Award winners are:
- Janette Aguilar, Tyler, Texas
- Mollie Arnold, Lowell, Ind.
- Sandra Giron, Downey, Calif.
- Sarah Goudy, Ajax, Ontario, Canada
- Madelyn Hamilton, Manchester, Mich.
- LeeAnn Loyd, Rushville, Ill.
- Tara Rodgers, Belleville, Ill.
- Christina Salmon, Brighton, Mich.
- Randigale Smith, Dunlap, Ill.
- Bethany Toups, Lincoln Park, Mich.
GM and its dealers continue as the only manufacturing/retail partnership to offer scholarships to women pursuing academic degrees in automotive management and technical fields. Since 2011, the program has provided 37 individual scholarships totaling $104,500 to students in the U.S. and Canada representing a variety of sales regions, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.
Karen Miskimins, the Women’s Retail Network Scholarship Chair and member of the GM Women’s Dealer Advisory Council, said the program has grown each year to become more inclusive. Today, participants represent every walk of life: traditional students, military veterans, working mothers, dealership employees and women changing careers.
Additionally, more women are enrolled in fixed operations courses, which is especially important as dealers brace for high levels of technician attrition in the near future.
As the owner of Hardin Chevrolet in Hardin, Mont., Miskimins understands the importance of women as customers and employees in retail.
“With women now the No. 1 consumer of automotive sales and service, it is paramount that we deliver an experience focused on their needs,” she said. “This includes a representative, diverse dealer body that is attentive, knowledgeable and committed to excellence. The Women’s Retail Network scholarship program provides a path for women to achieve their automotive career goals and fill the retail pipeline of with qualified female employees.”
Celeste Briggs, GM Women’s Retail Network director, said the program’s success can be credited to grassroots implementation by dealers. Each year, dealers promote the program with students and educators, nominate high-potential candidates and contribute financially to the scholarship fund.
Briggs said the program demonstrates the value GM and its dealers place on women and their importance to the company’s overall success.
“With every scholarship we award we are investing in our future, as well as helping make a dream come true,” Briggs said. “Our dealers are already benefitting from the skills that scholarship winners are bringing to the workplace. Exceptional female employees increase customer loyalty and overall profitability, and attract other women to the automotive industry.”