The future is bright for women pursuing a career in automotive retail.
There are a lot more women taking the leadership wheel at the dealership and they are not glancing in their rearview mirrors as they blaze a trail for themselves and other women in this traditionally male-dominated industry. If you don’t believe us, check out Automotive News’ list of 100 Leading Women in the North American Automotive Industry.
As that list demonstrates, dealerships are a great place for women for develop a career and succeed professionally. NADA’s Women Driving Auto Retail initiative aims to amplify the voices of women working in the automotive retail industry and increase female employment in dealerships.
With that in mind, here are a few of our favorite female auto dealers who are helping to shape the industry and NADA:
Juanita Powell Baranco, Baranco Automotive Group: The Baranco Automotive Group, which Baranco co-founded with her husband Gregory in 1978, was one of the first African-American owned car dealerships in the metropolitan Atlanta area. The Barancos, which now includes daughter Grené, own several car dealerships, including Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead. Juanita was recently named a Georgia Trustee, the state’s highest honor, while Grené was the recipient of the third annual "Ally Sees Her" award in recognition of her automotive leadership and commitment to community and diversity.
Sheilah Garcia, The Garcia Automotive Group: Garcia took over the dealership when her husband died in 1984 and expanded the business over the years. She made history as the first woman to win the Time Dealer of the Year Award at the 1992 NADA Convention. Today, the Garcia Automotive Group is run by her three sons—Ed, Toby and Carlos—who oversee 15 franchises across 13 locations in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, N.M., and El Paso, Texas. In 2019, Garcia was named The Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce’s Business Person of the Year.
Amanda Gordon, GoJo Auto: Gordon has been in the auto retail industry since 2002, working her way from the sales floor to a general manager position. In 2018, she started her own dealership, GoJo Auto, with a $10,000 loan from her mother. She is the first Black woman to own a dealership in Colorado. Last summer, she hit the $1 million sales mark and started a non-profit, Women of Color Automotive Network.
Susan Moffitt, Moffitt Automotive: The daughter of a dealership owner, Moffitt began working at her father Fred’s store at the age of 14. Today, Moffitt shares ownership of Moffitt Automotive with her three siblings. The group oversees dealerships in Bossier City and Shreveport, representing Audi, Mazda, Porsche and Volkswagen. In February 2020, Susan Moffitt was named the Time Dealer of the Year, the fourth woman to receive the award in the program’s more than 50-year history.
Annette Sykora, Smith Auto Family: Sykora began her automotive retail career working as a title clerk at her family’s Texas dealership when she was just a teenager. After college, Sykora returned to the dealership, becoming financial services manager, then general manager, and ultimately dealer principal. In 2008, Sykora was named NADA Chairwoman, the first woman to lead the organization. Today, Smith Auto Family has two dealerships in Levelland and Slaton, and recently purchased another dealership in Plainview.
Jody Teuton, Kenworth of Louisiana: Teuton is the co-founder of Kenworth of Louisiana, a heavy-duty truck dealership group representing both Kenworth and Hino truck brands in Gray, Harahan, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe, Port Allen, and Shreveport, La. Before devoting her professional career to the retail auto and truck business in 1997, she practiced law locally in South Louisiana. In 2018, Teuton became the first chairwoman of the American Truck Dealers (ATD) serving as the lead advocate for franchised medium- and heavy-duty new-truck dealers.
Athena Staton, SheCar: SheCar is a woman-owned and operated online car dealership created to help women and men trust––even love––their car buying experience. CEO and Founder Athena Staton grew up in the car business, starting with a high school job as a greeter at a Chevrolet dealership in Fort Lauderdale. Alongside SheCar, Staton has established, SheCARE, a non-profit 501 (c)(3) that donates reliable and safe cars to women who are survivors of domestic violence or abuse.
Grace Huang, Manheim, Inc.: As president of Manheim, Inc., Huang leads the world's largest wholesale auto auction based on trade volume with 145 auctions located in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Under her leadership, Manheim has ramped up its digital investments, switching to more online auto auctions and acquiring Fyusion, a computer vision company that can produce detailed, high-resolution images.
Chrissy Taylor, Enterprise Holdings: A 20-year veteran with the world’s largest car rental operator, Taylor was named CEO of Enterprise Holdings in January 2020. She is the fourth CEO in the company’s history and is part of the third generation of leadership of the privately-owned Enterprise Holdings, preceded by her father Andy Taylor and grandfather Jack Taylor. The company recently launched the Enterprise Holdings ROAD Forward initiative, awarding grants to organizations that advance social and racial equity in the communities where the company operates.
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