Large Turnout, Top Speakers Highlight Successful Inaugural Women in Automotive Conference

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The purpose of the conference was to assist the automotive community in recruiting, retaining and developing female employees and leaders.

Big Crowd for Women in Automotive Conference

We made history. We showed the automotive industry it's time for women to take a seat at the table!

More than 300 professionals from across the country attended the inaugural Women in Automotive Conference, a unique opportunity for gaining new insight on an industry hot topic. Held in downtown Orlando in mid-August, the conference included speakers, breakout sessions, workshops and booth displays.

The purpose of the conference was to assist the automotive community in recruiting, retaining and developing female employees and leaders. According to NADA statistics, women make up less than one-fifth of employees at auto dealerships.

“I cannot thank the attendees, sponsors and board members enough,” said Women in Automotive founder Christy Roman. “Having the opportunity to listen to – and learn from – some of the most influential people in our industry has given us an increased knowledge base and a renewed sense of confidence and purpose as we look forward.”

Keynote speaker Lisa Copeland, an expert in the field of automotive marketing and management for more than 25 years, spoke on her career as a pioneer in the automotive business and why the conference was critical. “We made history. We showed the automotive industry it's time for women to take a seat at the table!” said Copeland, Managing Partner of Fiat of Austin, the top Fiat retailer in North America.

Fellow keynote speaker Tammy Darvish, well-known for her 30-year management career at DARCARS Automotive Group, discussed how the role of women in automotive has changed over time, and how women are more critical to the industry today than ever before. Darvish called on all to “become engaged and get involved in being a part of something rather than subject to it.” Darvish is currently Executive Vice President of PenFed Credit Union.

The crowd heard from more than more 50 speakers, including professional race car driver and entrepreneur Shea Holbrook and Celeste D. Briggs, Director of Women’s Retail Network for General Motors, who had high praise for the event. “I look forward to participating in future conferences and getting the best-kept secret into the mainstream – there is a place for women in automotive!”

A host of top companies in the automobile industry aligned as sponsors for this first-ever conference. They included Cars.com, Hendrick Automotive, AutoNation, Asbury Automotive, BASF, Florida Automobile Dealers Association, True Car, Autobytel and Ally Auto.

The Women in Automotive Conference was founded by board members Christy Roman, President of NOW Digital; Joni Stuker, President of Owner Connect; Jody DeVere, CEO of AskPatty.com; Kathy Gilbert, Director of Sales & Business Development of CDK Global; and Subi Ghosh, Executive Vice President of Dealer Authority, in partnership with JKR Automotive Advertising out of Orlando. Its mission is to assist the automotive community on recruiting, retaining, and developing female employees and leaders.

For more information, please visit WomeninAutomotive.com.

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Dean Turcol