Who We Are
Women in Automotive was founded by six industry female leaders in partnership with JKR Advertising out of Orlando. The group is particularly interested in empowering and developing women in the auto industry. The philosophy is that this benefits both the women and the dealerships and will help facilitate the training and hiring of more females in dealerships.
Currently, the percentage of female employees remains stagnant at just 17% of all employees (according to NADA 2014 data). A major recruiter mentioned that they have received over 1,000,000 resumes, of which 40%+ were from women – but only 1 out of 4 is actually hired by dealers. Whether that’s a function of the job requirements or dealer preference, Women In Auto is committed to bringing the two sides together. On the dealer side, by training and educating them on how to create a balanced position for women, and for women – by providing them a network and opportunities for skill set development.
Assisting the Automotive Community in recruiting, retaining, and developing female employees and leaders.
What We Offer
Carefully crafted agenda to educate and inspire women in all areas of the automotive industry
Informational and empowering breakout sessions to educate and share
The opportunity to learn about other women’s journeys in the automotive industry.
Booths highlighting educational opportunities and women’s networks within Automotive
Cocktail and networking receptions and meals in the exhibit hall
Women in Automotive Expands Impact in 2017 – Adds West Coast Conference
Orlando, FL – Women in Automotive (WIA), an organization founded to accelerate the role of women in the automotive industry, is expanding its annual conference to two venues with the addition of a West Coast location in 2017.
This year’s schedule kicks off with WIA’s annual conference in Orlando, Florida, July 9-11. This is the third straight year Orlando has hosted the event. The inaugural West Coast event is scheduled for December 10-11 in Palm Springs, CA.
Women in Automotive has quickly grown to be one of the country’s most crucial and influential conferences for the automotive industry. It is already being recognized as the destination for the automotive community to gain insight on recruiting, retaining and developing female employees and leaders; and also touches on the all-important aspects of selling and marketing to female consumers.
Attendance grew 36% year-over-year from the 2015 event, sparking discussions regarding the addition of another conference. Founder Christy Roman says two yearly shows will give the WIA additional chances to educate and empower the automotive community on leadership and trends positively impacting employment and sales growth within the female market.
“It’s clear that there are large numbers of women – and men – who are interested in facilitating the hiring and training of females in automobile dealerships as indicated by our attendance jump,” Roman said. “Over the past year, we’ve received a number of requests from individuals and companies on the West Coast asking us when Women in Automotive would have a conference in their area. That’s why the California location was chosen.”
Early Bird registrations for the Orlando event are already available at the WIA Website, www.womeninautomotive.com. The Orlando conference will be held at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, while the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Palm Springs will host the California event.
This year’s two events will include seminars, workshops and keynote speakers. The goal is to move the automotive industry forward as it relates to one of most influential segments of the market: women. Regardless of gender, all automotive professionals are encouraged to attend one or both of these unique seminars to gain insight and knowledge regarding this critical industry topic.
Speakers, seminars and workshop topics will be announced in the coming months. For more information, please visit WomeninAutomotive.com
WIA Board Members
An entrepreneur with a background in advertising sales, management and a few online start-ups, Christy Roman has a unique perspective on advertising as it pertains to automotive and the Internet. Her claim to fame was developing and monetizing the Partnership Program (now the Premium Program) dealer initiative at AutoTrader.com, which turned them into a classified advertising powerhouse – and now generates hundreds of millions of dollars. She is also the founder of Women in Automotive, which provides events and training designed to empower women in the industry and help dealers hire and retain women as employees. Past roles include ad agency owner and business development; sales and management for newspaper and cable advertising; piloting the one-time AOL Time-Warner multi-media cross-selling initiative; Regional Sales Manager for Who’s Calling, and consulting for television stations to help them develop online revenue streams. She sold the automotive division of Now Marketplace, Inc. in 2014 to form a new company with JKR Advertising called Now Digital, Inc. The digital agency continues to be a one-stop shop for dealers and local businesses wanting to maximize the Internet as an effective form of advertising.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Katy Wolda serves as a training manager at Cars.com, a leading online automotive marketplace. In her role, she educates customers and our growing sales force about the automotive landscape, digital marketing strategies and dealership best practices. An 18-year veteran of the automotive industry, Wolda trains nearly 10,000 industry members each year across the country.
Prior to joining Cars.com in 2013, Wolda worked with AutoNation, one of the nation?s largest public dealership groups, where she excelled at every level of automotive retail. Her experience includes roles such as dealership manager, BDC manger and national program leader, with an emphasis on both sales and fixed operations. During her tenure, she was integral in the successful rollout of the company?s customer relationship management system and standardization of both sales and service processes.
Wolda earned a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Special Education from University of Nebraska-Lincoln and spent several years working as a special education teacher prior to entering the automotive business.
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/
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.
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 33,000 team members.
Most recently, Nicole served as Sr. Director of Cox Automotive Global Learning, and led learning for Inventory Solutions, Retail Solutions, Client Success and People Strategies. In 2016 Nicole and her team successfully implemented the Client Experience program, Heads Up, which prepared our auction team members to provide stellar service to our clients. This program resulted in our client engagement scores up by 3 points, which positively impacted revenue.
Before joining the Cox family of companies, 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.
Why a Women’s Conference?
The industry focuses quite about on certain niche segments. There are conferences for any major theme in automotive digital, leadership, finance, marketing, sales, etc. These events serve as great platforms for discussion, debate, networking and most importantly innovation. People who attend these events are pushed and challenged and filled with the information of the changes and progress in those fields. They find themselves growing every year. So, the real question is… why not a women’s conference?
Women are an under-served population in this industry when it comes to those needs and having those platforms. There is significant growth in the number of women working in automotive and attending conferences and seminars. With women only making up 2.8% of all dealerships and only holding 7% of the managerial, sales, and service advisor positions, the Women in Automotive Group feels passionately about providing a place for women to come together to share and learn.
We want to provide an experience that discusses challenges, changes, opportunities for education, personal branding, and career paths. A first of its kind conference serving women that make up all aspects of the industry, Women in Automotive is a stepping stone to the greater growth of women in this space in leadership roles.
Why should automotive dealers send their employees?
- Scientific data is proving the effect women have on sales, sales management, and service advisor roles.
- The value of this conference is OFF THE CHARTS! We have kept costs low with the purpose of making it possible for women to attend. The speakers, topics, breakout sessions, and educational opportunities far exceed the cost of sending their employees.
- Developing the employees they find potential in can help motivate and drive the momentum of their departments.
- Reason 4 : Retention statistic?
- Reason 5: A page of stats?
What makes WIA unique as a conference?
Outside the obvious reason, this conference was designed carefully by passionate women discussing the most important topics for this specific population. Speakers did not apply and speaking roles were not purchased. The agenda consists of important topics for women, how to overcome challenges, and invited guests to speak on chosen topics. This conference is 100% designed to help further the discussions between women, address challenges, continue to educate, and move our industry forward!