual and corporate level. Her specialty program, “What Drives Women?” was created because of her passion to help all service personnel understand and cater to their female clients more effectively.
As a former service manager, Sally understands the importance of performance-based training, and has produced seminars, in-store coaching, online sessions, books and audio training that have helped managers and service advisors become successful professionals while providing an excellent service experience.
Sally’s articles are regularly published in magazines such as Fixed Ops, Car Biz Magazine, Dealer Fixed Ops, AutoSuccess, and Service AutoSuccess. She has been featured in BMW Newsletters and the GM Chronicles, and is a regular featured blogger on Dealer Elite, LinkedIn, and many State Dealer Associations sites. She performs live webinars for Automotive News and regularly provides workshops at various automotive conferences and Dealer 20 meetings.
On a personal note, she has been married for thirty-one years and has two children. She enjoys performing with a local theater group and volunteers at her children’s church. Her company proudly supports two local animal rescues in Northwest Florida
Rory Anne Hepner
Bachelor of Arts Degree (1984) Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA
Juris Doctorate (1987) Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Private Law Firm (1987-1991 focus on real estate and landlord/tenant law
MBUSA, LLC (1991-present)
Corporate Counsel (1991-1995)-managed litigation and trademark infringement
Manager Field Operations (1995-1998)-liaison between Corporate Offices and Regional Offices to improve operations
Franchise Manager San Francisco Region (1998-2001)-responsible for dealer network including business management and franchise related issues
Manager National Network Development (2001-2004)-responsible to devise a national dealer network plan to support the growth of MBUSA.
Market Manager in Los Angeles, CA (2004-2008)-responsible for all aspects of the dealership operations for new and used car sales, service and parts operations.
Manager Sales Operations (2008-2011)-responsible for developing retail programs on a national basis to support the retail sales objectives of MBUSA
General Manager of Vehicle Distribution and Logistics (2011-present)
Responsible for distribution, logistics including customs for all vehicles distributed by MBUSA. This includes MB passenger cars and trucks, smart and Sprinter. Responsible for both setting and achieving the wholesale objectives for all vehicles distributed by MBUSA. In addition, responsible for the systems to support the allocation and ordering of MB and smart vehicles. This department is comprised of five remote locations and one corporate location. Lastly, the logistic provider for MBUSI, LLC and Daimler Vans Manufacturing, LLC in Vance, Alabama and Ladson, South Carolina.
Married with four sons ranging in age from 16-28 years old.
Laura Clapp, Senior Manager at CDK Global, has responsibility for providing insights and solutions to some of the largest dealer groups in the country. After joining CDK in 2012 and building dealer group strategy, Laura has provided significant studies and research in the areas of luxury shoppers, customer segmentation, and buyer behavior. She has a BA from the University of Washington.
Beth Bartlett began her seasoned career in the media and automotive industries at Turner Broadcasting where she was a Media Buyer and Planner for TBS, TNT, and the Atlanta sports teams. Following her career at Turner, she was an Account Executive for Comcast and Fox Sports until joining Autobytel in 2010. Today, she serves as Senior Account Executive for the FL and LA territories for Autobytel.
Elgie Bright is Automotive Marketing Chair at Northwood University, teaching Dealership Variable and Fixed operations, Financial Analysis, and Industry issues. Elgie has worked in Sales and Service marketing at the Retail, OEM and Aftermarket level. Notable is his Seventeen years as District Sales and Service Manager for General Motors, where he has overseen Dealer Operations in several locations across the U.S.
Elgie’s greatest strengths are his creativity, drive, and leadership. He thrives on challenges, particularly those that involve finding solutions or opportunities.
Elgie is a member of the advisory board of the Friends of the Sloan Museum and Buick Gallery in Flint, Michigan. He has also done volunteer work for the North Side Soup Kitchen (Flint, MI) and various car shows.
Elgie holds a business degree from Adrian College and an MBA from Northwood University. He is the Father of 3 Adult daughters and lives in Flushing, MI with his wife, and a hyper Jack Russell Terrier. In his free time, Elgie likes jazz, blues, and sports activities.
Andrea Karsian is the CEO of Wholesale Auto Supply Co., Inc. WASCO as it is known was formed by automobile dealers to aggregate their purchases over 50 years ago. WASCO is a $30M company serving over 850 clients in the New York Tri-State area. Automobile dealers are stockholders.
Andrea Karsian was the principal in her own consulting business, The Karsian Group. Her practice focused on consulting to retail automotive and motorcycle clients on a variety of issues. In addition, Ms. Karsian is a licensed real estate sales associate with the Century21/ Calabrese Realty Co. whose office is in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
Andrea Karsian was until October 2005, Executive Vice-President of Toresco Enterprises, Inc. an automotive management company located in New Jersey. Ms. Karsian oversaw the daily operation of several automobile dealerships in the NY Metro. The total group generated gross sales of approximately $500 million dollars, and was ranked in the Automotive News “100 Dealer Groups” list and has been listed in Forbes “500 Largest Private Companies” list. Toresco Enterprises was comprised of 15 franchises at 6 dealerships plus other miscellaneous businesses with approximately 600 employees.
Ms. Karsian is a past President of the Springfield Rotary and past Chairperson of the Board of Directors for Jr. Achievement of Union County, Inc. (now a district of Junior Achievement of New Jersey, Inc.). Ms. Karsian is past Chair of the Union County Chamber of Commerce. She is past President of the Board of Trustees of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (North Jersey affiliate) and is also past President of The Women’s Automotive Association International NY Tri-State Chapter. In addition, Ms. Karsian was appointed by Governor Christine Todd Whitman to serve on the State Employment & Training Commission. Ms. Karsian is also an advisor to the Non-Traditional Career Resource Center out of Rutger’s University’s Center for Women and Work and also serves on the State of New Jersey’s Gender Parity Council. Ms. Karsian served on the Board of Governors of Union County College.
Ms. Karsian has also received the North N.J. Alumni Assoc. of Tuskegee University “Business Leadership Award” for commitment in business management. Ms. Karsian was recognized by the YWCA of New York City and inducted into the Academy of Women Achievers, Class of 1997. Ms. Karsian received the Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow Award (2001) and recently received the Women’s Automotive Association International Spirit of Leadership Award (2002). In 2007, Ms. Karsian received the Ruth Siksnius Volunteer of the Year Angel Award from the North Jersey Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.
Attended Harvard Business School for a Leading Your Small Business Through Its Lifecycle, held from June 21, 2015 to June 24, 2015.
Jody DeVere is a internationally recognized speaker, trainer, often quoted industry pundit and spokesperson for the automotive industry on the women’s market. She has been featured by the New York Times, NPR, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox Business, Forbes Women, Oprah Magazine and Parenting Magazine to name a few. As CEO of AskPatty.com, she provides automotive education to women consumers and an interactive online Certified Female Friendly® certification training program for automotive retailers on how to attract, sell, retain and market to women.
In her role as marketing to women expert, automotive journalist, car care expert and safety spokesperson her goal is to educate women car buyers and owners, the automotive industry at large and promote, mentor and support careers for women in the automotive industry.
Jody DeVere is a champion for women in the automotive industry, and her company AskPatty.com, Inc. serves as the first point of contact for many women who are seeking the very best experience to buy a car and service by visiting Certified Female Friendly® automotive retail locations across the United States and Canada.
Jennifer Maher is the CEO of TechForce Foundation, a nonprofit that champions students to and through their education and into careers as professional technicians in the transportation industry.
Jennifer has enjoyed a 25-year career in nonprofit management, marketing and strategic alliances, having served on the senior leadership team for Make-A-Wish America, and as a national director for YMCA of the USA and The Nature Conservancy. Heading up strategic alliances, Jennifer has personally negotiated over $100 million worth of cause partnerships with Disney, UAW-GM, PepsiCo, NASCAR, BMW, Midas, Kimberly-Clark, and Sports Illustrated, to name a few.
Jennifer lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband and two kids, has authored two books, and is a graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in international political science/ Asian Studies with a minor in Chinese.
W. Scott Simpson
Scott Simpson is Senior Partner at Simpson, McMahan, Glick & Burford, a Birmingham law firm. He is well-respected in automotive circles, serving as legal counsel for automobile dealerships throughout the Southeastern United States. Simpson is also the regular legal columnist for Dealer Digest, a quarterly publication that provides industry news for dealership management.
In addition to representing auto dealerships, Simpson specializes in dispute resolution. He is a Registered Mediator, Registered Appellate Mediator, Commercial Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and a Licensed Real Estate Broker. He has handled cases in more than 40 states over the last 25 years.
In 2015, the Pepperdine Dispute Resolution Law Journal (one of the nation’s leading alternative legal publications) published an article authored by Scott and New York Times Best Selling Author, Professor Roy F. Baumeister, entitled “The glucose model of mediation: Physiological bases of willpower as important explanations for common mediation behavior,” which discusses the parallels between blood glucose levels and a person’s reduced likeliness to say no to a settlement during the late afternoon period, when blood glucose levels are typically down.
Simpson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida in 1989 and received his Juris Doctor degree, Magna Cum Laude, from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 1993. Since 2002, he has taught a class at Samford on dispute resolution to educate and inform tomorrow’s young attorneys. He has also spent time lecturing at Cambridge University in England and several law schools in Brazil.
Barbara FitzPatrick is a Lead on Facebook’s Partner Management team, overseeing strategic and growth initiatives for the Tier 3 Automotive segment as part of her role. She has more than 10 years of leadership experience in account management and information services prior to joining Facebook in Spring 2016. Upon graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, Barbara was a freelance journalist for local publications in the area.
David Villa is the founder and CEO of iPD, a marketing, media and training firm that works with companies of all sizes and industries across the Unites States. He has 20 years of national sales and executive management experience that he brings to his company. Since the company was established in 1995 (incorporated in 2004), Villa and his wife of 24 years, Diana, are responsible for pioneering, growing and scaling iPD into one of the nation’s leading database management, business development, training, and intelligent marketing companies in the automotive industry and beyond.
In addition to being the CEO of iPD, Villa is a published motivational speaker. He specializes his training in the arenas of sales, leadership, and team building. Villa is also a host on “Auto Dealer Live,” a weekly radio show where dealers go to discuss relevant topics in the automotive industry. Villa is also a monthly Forbes Contributor.
Susan Scarola is President of National Foundation for Teen Safe Driving and an executive member of the Board of SADD, Students Against Destructive Decisions. Both organizations promote teen safe driving programs in partnership with businesses and other safety organizations. Scarola’s engagement with this work began at DCH Auto Group where she was instrumental in launching DCH’s cause marketing initiative while she served as President & CEO of DCH. This work exemplified DCH’s core values bringing together employees with local high school, business, and civic leaders, in pursuit of safety.
Scarola initially taught kindergarten in rural NY but quickly transitioned to business with a human resources role in a NYC engineering firm. She obtained her M.B.A. from NYU, joined KPMG and obtained her CPA license. DCH became her favorite client and she joined the DCH team in 1985 to solidify the group’s treasury functions and centralize administrative support for its varied operations. Her “people” skills were a critical asset as the senior team strategized for growth. Before assuming CEO responsibilities in 2007, Scarola was CFO. Finally, as Vice Chairman, Scarola spearheaded strategic initiatives culminating in the sale of DCH to Lithia Motors, Inc. in 2014.
She served on the Boards of both the NY Auto Dealers Association and the NJ Coalition of Automotive Retailers. She received the 2008 Women’s Automotive Association International Professional Achievement Award, the 2010 Women Certified Vision Award and was selected by Automotive News as one of the top 100 women in the North American auto industry in 2010. Scarola was included in NJ’s 2012 Best 50 Women in Business and received the 2014 Barbara Cox Anthony Automotive Women of the Year award. In 2015 Scarola was again recognized by WAAI with their Spirit of Leadership Award.
Jessica Roberts is a client partner and Tier 2 & 3 sales operations lead for Facebook’s Automotive team. She is responsible for onboarding partners and infrastructure to scale Facebook solutions across the regional and dealer ecosystem. Prior to her 7 years at Facebook, she worked for Omnicom agencies overseeing media efforts for national entertainment, travel and restaurant clients.
Dr. Martha E. Rader holds a PhD in Organizational Leadership. She is president of Rader Coaching, Training & Consulting, LLC and a certified coach and trainer specializing in leadership coaching, training and change management. She also conducts executive workshops on building positive productive culture. She is a Professor (MBA) at Keiser University, a published journal author and a Northwood University MBA alumna.
Skye Nguyen is a brand and marketing strategist. After spending nearly 20 years working in PR, marketing, and project management positions at Fortune 500 companies as well as at smaller marketing agencies, Skye truly understands the strength and power behind a brand. She works for NCM Associates as the Marketing & Communications Director responsible for developing digital, traditional, and content strategies to meet company objectives. She also serves on the Kansas State University Alumni Board and the Kansas City PMI Mid-America Chapter Board, and is an executive mentor to college students.
Barbara Moran-Goodrich, CEO and co-founded Moran Family of Brands and has over 30 years experience within the automotive industry. Moran is the franchisor of Mr. Transmission, Multistate Transmission, Dr. Nicks Transmission, Milex Complete Car Care and Alta Mere Automotive Outfitters. Currently there are over 120 franchise brands in 22 states offering co-brand and tri-brand opportunities.
Karris McKie-Kaiser is a third-generation future dealer at McKie Ford Lincoln in Rapid City, South Dakota. Karris began her career in 2007 and built from scratch a successful, regional Internet department that attracts consumers from more than five states. It is routinely ranked in the top three spots in the Denver Region for Ford. When Karris isn’t working, she can be found spending time with her husband and son.
Deb Krueger is the Client Care Center Manager for Treasure Coast Lexus and Toyota. She enjoys finding unique methods of keeping staff members motivated and trained. Working with the management team, she has been able to increase diversity awareness and create programs within the CCC to help women put their feet on the first rung of an upward-bound ladder to executive and front-line positions.
Eve Knudtsen is President of Knudtsen Chevrolet Co. in Post Falls, Idaho, to learn more about her path to success She is the third generation to own and operate the dealership her grandfather started in 1939.
Eve grew up in Coeur d’Alene, graduating from Coeur d’Alene High School. She attended North Idaho College and Northwood University. She has an Associate of Arts degree in Automotive Marketing and a Bachelors of Business Administration with majors in Economics and Management that she received from Northwood University. She completed that National Dealers Association Dealer Candidate Academy and is currently pursuing a Master Degree of Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University.
Eve has a long-standing passion for serving the community. She has served on numerous board and committees including past president of Concerned Businesses of North Idaho, and past chairman of the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce. She is currently the vice chairman of Jobs Plus Coeur d’Alene Area Economic Development Corporation and is the current Guardian of Bethel #7 Jobs Daughters International of Coeur d’Alene.
Eve is a past recipient of Soroptomist Woman of Distinction for Business and Professional and 2006 recipient of Time Magazine’s Quality Dealer of the Year for Idaho. She is committed to educational initiatives throughout North Idaho including having been one of the individuals that purchased the land for KTEC, a career technical high school serving three school districts.
Eve lives in Coeur d’Alene with her husband, Wayne Cofield, and daughters, Lauren Benedict and Kendra Cofield.
Bobbie Herron is responsible for the creation and implementation of digital marketing strategies and conversion best practices for dealers at ZMOT Drive, an exclusive consulting solution. Bobbie has spent over 16 years enjoying a diverse automotive career. She is a popular presenter at conferences, a guest lecturer at Northwood University and a named winner of the Automotive News “40 Under 40”.
Jenny Gray is a professional stylist who works with women across the country. Her approach to building a functional wardrobe has proven to work well for the woman that wants to create true change in her personal and professional image. Jenny’s blog, Empowered Style, has been recognized on Instagram and Facebook as one of the fastest-growing empowerment tools for women over 40.
Gabrielle Garrison is on Facebook’s Partner Manager Team focusing her efforts on automotive dealership strategy within the advertising space on Facebook and Instagram. With 7 years in the media business, Gabrielle has held positions in all aspects of the advertising space ranging from radio to traditional media and currently digital media. An alumnus of the University of South Florida in Tampa, Gabrielle got her start in advertising helping small businesses in Tampa succeed in their marketing objectives, and later moved to digital advertising for eBay.com helping brands such as Progressive, Ford, The Chrysler Group, Ronald McDonald House and State Farm just to name a few.
Shannon launched a revolutionary BDC Training program that has grown exponentially since inception, resulting in a 374% increase in training workshop attendance in a span of just four months. She is a powerful motivator for Gravitational Marketing who has coached hundreds of sales and marketing professionals (across the U.S. and Canada) each month over the phone, online and in person.
Mimi Braun is a Client Solutions Manager on Facebook’s Automotive team, specializing in Tier 2 and Tier 3 solutions. Her background is in process and program management, with 6 years of experience across multiple fields. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma, she began her career consulting and developing software for IBM, before moving to Facebook in March 2014 to work on scaled operations. Mimi has been focused on Automotive since January 2016.
With a passion for shaping ideas and marketplaces, Scotty co-founded SheBuysCars to change how women discuss and buy cars. This led her to be elected the first woman president of the International Motor Press Association. Prior, she wrote for the New York Times, Town & Country and Entrepreneur, co-authored “Stew Leonard, My Story” and produced the Luxury Summit conferences for American Express.
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.
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.
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.
Ted L. Smith
Ted has been President of the Florida Automobile Dealers Association (FADA) since 2001. He holds the following certifications: CAE (Certified Association Executive Fellow) from the American Society of Association Executives; and DPL (Designated Professional Lobbyist) as a member of the Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists. Ted manages the lobbying team at FADA and teaches at FADA Dealer Roadshows on legislative and regulatory developments. He also represents and advocates for dealers with consumer groups, the media, regulatory agencies, the Florida Legislature and Congress. His background also includes executive association management in the construction and insurance industries.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jennifer Briggs has 15 years experience Retail Management. Has received 3 National Awards for innovative digital sales, marketing, and management strategy; National speaker, trainer, and consultant who is a SME for Digital Marketing, BDC, Data Mining, and Sales Strategy in the Retail Automotive industry.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shari Fitzpatrick is the creator of the world’s famous line of gourmet-dipped strawberries, the renowned Shari’s Berries. Shari’s love affair with strawberries began as a little girl with a strawberry patch that her Father planted for her each summer. They quickly became her favorite fruit. Later while working as a mortgage broker in Los Angeles she began making potential clients handmade chocolate dipped strawberries. The incredible popularity of these memorable edible gifts soon outpaced the success of her original career. Her entrepreneurial path also led her to become a successful stockbroker and auto dealership finance manager.
In 1989, with a $1,500 cash advance, having just moved to a new town, Shari took her passion and hobby of chocolate dipping strawberries and turned it into a business.
An acclaimed inspirational speaker, and now author, Shari entertains audiences of all ages and backgrounds while sharing her down-to-earth, heartfelt business story. Appealing to anyone who has a dream, she’ll take your group on an emotional journey as she intertwines the successes in her life along with her mistakes. Shari’s new book, “Berried in Chocolate,” points out the importance of family, faith and fearlessness while revealing how God became her best business partner and that faith and street smarts can be just as useful as a college degree.
Today Shari’s new boutique brand of gourmet chocolate dipped gifts can be exclusively found at BerriedinChocolate.com and are shipped nationwide all year round.
For 25 years, Shari’s story and her creations have attracted international attention through appearances in O Magazine, on the Today Show, on Food Network, The Apprentice, In Style Magazine, People Magazine, The Price is Right, Wheel of Fortune, QVC, HSN and Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneurial Soul.
Ralph V. Gilles was appointed Head of Design, FCA – Global in April 2015.
Gilles has also served as the Senior Vice President – Product Design and President and CEO – Motorsports, FCA – North America; President and CEO – SRT Brand and President and CEO – Dodge brand for FCA US LLC. He was named Vice President – Design in September 2008.
Since first joining the Company in 1992 as a designer, Gilles has put his extensive academic background in industrial design and business administration to use, holding various positions within the Company, including:
• 2015 – current, Head of Design, FCA – Global
• 2011, President and CEO – Motorsports, FCA US LLC
• 2011, President and CEO – SRT Brand
• 2009, President and CEO – Dodge Brand
• 2009, Senior Vice President – Product Design, FCA – North America
• 2008, Vice President – Design, Chrysler LLC
• 2006, Vice President – Jeep®/Truck, Color and Trim Studios, and Specialty Vehicles, Chrysler LLC, DaimlerChrysler
• 2005, Director – Truck Exterior/Interior Design Studio
• 2001, Director – Design Office, Large Car Studio, Family Vehicles
• 1999, Senior Manager – Design Office, Studio 3
• 1998, Manager – Design Office, Jeep Interiors, Chrysler Corporation
• 1992, Designer – Design Office
Gilles is extremely active inside and outside the Company. He serves as the executive sponsor of the Chrysler African American Network (CAAN) in addition to playing a supporting role with The Chrysler Global Diversity Council. He also serves on the board of the Michigan Design Council. At his alma mater, The College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit, Gilles is a member of the CCS Board of Trustees and the CCS Capital Committee.
An avid car enthusiast who enjoys spending time at the track, go-karting and watching Formula One auto racing, Gilles has participated in the Mille Miglia, Targa Newfoundland Rally, the Car and Driver One Lap of America and the SRT Viper Cup Series. In addition, he has frequently served as a judge at various Concours d’Elegance events across the country including Pebble Beach, the Inn at St. John and Cranbrook, as well as the EyesOn Design car show.
Gilles has earned numerous academic and industry awards, including: The Michigan State University Eli Broad Graduate School of Management Young Alumni Achievement Award, The Automotive Hall of Fame Young Leadership & Excellence Award, NV Magazine Innovation Award, Black Engineer of the Year President’s Award and N’Digo Foundation N’Design Award.
Gilles holds a Master of Business Administration from Michigan State University (2002) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit (1992).
Gilles was born in New York City.
Sharon Lechter is a financial literacy expert, an entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, international speaker, licensed CPA, Chartered Global Management Accountant and, most importantly a mother and grandmother. A life-long education advocate, she is the founder and CEO of Pay Your Family First, a financial education organization dedicated to providing the tools and mentorship to support families, women, and entrepreneurs in reaching their greatest success around the globe. Regarded as a global expert on financial literacy, Sharon has served as a national spokeswoman and Presidential Advisor on the topic.
Sharon has been a pioneer in developing new technologies, programs and products to bring education into children’s lives in ways that are innovative, challenging and fun, and remains committed to education – particularly financial literacy. In 1989 she joined forces with the inventor of the first electronic ‘talking book’ and helped him expand the electronic book industry to a multi-million dollar international market.
In 1997 Sharon co-authored the international bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad, along with 14 other books in the Rich Dad series. Over 10 years as co-Founder and CEO she led the Rich Dad Company and brand into an international powerhouse. In 2008 she was asked by the Napoleon Hill Foundation to help re-energize the powerful teachings of Napoleon Hill just as the international economy was faltering. She has released three bestselling books in cooperation with the Foundation, including Think and Grow Rich-Three Feet from Gold, Outwitting the Devil and Think and Grow Rich for Women. Sharon has also released Save Wisely, Spend Happily, in cooperation with the American Institute of CPAs.
Her financial literacy board game ThriveTime for Teens, an innovative experiential and fun life and money reality game, has gained recognition with coveted awards including a Mom’s Choice GOLD Award, Creative Child Magazine’s 2010 Game of The Year, Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Product and a five-star rating from WTS Toy Reviews. Sharon is recognized globally as an expert on the topics of financial education and entrepreneurship. She is the author of Your Financial Mastery, a financial education college curriculum and recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education “#1 Book of the Year” award presented by the Financial Literacy Institute.
In 2008 Sharon was appointed to the first President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. The Council served both President Bush and President Obama advising them on the need for financial literacy education. In 2009 Sharon was appointed to the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission as a national spokesperson on the topic of financial literacy and was reappointed in 2014.
A committed philanthropist, Sharon also gives back to world communities as both a volunteer and benefactor. Sharon serves on the national board of the Women Presidents’ Organization, and the national board of Childhelp, a national organization founded to prevent and treat child abuse. Sharon has also been an Instructor for Thunderbird School of Global Management for both its Artemis Program and its partnership with the U.S. Department of State and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women program. Sharon was the driving force behind the passage of Arizona SB1449 in June of 2013, a bill that requires financial literacy concepts to permanently be incorporated into economics standards and created a separate statue for those concepts.
Sharon’s contributions have been recognized globally. Childhelp has honored Sharon and her husband, Michael, as recipients of the Spirit of the Children Award. Sharon was recognized by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of 2013’s 25 Dynamic Women in Business, and by National Bank of Arizona with the 2013 Woman of the Year award and Arizona Business Magazine as one of the 50 most Influential Women in Arizona Business. In 2015 Sharon was honored by Florida State University’s Women for FSU with a Gift of Wisdom Award, Women Presidents’ Organization with the Mary Lehman MacLachlan Economic Empowerment award and by the National Financial Educators Council as the Financial Educator of the Year for 2015. Sharon was also honored with the prestigious 2015 International Profilo Donna Award by Profile Woman.
In 2016, Sharon was inducted into the Personal Growth Hall of Fame, as the first woman to join the industry greats of Bob Proctor, Les Brown and Denis Waitley. In addition, Sharon was honored by a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Habitude Warriors Conference. Sharon won the Gold Medal in the 2016 Money Games sponsored by GoBankingRates.com. For more information, please visit www.sharonlechter.com.
Jeffery Tobias Halter
Jeffery Tobias Halter is a gender strategist and the President of YWomen, a strategic consulting company focused on engaging men in women’s leadership issues. YWomen focuses on driving actionable business plans and strategies to help organizations create Integrated Women’s Leadership Strategies along with strategies to disrupt unconscious gender bias. Jeffery is the former Director of Diversity Strategy for The Coca-Cola Company.
A featured keynote speaker, Jeffery is author of two books, WHY WOMEN, The Leadership Imperative to Advancing Women and Engaging Men and Selling to Men, Selling to Women. He is a contributing writer to HuffPost, New York Daily News, Working Mother magazine and is a two-time TEDx speaker. His work has been profiled in Forbes, US News & World Report and The Atlantic. He is a regular contributor to Fox Business Radio and Good Morning Charlotte.
Recently Jeffery introduced two initiatives designed to drive male engagement and gender dialogue in the workforce. His Father of Daughter Initiative, 10 Simple Things Men Can Do Support Women’s Leadership Advancement outlines daily actions men can make to advocate for women at work. His bi-weekly newsletter, Gender Conversation Quickstarters is designed to help organizations have more effective discussions about gender and diversity in the workplace.
His clients and best practice work includes two Catalyst award winning companies, The Coca-Cola Company and Kimberly-Clark as well as Mercedes-Benz USA, McDonald’s, Deloitte, Novartis, GE, Walmart, and dozens of other Fortune 500 companies. He has taught Business Communications at Georgia State University and has been a guest lecturer at The Goizueta Business School at Emory University and the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University. He was a Panelist at the World Diversity Leadership Summit at Harvard University and led workshops at the Global Summit of Women in Athens Greece.
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/
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”.
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”.
Award-winning Talent Management Executive and Senior Level Change Leader with expertise directing global organizations to success through consultative partnerships and strategic business engagement.
Nicole Ashe leads the Talent Organization for Cox Automotive, which includes the Global Learning, Organizational Development, Performance Management, Diversity & Inclusion and Culture teams. Her organization supports over 35,000 team members across the globe.
Today, Nicole’s teams are focused on attracting, developing, progressing and retaining talent across Cox Automotive.
Most recently, Nicole served as Vice President of Talent Management and prior to that was Sr. Director of Cox Automotive Global Learning, and led learning for all team members across the organization.
Before joining the Cox family of companies in 2014, Nicole held various executive leadership positions with Fortune 500 companies including Delta Dental Insurance Company, Cbeyond, Wachovia Bank & Bank of America.
Nicole is an award-winning Talent Management leader with more than 23 years of professional experience. Under her direction, teams have won the coveted Association for Talent Development’s (ATD) BEST Award and Training Magazine’s Top 125 award—both sought after, industry specific distinctions.
Dr. Emily Letran came to the US at the age of 13 as a refugee from Vietnam. She is a UCLA dentist with two multi-specialty group practices in Southern California. She is the author of several books, a speaker and Certified High Performance Coach dedicated to helping business professionals maximize their potential in personal and business life – and building great team cultures.
Bill serves as a partner of ELEAD1ONE, the leading dealership software provider in today’s automotive market. He has over 20 years experience in the automotive space and currently oversees multiple divisions within the organization, including sales, marketing, OEM relationships and large-client accounts.
Highly regarded as a dynamic and motivational speaker, as well as an industry leader with non-traditional views, Wittenmyer speaks at several prominent automotive forums each year and contributes to top news publications and television business shows that reach industry business leaders across the U.S.
Prior to joining ELEAD1ONE, Bill spent several years in the automotive retail space holding various retail positions in operations management. He earned his degree from Ashland University and took post-graduate courses at Georgia Southern University.
Tracie Maloney is a Vice President at Audi Atlanta proudly serving the city of Atlanta and surrounding areas. After starting her automotive career at Crescent City Motors in New Orleans, Louisiana, Tracie joined the team at Audi Atlanta and has remained with the dealership for nearly twenty years. She started in Audi Atlanta’s sales department and served as Assistant Manager, Sales Manager, General Sales Manager and General Manager before assuming her current role in 2015. As a vice president, Tracie oversees a staff of 140 employees and plays a vital role in hiring, forecasting, training and managing Audi Atlanta’s day-to-day operations. Additionally, Tracie closely monitors the dealership’s overall performance, including SSI and CSI scores and online customer reviews. With a degree in Business Administration from Southeastern Louisiana University, Tracie serves on various councils within the Audi of America organization. She strives to empower and educate her team to handle any challenge they may face at the dealership. Tracie oversees a diverse team at Audi Atlanta including a leadership team where women make up 30% of the members. When she is not at the office, Tracie enjoys spending time with her husband and children. She also loves to disconnect from technology by spending weekends on the family’s farm in Alabama. She enjoys traveling and has been given the opportunity to travel all over the world with Audi. Tracie also served as a board member for Our House, Inc. Our House is a childcare and support center for homeless families in Decatur, GA.
Ashley Lepczyk is a Senior Strategist on Google’s Auto Retail team. She collaborates with dealers, dealer groups, & OEMs to consult on Google’s digital solutions to develop effective and scalable programs that support the brand and drive results. She co-leads Women@Google in Detroit, & has a particular soft spot for connecting with and empowering other women (especially working moms!).
With over 17 years creating & spearheading media strategies for Fortune 500 companies, Anya is a Senior Business Lead in Google’s Auto vertical, partnering with advertisers to develop digital solutions that build their businesses & brands. She is passionate about promoting women in the workplace, and volunteers to facilitate “Stretch,” a Google training focused on empowering women professionally.
Krissy is Head of Industry at Google, leading the GM US partnership. With over 15 years of Auto experience, she spent her last 10 years helping OEMs with Google strategy and activation levers in the US and globally. She chairs Women@ in Detroit, with a focus of helping female employees enhance their presence and leadership skills, and inspiring young girls to pursue careers in Computer Science.
As Google’s Senior Auto Retail Strategist, Kelly coaches clients to make the most of the web by reaching in-market shoppers with the right message at the right time. She has keynoted Digital Dealer, DMSC, Google’s Auto Retail Summit & numerous OEM conferences. Prior to joining Google, she spent 9 years at ESPN. She is a thinkLA Person of the Year award winner and leads GoogleServe in her office.