Several employees from JKR and sister company NOW Digital attended this week’s inaugural Women in Automotive Conference. Held at the Ballroom at Church Street in downtown Orlando, the conference included speakers, breakout sessions, workshops and booth displays. More than 300 professionals from across the country made the trip to the Sunshine State to attend the event.
“The Women in Automotive conference was not only eye opening as far as opportunities for women to grow in the Automotive Industry, but inspiring and uplifting,” said JKR Senior Account Executive Jennifer Pavlak. “What an incredible way to focus, recharge, and energize all of us to be even more than we thought possible!”
Her colleague, Jennifer Lawrence, agrees. “The speakers spent time on how to attract more women to automotive, and they also did a very nice job of showing there were a number of great opportunities besides just selling cars,” she said. “Women have come a long way in the auto industry, but we’re still not where we need to be. I was glad to see so much open discussion, and it all tied back to the idea that we need to support and help each other.”
About Women in Automotive
The conference was set up to assist the automotive community in recruiting, retaining and developing female employees and leaders. (According to various data, women make up approximately 17-25% of employees at auto dealerships.)
There were three separate tracks from which attendees could choose:
(1) Leadership: A track designed for dealership leaders looking to attract, recruit and retain female employees; and develop female leaders for their organizations.
(2) Personal: From dealer to vendor, service providers, consultants, students and beyond, these sessions were designed for networking with other women in automotive; and also provided professional development, career and educational opportunities, personal growth and branding, as well as discussions on the unique challenges women face.
(3) Retail: This important track addressed how to market and sell to women, including studies to better understand the female buyer, thereby focusing on creating loyalty for increased retention.
Speakers included Tammy Darvish, Executive VP at PenFed Credit Union who held a variety of management positions at the DARCARS Automotive Group; Lisa Copeland, Managing Partner of Fiat of Austin, the brand’s top retailer since its return to North America; Shea Holbrook, professional racecar driver and entrepreneur; Celeste D. Briggs, Director of Women’s Retail Network for General Motors; and Susan Scarola, former Vice Chairman of the DCH and Lithia Automotive Groups and current President of the National Foundation for Teen Safe Driving.
Both JKR and NOW Digital were major sponsors for the event.
Women in Automotive was founded by Board Members Christy Roman of NOW Digital; Joni Stuker, President of Owner Connect; Jody DeVere, CEO AskPatty.com, Inc.; Kathy Gilbert, Director of Sales & Business Development, CDK Global, LLC.; and Subi Ghosh, Executive Vice President, Dealer Authority.