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!