2020 brought many changes to our country: the coronavirus pandemic hit in the first quarter of 2020 and the first female vice president of the United States was elected at the end of the year. At NADA, 2020 brought two resolutions from the board of directors that expanded the number of at-large seats reserved for female dealers and for minority dealers, each from two to three. The former resolution will bring a new female face to the board later this spring as an at-large member representing the West.
In addition to this position, two other women recently were elected to NADA’s board of directors. In December, Colleen McDonald joined, representing dealers in metropolitan Detroit. McDonald, a second-generation dealer is president of Livonia Chrysler Jeep in Livonia, Mich., after joining the dealership business at the age of 16. She has served on a number of dealer-focused organizations, including the Detroit Chevrolet Dealers Association and the Southeastern Michigan Dodge Dealers Association.
Just last week, Sandra Fitzgerald-Angello was elected to represent dealers in Maryland. Fitzgerald-Angello is vice president and dealer operator of the Pohanka Automotive Group of Salisbury. She began her automotive career at the Pohanka Automotive Group in 1977 and has served in her current role since 1999.
McDonald and Fitzgerald-Angello join three experienced female dealers on the NADA board: Valerie Bowen, Michelle Primm and Annette DiLorenzo Thayer.
Bowen, dealer/president at ValMark Chevrolet in New Braunfels, Texas, is an at-large board member representing women dealers in the Central region of the U.S.. She joined the board in January 2016 and has also served in other industry capacities including as treasurer of the San Antonio Area Chevy Dealers and South Central Region representative of the GM Women's Retail Network. Bowen started her career in the auto retail industry in 2001 working at Don Maxwell Chevrolet in New Braunfels and is a graduate of NADA Academy.
Michelle Primm is the longest-serving woman on the NADA board, joining in February 2009. She serves as an at-large member representing female dealers in the East region. Primm is managing partner of Cascade Auto Group in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and began her automotive career at the age of 12 in her family's dealership, helping with filing in the service department. She held various dealership positions, ranging from cashier to general manager, before becoming managing partner in 2003. Primm’s industry leadership earned her the Automotive News 100 Leading Women honor in 2015 and the Barbara Cox Anthony Automotive Woman of the Year award in the same year.
Annette DiLorenzo Thayer currently chairs NADA’s Dealership Operations Committee, which oversees a major association business unit that includes NADA Academy and NADA 20 Group. As dealer/owner of Quality Mazda in Albuquerque, N.M, she joined the NADA board in July 2014 representing dealers in New Mexico. DiLorenzo Thayer is a third-generation dealer, starting in the automotive business in 1989 at her family's Quality Jeep Eagle dealership. She is also a graduate of NADA Academy and was named 2009 Time Dealer of the Year Award winner for New Mexico.
These women are vital to the organization’s leadership and have proved indispensable players, influencing policy and driving the auto retail industry forward. As we near the end of Women’s History Month, NADA honors these women, who have made dealerships a great place for women for develop a career and succeed professionally.