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Penske Women in the Driver’s Seat: Natalie Parkes

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Penske Automotive Group is proud to have female leaders at every level of the organization. Every Thursday for the next 8 weeks, we will feature a female leader from the Penske organization who is empowering women in the industry and paving the road for the next generation of female leaders. From their earliest interest in the industry to their proudest moments, you’ll learn how these women got their start, who influenced them the most, and how they are helping change the face of the industry in positive ways.

This week we are pleased to introduce Natalie Parkes!


Meet Natalie Parkes – Sales Development Manager, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo and Select Sytner Group

“Set a goal, believe in yourself and never stop working hard to achieve it. Perseverance is key.”

Industry experience: 22 years

First automotive job: Sales Executive for Peugeot

PAG tenure: 17 years

Current role & responsibilities:  In my current role as a Sales Development Manager, I help drive sales performance across the Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo and Select division. I am also responsible for identifying, improving, and implementing Enquiry Management processes, coaching and developing other employees, analyzing statistics to identify trends and opportunities, and maintaining and improving our digital competitive advantage.

What attracted you to the auto industry:  I am a goal-oriented person. I liked the idea that a car is the second largest asset people buy and therefore it has a real meaning and value. The purchase fulfils people’s dreams.

Most satisfying part of your job:  I get great satisfaction from exceeding my goals. Being part of a terrific team at work is also something that brings me joy. My co-workers are a second family to me, and I don’t mind getting up in the morning because I genuinely enjoy what I do.

Proudest professional achievement: There is no great secret to my career progression, I have progressed through this organization through sheer hard work. That bears testament to the fact I must be doing something right.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career: I come from a very hard-working family with a strong work ethic therefore, I would have to say my parents have had the biggest influence on my career as they instilled a very strong work ethic in me from a young age.

Best career advice: Enjoy things while they are going well (make hay while the sun shines) and be prepared to change and adapt when things are not so good. Perseverance is key.

Favorite weekend activity: Spending quality time with my young daughter.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years:  I enjoy what I do. I hope to still be contributing to this organization and helping maintain its position as a market leader.

How have you seen the auto industry landscape change and evolve to engage more women: Retail advertising has become more female inclusive and today more women than ever buy cars. This has also been reflected across the automotive industry where there are far more women at all levels of organizations compared to ten years ago.

Check back next Thursday as we add another Penske female leader to the Women in the Driver’s Seat series!

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Penske Women in the Driver’s Seat: Sandra Walters

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Penske Automotive Group is proud to have female leaders at every level of the organization. Every Thursday for the next 9 weeks, we will feature a female leader from the Penske organization who is empowering women in the industry and paving the road for the next generation of female leaders. From their earliest interest in the industry to their proudest moments, you’ll learn how these women got their start, who influenced them the most, and how they are helping change the face of the industry in positive ways.

This week we are pleased to introduce Sandra Walters!


Meet Sandra Walters – Finance Manager, CarShop Chester Springs

“Have confidence, work hard, and challenge yourself to learn as much as possible. When you start feeling comfortable in your current position challenge yourself to learn something new. Be a sponge. The more you know, the more valuable you are.”

Industry experience: 14 years

First automotive job:  Receptionist at CarShop (formerly CarSense)

PAG tenure: 14 years

Current role & responsibilities: I support our sales team by providing customers with competitive financing arrangements for vehicle and aftermarket product purchases. It is my responsibility to assist customers with their financing, maintain excellent working relationships with our lenders, and ensure a timely month-end close for all finance deals.

What attracted you to the auto industry: l grew up around it. My dad worked in the automotive industry for 36 years and I watched him climb the ladder and have a very successful career. I thought, why can’t I do that too?

Most satisfying part of your job:  Getting a difficult deal approved for financing. Anyone can send an application over to the banks and get a simple yes or no. Where the real skill comes in is turning that no into a yes. It takes years of experience, the power of persuasion, and building great relationships with our lenders. I love nothing more than turning those deals around, especially when that customer has been turned down at other dealerships.

Proudest professional achievement: I am most proud of having held the titles of both finance manager and sales manager. The fact that I was able to go from the manager of one department to another, be successful, and then go back to the first department over a year later without skipping a beat gave me a real sense of accomplishment.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career: Kirk Schrader. He was the GM of the store when I started as a sales consultant and is now the President of the company. He gave me my first opportunity in management and over the years has encouraged and supported me like his own daughter.

Best career advice:  If you don’t ask the answer will always be no. About a year after I started as a sales consultant the current finance manager of the store left. Having a business degree, I was super interested in the position. I went to my dad to talk to him about the opportunity. He told me “If you want the job, go ask for it!” I went right up to the office of the General Manager of the store and did just that. The very next day I was told “Congratulations you’re our new finance manager.” I have used this advice throughout my career.

Favorite weekend activity:  Spending quality time with my husband and my daughter.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years: I want to be an inspiration for my daughter. She is only 1 ½ years old and already tries to copy everything I do. I hope years from now she still looks up to me as a great role model. I want to constantly keep learning, growing, and trying new things. I hope one day to be a General Manager of a store or a finance corporate trainer as we acquire new stores across the country.

How have you seen the auto industry landscape change and evolve to engage more women: When I first started as a sales consultant 11 years ago, I was one of only two women on the sales floor. I remember there were no women’s uniforms, and the polos went down to my knees.  Now everywhere you look in the auto industry females are prevalent. Almost every department has women in it which is amazing to see. I am proud to work for a company that recognizes individuals based on talent not just gender. And yes, now we even have women’s uniforms!

Check back next Thursday as we add another Penske female leader to the Women in the Driver’s Seat series!

 

 

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Company NewsGeneral

Penske Women in the Driver’s Seat: Jackie Szramowski

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Penske Automotive Group is proud to have female leaders at every level of the organization. Every Thursday for the next 10 weeks, we will feature a female leader from the Penske organization who is empowering women in the industry and paving the road for the next generation of female leaders. From their earliest interest in the industry to their proudest moments, you’ll learn how these women got their start, who influenced them the most, and how they are helping change the face of the industry in positive ways.

This week we are pleased to introduce Jackie Szramowski!


Meet Jackie Szramowski – Talent Acquisition Manager, Penske Automotive Group

“Focus on what is within your control. Find your passion and follow it.”

Industry experience: 10 years

First automotive job: Human Resources Specialist

PAG tenure: 10 years

Current role & responsibilities: I am responsible for guiding the overall success of the PAG recruiting department. This includes creating and implementing processes for greater efficiency and successful hiring, facilitating change management, as well as managing and supporting the team of recruiters in their efforts to positively impact hiring for their individual markets.

What attracted you to the auto industry: My previous experience was in Public/Media Relations and Recruiting but I wanted to get more experience in all aspects of Human Resources. PAG was one of the few companies that didn’t segment their HR functions, so I was able to gain exposure to more areas including Recruiting, Benefits, Employee Relations, and more.

Most satisfying part of your job: Watching candidates become valued employees and find success in the company brings me great satisfaction. More personally, seeing the team of recruiters and coordinators learn, challenge themselves, and take on additional responsibilities while the department itself continues to evolve has been very rewarding.

Proudest professional achievement: Conceptualizing and executing the creation of the PAG recruiting department from the ground up. With the support of mentors and an upper management team that understood the need, appreciated my vision, and saw the potential, the department has grown to teams of recruiters in markets across the country.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career: My parents instilled the importance of hard work, loyalty, self-confidence, and independence in me. My husband is my biggest supporter and helps makes it possible for me to pursue my career. Sports have always been a big part of my life, and my teammates and coaches taught me the value of teamwork, communication, and perseverance. In business, I have been fortunate to have incredible females to look up to and work alongside for support advice.

Advice for young women considering a career in the automotive industry: Go for it! If you look across our company, there are very successful women at all levels. Find your passion and follow it. There are a lot of opportunities to be exposed to different areas of the business and many career paths to follow.

Favorite weekend activity: Spending time with my husband and two kids. The past year forced us to slow down a bit and I really enjoy the time we get to spend together as a family.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years: Continuing to do my part to drive PAG forward, advancing ideas and processes to keep ahead of the competition.

How have you seen the auto industry landscape change and evolve to engage more women: When I started in the business, I saw more women in traditional office types of roles but not as many in management positions. Today, there are women succeeding at every level. There is a commitment at PAG, that starts at the top, to hire and promote the best based on qualifications and contributions. That commitment feeds into the diversity and inclusion of the company.

Check back next Thursday as we add another Penske female leader to the Women in the Driver’s Seat series!

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Company News

Penske Women in the Driver’s Seat: Elena Alberti

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Penske Automotive Group is proud to have female leaders at every level of the organization. From Service Advisors and Sales Managers to General Managers and Fixed Operations Directors, the retail automotive industry offers women an exciting place to forge a career. Beyond the numbers, this is about unleashing the power of our people and utilizing their unique talents, experiences, and backgrounds to create an engaging work environment and world-class operation.

Every Thursday for the next 11 weeks, we will feature a female leader from the Penske organization who is empowering women in the automotive industry and paving the road for the next generation of female leaders. From their earliest interest in the industry to their proudest moments, you’ll learn how these women got their start, who influenced them the most, and how they are helping change the face of the industry in positive ways.

This week we are pleased to introduce Elena Alberti!


Meet Elena Alberti  – Managing Director & CFO, Penske Automotive Group Italy

“Automotive is an exciting place to be! Get your driver’s license and be ready to speed, brake, accelerate, turn, go uphill and downhill, but most importantly be ready to never stop!”

Industry experience: 22 years

First automotive job: Marketing role at age 22

PAG tenure: 22 years

Roles and responsibilities: Together with our JV Partner Andrea Mantellini, I run all aspects of our Italian operations including Finance, Accounting, Human Resources and Marketing. I am also responsible for identifying potential new acquisitions in the market. PAG Italy was created in 2012 and has now 20 locations in Northern Italy and represents exclusively premium brands: Audi, BMW and MINI, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Smart, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lamborghini, Porsche and Volvo.

Most satisfying part of your job: At this stage in my career, my goal is to grow as many people as possible, mentor them and give them the opportunities they deserve. It is amazing how this approach benefits both our employees and our business creating a great work environment and maximizing our performance.

 What attracted you to the auto industry: Well, I am Italian, and I am originally from the region known as the “Italian Motor Valley” where a lot of very popular car manufacturers are located. I have cars in my blood and was lucky to be exposed to several sides of the industry from OEM Engine production to OEM supplier to Automotive Retail. The automotive industry offered me my first opportunity and it just became better and better.

Proudest professional achievement:  Being able to ‘sail’ the company through the storm in 2020 caused by COVID-19. It was a very challenging time, but I am proud of our team for coming together and making tough decisions that allowed our business to remain sustainable. The team came out stronger and more committed than ever before. It was the most difficult time in my career and as a manager I learned a lot.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career: Certainly Roger Penske, who I had the privilege to work very closely with during our PAG European acquisitions. I also would like to mention Jens Werner (CEO of PAG in Europe) who was key in mentoring me during my first years in Europe as I was very young. My husband Gianluca also had a strong influence on my career. He always gave me great advice and challenged me to improve and go forward.

Best career advice: Do not expect people to get to your same conclusions unless they have the same information. This advice came from Roger Penske and it has been extremely useful in getting deals done, negotiating, and running the company in a very open and inclusive way.

Favorite weekend activity: My weekends are fully reserved for my family. I love to stay home and relax with my husband and kids (8 and 9 years old). I also love to cook healthy Italian food and enjoy a glass of good Italian Chianti. Exercise is also a very important part of my life and helps me stay healthy and fit!

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years: For sure I see myself in the Penske organization, not sure where in the world. I cannot think about a better organization. Let’s see what opportunities will be in front of me in the next few years… I always love to keep an open mind.

How have you seen the auto industry landscape change and evolve to engage more women: The automotive Industry, especially in Italy, is still a very male dominated environment. Things are changing slowly, and I am investing time and resources to increase the attractiveness of our industry to the eyes on young Italian women. When I travel to OEM dealer meetings, I am often the only woman in a senior leadership position. It will take time, but we will make it!

Check back next Thursday as we add another Penske female leader to the Women in the Driver’s Seat series!

 

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Company News

Penske Automotive Group Donates $1 Million to Paralyzed Veterans of America

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WASHINGTON (March 22, 2021) – Paralyzed Veterans of America, the nation’s only nonprofit organization dedicated solely to helping veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders, and diseases, like MS and ALS, today announced that they have received $1 million from Penske Automotive Group to help veterans and their families live full and productive lives well after injury.

“The pandemic has amplified the hardships for all of our members and veterans with injuries and illnesses,” said David Zurfluh, national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “We cannot thank Penske Automotive Group, their employees, and all of their customers enough for their generous donation and ongoing support – especially during this challenging time. As PVA continues to adapt its programming and navigate around COVID-19, these funds will go directly towards providing more life-changing programs and services to support our veterans in need, and ensure they receive the quality health care, benefits, careers, freedom, and independence they earned.”

Penske Automotive Group’s Service Matters initiative extends an invitation to customers to donate to PVA, and with an annual company donation match of $500,000, the campaign has raised more than $6 million since 2015.

“2020 marked a year of unprecedented challenges, but Penske Automotive Group was proud to continue its support of PVA, and we are thrilled to extend our partnership for a seventh year,” said Robert H. Kurnick Jr., Penske Automotive Group president. “We thank our customers and employees for supporting this initiative that has become part of our everyday business operations, and for embracing the important work performed by PVA. We are grateful for this partnership and look forward to continuing our work together in 2021 to help serve our nation’s veterans, and ensure they have access to programs and services to help them recover and rebuild their lives.”

Please visit PVA.org/PAGServes or contact a Penske Automotive Group dealership to learn more about the Service Matters campaign.

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Company News

Join our mission and help support our nation’s paralyzed heroes

Service Matters

Happy Veterans Day to all those who have served, and those who continue to serve. We thank you for your service and sacrifice!

Penske Automotive Group is proudly teamed up with Paralyzed Veterans of America’s Mission: ABLE campaign. Paralyzed Veteran’s Mission: ABLE encourages veterans and their families, corporate supporters, and friends of the organization to create an America where our most severely injured veterans have access to what they’ve earned and deserve: CARE, JOBS AND BENEFITS.

Your support is essential to the success of this campaign, and we ask you to join us in embracing our mission to serve those who have served. With one donation, you can support Paralyzed Veterans of America’s mission to create an America where our disabled heroes are provided the physical care needed to live a healthy life; receive the benefits they’ve earned through military service; and obtain job training and opportunities for new and fulfilling careers.

Ways to Donate
1. Visit a Penske Automotive Group Dealership –Penske Automotive Group customers are invited to donate when visiting a U.S. Penske Automotive Group dealership.
2. Make a Donation Online – Not visiting a Penske dealership? You can make a donation online at www.pva.org/PAGDonates. Penske Automotive Group is matching each donation – up to a total contribution of $500,000.

Since its inception in 2015, Penske Automotive Group’s Service Matters campaign has contributed more than $5 million to Paralyzed Veterans of America. Thank you for considering a donation and joining our commitment to serve those who have served.

To learn more about the Paralyzed Veterans of America, please contact a Penske Automotive Group dealership or visit www.pva.org/PAGServes.

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Penske Technicians Honored through Elite Technician Program

Elite Tech 2017 Badge

The annual Penske Elite Technician Program celebrates the contributions of our most accomplished technicians, recognizing and rewarding their outstanding credentials, skills and achievements. Identification as an Elite Technician carries high honor and respect throughout the Penske organization.

135 Penske technicians were designated as “Elite” for the 2020 program. After advancing through a rigorous technical exam, 14 technicians qualified to compete for top honors. Five of this year’s finalists, Chauncey Harris, Jared Taylor, Robert Grant, Dean Leach and Mark Gracie, were repeat finalists.

Congratulations to Justin Bistany, our Penske Elite Technician of the Year!  Along with top honors, Justin received a premium prize package that included a limited edition Shinola Team Penske wristwatch, a “50 years of Penske Racing” book signed by Roger Penske, and a $5,000 bonus prize.

Conditions permitting, all 2020 finalists will be VIP guests of Penske Entertainment and Team Penske at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May 2021.

Thank you to all our technicians who participated in the 2020 program.

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