Today’s technology is rapidly changing the way we view our transportation needs moving forward into the future. The introduction of electric cars, shared cars, and cars without drivers create an endless progression of new technologies addressing the way we plan to meet the challenge of our changing transportation needs in the future. Having been an automotive retailer for more than 30 years, it’s exciting to see the affect that all this new innovation is going to have on the consumer.
During my visit to the Connected Car Expo at the Los Angeles Auto Show, there was one form of technological progression on this super highway of change that I found particularly interesting and that really grabbed my attention: The 3D-printed, fully electric LM3D Swim automobile offered by Local Motors.
Five accomplished industry women have been chosen to receive the esteemed 2016 Spirit of Leadership Award. Established in 1999, the WAAI's "Spirit of Leadership" award is presented annually to professional women in the automotive industry in recognition of their significant accomplishments in their profession, community, and family.
These women have dedicated their life to their profession and to giving back to others; and they serve as mentors and are role models to us all. Sustained superior performance, community involvement, influence and support of other women within the automotive industry are just some of the qualities these women possess. A Spirit of Leadership award is given for three automotive business sectors: 1) manufacturer, 2) dealership, and 3) supplier.
This year’s honorees represent diverse segments of the auto industry:
Mandi Fang vAuto, VP, Product Management Mandi Fang is vice president of product management for vAuto. She oversees the ongoing development, growth and innovation of the company’s new and used vehicle inventory management solutions for dealers and OEMs. In this role, Mandi works closely with key internal and external stakeholders to prioritize and pursue product initiatives that advance the goals of vAuto and Cox Automotive business units to better serve dealer customers. Prior to vAuto, Mandi successfully held product development, management, customer relationship and sales roles with automotive industry leaders Reynolds & Reynolds and Digital Motorworks, earning multiple awards for her service. Mandi received her Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Morehead State University.
Shellie Medici FCA, Commodity Manager Shellie Medici has a long history with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, having started with Chrysler more than 25 years ago. As a Commodity Manager, Shellie is responsible for the direct management of Corporate Outsourcing Initiatives, consulting services, and purchase services. In 2008, Shellie was honored with the “Champion of Supplier Diversity” Award acknowledging her significant contributions to supplier diversity by The Chrysler Foundation. Shellie is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration.
Christy Roman Founder of Women in Automotive Conference A founding partner also of Women in Automotive, Christy Roman also works with other female industry leaders to create events aimed at empowering and developing women in auto. 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. Christy is a member of the Ask Patty Female Speaker's Bureau, and has been a past speaker at multiple dealer conferences including Digital Dealer, PCG Digital Boot Camp, AutoCon, Dealer 20 Groups, Dealer Think Tank, and Joni Stuker Training. Christy holds Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
Kathy Gilbert Director of Sales and Business Development for CDK Global, Inc Kathy Gilbert is the Director of Sales and Business Development for CDK Global, Inc (formerly ADP Dealer Services). She has management responsibility for the CDK Minority and Women Dealer Business(es) which includes 1,500 clients across the United States with roughly $60M in revenue. Kathy has over 20 years with CDK, where she has held positions in Product Marketing, Field Sales – Northeast, Sales Operations & Support and Competitive Intelligence. Kathy is an advocate for all clients, especially our minority and women dealers. Kathy continues to partner with internal and external stakeholders to deliver unique, personalized experiences for our clients and to showcase our products and services.
Michelle Primm Cascade Auto Group Michelle Primm began her automotive career as a high school student doing filing for the service department at Cascade Auto Group 40 years ago. During high school summer breaks, she worked in Parts then moved to the office during college. After completing her Bachelor of Business Administration degrees in Finance and Economics at Kent State University she became Business Manager, then General Manager. Currently Managing Partner, Michelle is a graduate of the NADA Dealer Candidate Academy. She has represented Women Dealers on the NADA Board of Directors for more than eight years; in 2015 she was honored by Crain's Cleveland Business as "A Woman of Note," and received the Barbara Cox Anthony Automotive Woman of the Year Award from Cox Automotive. She has also volunteered for the "Youth for Understanding USA" organization for more than 15 years.
These five women will be honored at the 17th Annual Spirit of Leadership Awards Reception on Saturday, April 2, 2016, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the D Hotel in Las Vegas, during which attendees will also enjoy an exciting Automotive Art Experience with renowned artist Daniel Cascardo. The reception is being held in conjunction with the 2016 NADA Convention. A portion of the event proceeds will be contributed to the WAAI International Scholarship Program, which provides tuition assistance to qualified students pursuing careers in the automotive industry. A special presentation will also be made to a local nonprofit organization to help women.
"We are honored to be able to award these outstanding women who have shown exemplary leadership in both their personal and professional lives", says Lynn Wilhelm, President and CEO of the Women's Automotive Association International. "We salute their efforts and accomplishments and hope they will continue to inspire more to excel in the industry. We also extend deep appreciation to Cox Automotive as our presenting sponsor and Northwood University for their outstanding support of our Spirit of Leadership Awards Reception.”
Founded in 1995, WAAI focuses on recognizing the achievements of women in the automotive industry, providing networking and relationship-building opportunities, and encouraging growth through mentoring, educational endeavors and scholarships.
For additional information on the awards reception, including sponsorship and advertising opportunities, and to purchase tickets, visit the WAAI website, www.waai.com. Or email to Lynn Wilhelm, WAAI president, email@example.com, or call 248.646.5250.
A success in its first year, the Women in Automotive Conference is gearing up for a bigger event in 2016 to assist the automotive community in recruiting, retaining, and developing female employees and leaders.
Founded to accelerate the role of women in the automotive industry, the Women in Automotive group has announced that its second annual conference is set for June 26-28 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate in Orlando, Florida.
With winter temperatures continuing to drop, exposure to the cold can cause serious or life-threatening health problems for young children -- many of whom must walk several blocks to school in snowy winter weather.
In an effort to help children stay warm this winter, Mittens for Detroit (MFD), a charity that’s known for warming hearts two hands at a time, and the Fiat Chrysler Group have kicked off a “mitten drop” campaign intended to provide a new pair of mittens or gloves to more than 26,000 Detroit Public School elementary students.
If you haven't finished your Christmas shopping yet, you've got more to worry about than the crowds in the stores; you've also got to deal with finding a spot in a crowded parking lot.
Although it is estimated there are more than 800 million parking spaces in the United States (that's about three for every automobile), finding one during the busy holiday season is often a challenge. Airports, shopping malls, train stations, and downtown parking facilities seem packed.
New data shows where men and women are paying different monthly prices for the same exact car. According to research from Swapalease.com, the nation’s largest car lease marketplace, monthly car payments vary based on both car and gender.
While conventional wisdom has often thought of women as having less negotiating power than men, a recent analysis of car payments shows women often have lower monthly payments on similar vehicles. Although monthly payments varied from vehicle to vehicle, women appear to be spending less each month on their cars.
Holiday driving can cause more than road rage – it can wreak havoc on relationships. Whether stuck in Thanksgiving traffic or riding for hours with the in-laws, the “most wonderful time of the year” has serious potential to turn family fun into family feud.
Last Thanksgiving, AAA predicted 46.3 million Americans traveled more than 50 miles from home – the greatest distance in nearly a decade. Now, with drivers enjoying the lowest gas prices in five years, AAA estimates 90 percent of Americans will celebrate the holidays this year with a road trip. But fear not – avoiding common road frustrations is often as simple as minding your manners, even before you arrive at Grandmother’s house for dinner.
Audi and TOMS are joining forces to make the holidays merrier and brighter. New-car shoppers who purchase or lease a new or certified pre-owned Audi vehicle before January 8, 2016*, will receive an offer for a pair of exclusively-designed TOMS sunglasses featuring Audi's four-ring logo.
For every pair of Audi x TOMS TRAVELER sunglasses, TOMS will help restore sight to a person in need as part of their "One for One" #GiveSight program. According to TOMS.com/seasonofaudi, 285 million people are blind or visually impaired, but 80 percent of them don’t have to be. By providing sight-saving eye care, this program will help some of these people regain their vision and return to their daily lives.