Women Driving Auto Retail

Women Driving Auto Retail

An NADA initiative empowering women in the retail automotive industry.

Women Driving Auto Retail aims to amplify the voices of women working in the automotive retail industry and increase female employment in dealerships, by providing tools and expertise to dealers.

Video: We Are Women Driving Auto Retail

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A Recap of Women Driving Auto Retail at NADA Show 2024

It was pedal to the metal at NADA’s Women Driving Auto Retail event in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 1! This year marked the annual event’s expansion to a full day of programming, featuring structured and informal networking, inspiring speakers, and expanded educational sessions.

Nearly 500 dealers, managers and industry allies came together to participate in this dynamic event.

Shelley Zalis, founder and CEO of The Female Quotient, ignited the audience with the importance of "heartbeat moments." She urged each of us to break patterns, follow our hearts and be trailblazers. Zalis explained that we must “change the equation … to close the gap.”

Social psychologist Dr. Amy Cuddy, presenter of the second-most-viewed TED Talk of all time, shared insights on approaching challenges with excitement, executing with calm confidence and leaving with satisfaction. She emphasized the power of personal presence and offered practical tips to reverse-engineer feeling powerful.

The networking at WDAR, sponsored by Solera, went beyond the usual mix-and-mingle, challenging attendees to tackle tough questions around gender parity. Discussions revolved around identifying departments lagging in hiring and retaining women, as well as finding ways to welcome working parents with flexible hours.

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A Recap of Women Driving Auto Retail at NADA Show 2023

Women Driving Auto Retail 2023 had the highest number of attendees of any of the initiative’s event to date. NADA hosted 500 dealership leaders, team members, and exhibitors for the sold-out event held in conjunction with NADA Show 2023 in Dallas. The group gathered for networking and solutions-oriented addresses from two keynote speakers: Amy Nelson, founder and CEO of The Riveter, a coworking space and community platform tailored to the needs of women and WheelsUp founding chief growth officer and global brand ambassador Stephanie Chung.

Both Nelson and Chung shared proof points of the headwinds women face, especially in industries like auto retail that have historically been male dominated, but the perception no longer matches reality. Nelson set a goal for workplaces to create a management team of at least 30 percent women so that there are always female decision makers present. Chung’s message focused on empowerment and building confidence.

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A Recap of Women Driving Auto Retail at NADA Show 2022

The 2022 Women Driving Auto Retail event at NADA Show was met with incredible reception and was completely sold out weeks before the event took place on Saturday, March 12. More than 320 dealership leaders, exhibitors and allied industry attended the event, which celebrated women in auto retail and offered dealers best practices and tactics to enhance female employment at their own stores.

NADA board member Val Bowen served as the event emcee, which featured a fireside chat with  The Car Mom Kelly Stumpe and Tammy Linkfield, Ally Auto senior vice president of the Central Region, about how Stumpe is working to empower moms and families to make well-informed and confident decisions when shopping for a vehicle.

The event also featured a panel “The Changing Role of Women in Automotive,” moderated by CarGurus senior director, Global B2B Marketing, Laura Leszcynski. The panel featured Joseph Cajas, Covert Ford Lincoln general manager (Austin, Texas); Kelly Ross, Morgan Auto Group executive vice president and CFO (Tampa, Fla.); and Whitney Yates Woods, Yates Buick GMC dealer principal (Goodyear, Ariz.). The dealership leaders have all made strides securing a strong future for women in the auto retail industry and shared best practices and tools to help dealerships across the country do the same.