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June 16, 2015

Women in Automotive Conference Taps Industry Thought-Leaders for Inaugural Conference

WIAlogoThe first-ever Women in Automotive Convention will draw upon top female success stories as it assists the automotive community in recruiting, retaining, and developing female employees and leaders. Women make up just 17% of employees at auto dealerships according to NADA – and organizers of the conference are working diligently to raise this number, beginning with this event.

The conference is set for Tuesday through Thursday, August 18-20, 2015, at the Ballroom at Church Street in downtown Orlando, Florida. The three-day conference includes a recruiting event, speakers, breakout sessions, workshops, and booth displays – all centered on the goal of educating and inspiring women in all areas of the automotive industry.


Tammy Darvish from PenFed, Lisa Copeland from Fiat Alfa Romeo of Austin, and Shea Holbrook, professional race car driver have been announced as headline speakers.


Tammy_Darvish-Headshot-sTamara Darvish is Executive Vice President of PenFed Credit Union, the 3rd largest Credit Union in the world, serving over 1.3 million members and assets in excess of $20 billion. Her responsibilities including overseeing all business development, branding, marketing, member experience, government and community affairs globally. She joined the PenFed Credit Union’s Executive Team having recently left her 30-year post as Executive Vice President of the DARCARS Automotive Group, which includes more than 30 franchises in the Greater Washington DC Community and was one of the top 20 groups in the U.S.

She has also served on the Board of National Automobile Dealers Association representing more than 17,000 franchised automobile dealerships across the country and is a graduate of Northwood University where she earned an Honorary Doctorate Degree, a Bachelor’s in Business Administration, and an Associate’s Degree in Automotive Marketing and Management.


Shea-holbrook-race-car-driver-0272c-headshot-sShea Holbrook is a 25-year-old professional female racecar driver, business woman and co-owner of Shea Racing, spokeswoman and entrepreneur with a passion for motorsport, marketing, and mentorship. “Fear is a state of mind, will is an action taken.” Shea lives by this quote and believes through commitment and determination, anything is possible.

Her first mark in history was when she won the Long Beach Grand Prix in 2011 becoming the first female to win a major Touring Car race at the venue. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Marketing from the University of Central Florida in May of 2012. That same year she became a part of the TRUECar Racing Women Empowered Initiative.  She is currently competing in the Pirelli World Challenge as well as piloting a jet dragster in the IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series at speeds approaching 300mph.


Lisa_Copeland-6407-headshot-sLisa Copeland is Managing Partner of Fiat of Austin, the brand’s top retailer since its return to North America. Attendees will hear the inspirational journey of her success in the male-dominated industry. Under her leadership, Fiat of Austin was named the #6 Best Workplace in North America by Automotive News in 2013.

“The topic of women in the automotive industry hits very close to home for me, because for women, the struggle is real,” Copeland said. “The event’s organizers are women who have been in the automotive industry for many years, and I am honored to be part of this precedent-setting event.”


About the Women in Automotive Conference

The Women in Automotive Conference was founded by Christy Roman of NOW Digital; Joni Stuker, President of Owner Connect; Jody Devere, CEO, Inc.; Kathy Gilbert, Director of Sales & Business Development, CDK Global, LLC.; and Subi Ghosh, Executive Vice President, Dealer Authority. The goal of the conference is to facilitate cultural changes inside dealerships and increase the population of female employees.

More speakers and workshops will be announced soon. For more information to register or become a sponsor for the convention, please visit or contact Susan Givens via email at or phone 502-802-5608.

Women in Automotive Conference
217 S Swoope Ave
Maitland FL 32751

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