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Penske 2022 Women in the Driver’s Seat: Sandra Walters

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Every Thursday for the next few months, we will feature a new female leader from around the globe, highlighting their career achievements, biggest influences, and the advice they would give to other young women considering a career in the automotive industry.


Meet This Week’s Leader: Sandra Walters, General Manager, CarShop

If you don’t ask, the answer will always be ‘no.’

First Automotive Job: Receptionist

PAG Tenure: 15 years

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

Most satisfying part of your job: The challenge of turning problems into possibilities. I love coming up with creative solutions to help my team succeed.

Proudest professional achievement: Becoming the first female general manager at CarShop. It is still at times rare to see women in senior management positions in the auto industry. I am incredibly proud to be the one to pave the way for the company’s future female leaders.

Who was the biggest influence in your career? Our President of CarShop, Kirk Schrader. He was the GM of the store when I started as a sales consultant. He gave me my first opportunity in management. Over the years he has always encouraged and supported me like his own daughter.

Looking back on the last decade, how have you seen the automotive industry landscape change and evolve to engage more women? When I first started as a sales consultant 12 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!

What hobbies do you enjoy? When I am not at work, you will find me spending quality time with my family. I am incredibly blessed with a supportive husband and two daughters, Marlena and Madison.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years? I want to be an inspiration for my daughters. My oldest is three years old and she tries to copy everything I do. I hope years from now they both look up to me as a great role model. I want to constantly keep learning, growing, and trying new things. With PAG, I know the sky is the limit!

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in the automotive industry? There are two key elements to being successful in this industry: Positivity and Perseverance. Approach every situation with a “Great News!” attitude and refuse to take no for an answer.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? If you don’t ask, the answer will always be ‘no.’ About a year after I started as a sales consultant the finance manager for our 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 many times throughout my career journey.

 

 

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Company News

Penske 2022 Women in the Driver’s Seat: Mariah Baqeezada

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Every Thursday for the next few months, we will feature a new female leader from around the globe, highlighting their career achievements, biggest influences, and the advice they would give to other young women considering a career in the automotive industry.


Meet This Week’s Leader: Mariah Baqeezada, Sales Manager and Finance Director, Porsche Stevens Creek

“Don’t give up and don’t let anyone tell you, ‘You can’t do it.’”  

First Automotive Job: Administrative

PAG Tenure: Just under 1 year

What attracted you to the automotive industry? I was with my father while he was looking to purchase a vehicle. I enjoyed helping him negotiate with the salesperson and something clicked. I wanted to learn the art of compromise. I have appreciated fixing things and putting puzzle pieces together without realizing how much I loved it.

Most satisfying part of your job: When the team comes together and achieves the same goal. Their hard work reflects in the customer’s experience, and nothing makes me prouder or more satisfied.

Proudest professional achievement: Leading the sales team and winning awards for several years back-to-back for outstanding performance.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career? Ralph Day, Robert Day, and Mark Day for believing in me and letting me earn the opportunity to grow my sales experience as a young female on the sales team with a highline brand like BMW.

Looking back on the last decade, how have you seen the automotive industry landscape change and evolve to engage more women? When I first started in the automotive industry, women were in more traditional roles at that time – cashiers, file clerks, performing admin duties. In the last few decades, the roles have become more diverse than in years prior. Women have persevered and changed the traditional history bylaws and are now recognized as leaders. Changing paths not only for themselves but for future generations of women to grow in their careers. Today, you see women as dealer principals, general managers, service managers, sales managers, part directors, retail operations managers, service advisors, sales associates, service technicians – in every department you can think of.

What hobbies do you enjoy? Watching movies, running, cycling, hiking, watching football, playing volleyball, playing board games, building things, listening to music, working out, and playing with my kids.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? Hopefully with plenty more work and as a mentor to the general sales managers.

What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in the auto industry? Be strong, believe in yourself, and trust your own efforts.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? Don’t give up and don’t let anyone tell you, ‘You can’t do it.’ (I can’t tell you how much I’ve heard that).

Any other comments you would like to add? I was born in Afghanistan and migrated to the states with my family when I was a little girl. We had nothing when we first came to this country, and I know how much hard work can pay off. So, keep moving forward, keep looking for change, keep your head up and get it in your mindset to never give up.

 

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General

100% online. 100% easy

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Dealing with CarShop is always easy. But buying 100% online at carshop.com takes that convenience to another level.

Want to know what you can afford right up front? With minimal information, we’ll give you a personalized estimate of your monthly payments, all without affecting your credit score. It’s the kind of information that could save you time in narrowing your search.

Want to buy? You can submit your order, selecting down payment and loan terms, choosing extended coverage and insurance plans, even scheduling delivery, all with just a few clicks. If you’re looking to sell, you can get a Kelley Blue Book® Instant Cash Offer* to find what your car is worth.

Customers who purchase a CarShop vehicle 100% online receive a limited warranty for 6 months or 6000 miles from the time of purchase**, and can have their vehicle repaired at any approved, licensed repair facility in the U.S. or Canada. This differs from our in-store warranties and may be especially appealing to buyers who are unable to service their vehicles at CarShop locations. If you need more information, give us a call toll free at 1-833-9-BUY-CAR so we can help you determine what’s best for you.

Almost any CarShop vehicle can be purchased 100% online. Start the process by clicking the “Buy 100% Online” button on the pages that feature individual cars, or anywhere you see the button on the CarShop website.

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Industry News

2022 Penske Women in the Driver’s Seat: Heather Ramos

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Penske Automotive Group is proud to recognize our female leaders at every level of the organization.

A few years ago, we started an initiative called Women in the Driver’s Seat that highlights female leaders from the Penske organization who are helping to revolutionize the automotive industry and pave the way for future generations.

Every Thursday for the next few months, we will feature a new female leader from around the globe, highlighting their career achievements, biggest influences, and the advice they would give to other young women considering a career in the automotive industry.


Meet This Week’s Leader: Heather Ramos, Sales Manager, Honda Danbury

“Pay attention to what motivates people – Motivation drives success.”   

First Automotive Job: Internet Sales Coordinator

PAG Tenure: 1 year, 3 months

What attracted you to the automotive industry? I was attracted by the excitement of being on the front lines of new innovations and technologies and having the ability to offer that knowledge to others. Additionally, I have always been a fan of different brands and the excitement of the drive.

Most satisfying part of your job: Having the opportunity to lead a team with integrity and watching them succeed.

Proudest professional achievement:  Helping several women carve out their paths in the industry and encouraging them to follow their dreams and exceed at their goals.

Who was the biggest influence in your career? My family has been my biggest influence – for sure! My family has always reminded me that ‘You CAN do whatever you set your mind to – Can’t doesn’t exist.’

Looking back on the last decade, how have you seen the automotive industry landscape change and evolve to engage more women? The automotive industry has realized that women play a significant and key role in the success of the dealer body – no matter their position. Women have an innate ability to see things from a different perspective and that perspective is being realized in a big way. There have been many more women in management roles, and dealerships have become more flexible and inclusive. They understand that women are managers their entire lives, within their households, and families. These roles are important and help mold women into the strong leaders they have ultimately become in this industry and in their families.

What hobbies do you enjoy? I enjoy hiking, going to the beach, running, and exploring the world with my husband and kids (including fur).

Where do you see yourself in the next five years? I hope to be a General Manager of a Penske dealership, managing and leading an extraordinary team.

What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in the automotive industry? Be prepared to get hooked! Every day is different, and this industry will challenge you and help you grow in ways you never thought possible.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? “Pay attention to what motivates people – motivation drives success.”

Any other comments you would like to add? Working for Penske has been instrumental in teaching me that I can be a wife, mother, and manager and still have time to explore other interests. My ideas are heard, and I wouldn’t want to work for any other automotive dealer.

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Company NewsGeneral

Penske Women in the Driver’s Seat: Ana Loredo

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Penske Automotive Group is proud to have female leaders at every level of the organization. This week we are featuring our final female leader for the Women in the Driver’s Seat series, Ana Lordeo, who is empowering women in the industry and paving the road for the next generation of female leaders.


Meet Ana Loredo – Service Director at BMW of San Diego, Penske Automotive Group

“Never give up, and don’t take no for an answer.”

Industry experience: 27 years

First automotive job: Receptionist at Infiniti store

PAG tenure: 5 years

Current role and responsibilities: I manage all service department employees at BMW of San Diego. I am also responsible for optimizing service department processes, handling client service interactions, forecasting goals and objectives, hiring and training department employees, monitoring performance of service department staff, developing and implementing marketing plans, and managing daily reporting. I strive to promote teamwork in our workplace and most importantly, I lead by example.  My focus on a day-to-day basis is to inspire my team to be the very best they can be and provide a good work environment.

What attracted you to the auto industry: I honestly didn’t know what the automotive industry would bring me.  The only thing I knew was that regardless of the role, I would always be stellar and give it my best all the time, and that has never changed.

Most satisfying part of your job: I love working with people, both customers and employees, but what I find most satisfying is resolving customer issues and mentoring, coaching, and helping my team reach their goals and grow within the company. Seeing happy thriving employees and clients gives me great joy. I feel very fortunate to work for such an amazing group who truly believes in growing their people.

Proudest professional achievement:  Having PAG send me to NADA and graduating from the program was a huge achievement for me as I had always wanted to attend NADA to help further my understanding of the business.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career: Rich Achman, a General Manager I worked for at Towbin Dodge. Rich was great with people and had phenomenal leadership skills. He taught me a lot and really believed in my growth in the automotive industry.

Advice for young women considering a career in the auto industry: The automotive industry has so much to offer and can be very rewarding. If you love what you do, you can hold any position and be successful.

Favorite weekend activity: I write and read a lot, and I love hanging out with my husband doing nothing and everything. I also enjoy driving to Las Vegas at least once a month to visit my family.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years:  As the General Manager of a Penske store, managing and leading an extraordinary team.

How have you seen the auto industry landscape change and evolve to engage more women: There has been a lot of positive change in the automotive industry. You now see more women than ever before holding positions like General Managers, Fixed Operations Directors and Parts Managers.  I used to be the only woman in the room when I attended meetings or trainings, and now I see more women in those roles. I think that we are finally being given the opportunity to demonstrate our leadership and management skills.

 

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Company NewsGeneral

Penske Women in the Driver’s Seat: Taylor Moen

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Penske Automotive Group is proud to have female leaders at every level of the organization. Every Thursday for the next week, 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 Taylor Moen!


Meet Taylor Moen – Sales Manager at Porsche West Broward, Penske Automotive Group

“Be curious and ask as many questions as you can. Do not be afraid to jump in the moment and do things yourself. You are going to fail, but do not be afraid. Even the most professional businessman fails, and they never stop learning.”

Industry experience: 5 years

First automotive job: Summer intern at the Penske Honda and Penske Chevrolet store.

PAG tenure: 5 years

Current role & responsibilities:  I am responsible for appraising vehicles, helping sales associates’ close deals, conducting daily and weekly sales training meetings, ensuring proper customer follow-up, completing training through Porsche and Alan Ram, supporting and assisting sales associates with monthly goals, and handling customer complaints in a timely manner.

What attracted you to the auto industry: I originally started my undergrad studying mechanical engineering, but I realized I wanted to be in the retail aspect of the business. Growing up in Michigan, automotive has always been a huge part in my life and in my family.

Most satisfying part of your job:  How much Penske supports their employees and cares about personal development. I love having a voice and having the support of my General Manager. Being appreciated and listened to is extremely important in a work environment.

Proudest professional achievement: Being offered a Sales Manager job for one of Penske’s Porsche stores at the age of 23. It hasn’t been easy but learning from my mistakes and growing within the position has been extremely gratifying. Porsche West Broward achieved Premier Dealer Status for 2021, which was a huge accomplishment in my career. I cannot thank our employees and loyal customers enough for making Porsche West Broward a great place to work and do business.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career:  My parents have had a big influence and supported me through my career change and move to Florida from Michigan. My automotive marketing professor Elgie Bright, for teaching me his automotive knowledge and giving me the opportunity to use that knowledge at major automotive conferences and industry meetings like NADA and Women in Automotive. During my Management in Trainee program, Roger Myton encouraged and motivated me to stick with the automotive industry. Finally, Ryan Chromek is not only an amazing leader and boss, but also a person with great professional experience making him a great mentor. I would not be in this position if it were not for his expertise and belief in me.

Advice for young women considering a career in the automotive industry: Do not be afraid of the industry. What matters is the impact you make in your job. With the right tools and training, we have all the opportunities in the world to grow and educate ourselves for our careers. Be the person that every woman in the industry wants to learn and listen from.

Favorite weekend activity: I enjoy spending time with my German Shorthair Pointer Higgins and my two cats Waldo and Gamora.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years: I would like to be an industry expert for women that need ideas, strategies, and advice. I’ve had amazing mentors in my career, so I would like to provide the same guidance to others looking for a leadership role.

How have you seen the auto industry landscape change and evolve to engage more women: The amount of support groups and mentoring groups for women in the automotive industry has grown tremendously. There are more resources now that help women with mentoring, knowledge, and support. I truly believe that if we keep growing these resources women will be more empowered to work in the automotive industry.

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: Gemma Tate

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Penske Automotive Group is proud to have female leaders at every level of the organization. Every Thursday for the next 2 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 Gemma Tate!


Meet Gemma Tate – Head of Business, Sytner BMW/MINI Sunningdale & Ascot

Always give yourself time to stand back and reflect.

 Industry experience: 11 years

First automotive job: Sales Executive at MINI store

PAG tenure: 11 years

Current role and responsibilities: I am responsible for motivating, driving and supporting our Sales & Aftersales Operations alongside my Senior Management Team. I strive to create an environment where the team delivers exceptional customer experiences and delivers a winning result because they are passionately proud of our business, not just because it’s in their job description.

What attracted you to the auto industry: I loved working in a sales environment where the results you achieved were a direct result of effort you put in. I also loved the feeling of helping someone realize their dream of owning a car. Having the opportunity to be part of that moment and make that experience truly special and personalized was a great feeling. Working in the auto industry connects you with people from all walks of life and it was very early on in my career that I realized this industry is all about people. If you can cause the people you work with and the customers you assist to be genuinely delighted, the inevitable effect is delighted manufacturers and shareholders.

Most satisfying part of your job: Helping people develop and grow is the most satisfying part of my job and that comes in many different shapes and sizes, from a Sales Apprentice cultivating and perfecting their first new car handover to a Senior Manager navigating their way through rapid digital evolution. Helping people take on a new challenge or face a significant change in process or circumstance and come out the other side a stronger, fitter individual is a special thing to be part of.

Proudest professional achievement:  We have an annual management conference where exceptional performances are acknowledged by the most senior leaders in our company. Being on a stage, receiving an award and shaking hands with Roger Penske because of my own hard work was certainly a proud moment for me. There is also a sense of pride in being actively approached for some of the promotions I have enjoyed throughout my career. I am very lucky to have been encouraged and stretched by a team of directors who have helped me recognize my own potential and I continue to benefit from their incredible support and guidance.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career: My grandmother. Her early life certainly had its challenges, she lived through a war where she was evacuated twice, had her education forced to a premature halt and later became a young widow with two small children.  Despite facing such adversity, she was determined to succeed in life. She taught me that no matter what life throws at you, if you want something enough, have a plan to achieve it and are prepared to put the hard work in, it can be yours. She did not let her circumstances affect her and focused on the things she could control, which is something I carry with me every day.

Best career advice: Working in a fast-paced environment with technology making our work accessible 24 hours a day, it is easy to fall into the trap of constantly being in “drive” mode. Whilst “drive” may be for some our most natural gear, it is important, I have learned, to have some “neutral” time. Dedicating time to reflect and write down my thoughts and priorities for the following day, helps me focus and improves my ability to give my team support and direction. Evaluation time gives me clarity on what is going well and what isn’t working, so I can see where change may be required. I’ve learned that if you don’t stop to check where you are on the map every so often, you could end up driving for miles in the wrong direction!

 Advice for young women considering a career in the auto industry: Go for it! If you are anything like I was and think that you don’t know enough about cars to build a career in the auto-industry, then think again. The training and development that our company offers is industry leading. You will be given the tools you need to learn, and you will never stop learning as our business is constantly evolving. If you have the will to succeed, our company will help you develop the skill part.

Favorite weekend activity: I love being outdoors. Throughout the past 12 months, I, much like the rest of the country and the world, have learned to appreciate nature and wildlife. The areas of natural beauty that I was previously guilty of driving past without a second glance, I now take time to explore and appreciate. My partner and I enjoy walking our dog for hours on a Saturday and Sunday, finding a new place or route every time. It keeps us fit and keeps the dog occupied!

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years:  As a new Head of Business, I know that I still have a lot to learn and experience. There are some areas within my business which are new to me and I plan on devoting the next 18 months to becoming intimate with every aspect of every department, whilst driving a divisional leading result in all areas. In that time, I also want to continue to develop the people around me to ensure career growth and succession from within. Following that, my ambition would be to become a Franchise Director.

 How have you seen the auto industry landscape change and evolve to engage more women: I think the automotive landscape is, in some ways, unrecognizable to what it was 10 years ago. In my first role with Sytner I was the only female on our sales team. This was fascinating to me and I could not understand why more ladies hadn’t tapped into this amazing industry! It also felt unnatural that 50% of our customers were female, and yet our workforce didn’t mirror this same mix. Upon reflection, it was probably intimidating for females to walk into a male dominated showroom, let alone consider a career in the motor industry, at that time. Over time, I believe our business leaders have recognized the imbalance and have worked incredibly hard to encourage female colleagues to join our team. As a result, we have seen more women in varied roles in our businesses which has made the industry appear more accessible and appealing to females. Sytner has certainly created a more natural environment for customers and colleagues alike, and I am privileged to have worked with many inspirational females along the way. Different people, regardless of gender, bring different energies and strengths to a team and I believe having a balanced representation makes us all more productive. I am incredibly proud to be a female leader for Penske (Sytner) and I hope to continue to contribute to this company for many years to come.

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: Cindy Goglia

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Penske Automotive Group is proud to have female leaders at every level of the organization. Every Thursday for the next 3 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 Cindy Goglia!


Meet Cindy Goglia – Service Manager at Audi Eatontown, Penske Automotive Group

“Take advantage of every opportunity to push yourself and learn all aspects of the business so you can choose a path that works for you.”

Industry experience: 18 years

First automotive job: Customer Service Coordinator

PAG tenure: 7 years

Roles and responsibilities: I am responsible for building strong relationships and providing exceptional service to our customers.  I also manage other team members, train new employees, monitor service-related issues, and help maintain our relationship with Audi.

What attracted you to the auto industry: In high school I was involved in a co-op work program at Warner Lambert Pharmaceutical company. I worked there for over 5 years and received my college degree while working full time.  In my early twenties, I worked for Nabisco and BASF Corporation, and went on to become a Service Advisor at a Volkswagen dealer. This job was very different from any previous position I had held but I knew it would be challenging and wanted to give it a try. The job connected me to other people and opportunities, and I have made lifelong customers/friends over the years. I had to no idea when I started that I would still be part the industry 18 years later.

Most satisfying part of your job: The relationships I have built through the years with employees and customers. I would even say that some have become like family to me.

Proudest professional achievement: Graduating from the NADA program in 2019.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career:  My parents provided me their time and love and at a young age encouraged me to be my own person. The first General Manager I worked for, Alessio Prizzi, would be next. He saw something in me and led me down the path to explore the automotive industry. Also, many Service Managers throughout my career have taken me under their wing and helped me build a passion for what I do.

Best career advice: My uncle once told me if opportunity does not knock, build a door. I was very motivated by that at a young age and remained very focused on working hard and building a career.

Advice you would give to a young woman considering a career in the auto industry: It is an ever-changing environment with so much potential.  No day is the same. The people you encounter will help develop you, your position, and your future.  Take advantage of every opportunity you can to push yourself to learn all aspects of the business so you can choose a path that works for you.

Favorite weekend activity: I love spending time with my husband and daughter.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years:  After graduating from NADA, I am inspired to grow and continue to learn all aspects of the business. My goal would be to work at the PAG corporate level as a mentor to assist and guide other women within PAG and the automotive industry.

How have you seen the auto industry landscape change and evolve to engage more women:  When I started my career, there were not many women working in dealerships. At the time when I was asked to take a service advisor position, I was the only woman at the counter. As I gained more experience, I started showing other women how to handle customers. Over the next 5 years, we brought on a female warranty administrator, a female advisor, two female salespeople and a parts person. I have seen so much development of female associates in the workplace and I am so proud to be part of what is now an inclusive industry. Work/life balance has also become very important and I am grateful to be part of a company like Penske that gives women the ability to maintain a career and take care of their families.

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

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