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Chicago Auto Show’s What Drives Her Award Winners Announced

Friday, February 16, 2024 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Chicago Auto Show organizers, in partnership with A Girls Guide to Cars, held the seventh annual What Drives Her program during the show’s Media Preview on Thursday, Feb. 8. Industry leaders from across the country came together for a robust discussion and award recognition ceremony to highlight women in four different categories: Industry Trailblazer, Best in Craft Media, Automotive Ally and Best Retailer. This year’s awards also recognized an industry leader who has lifted others up with the 2024 Lifetime of Inspiration award. The program gives industry leaders a stage to share trends, stories and personal anecdotes of the integral role that women hold in the auto industry.

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This year’s program, presented by Nissan and sponsored by CDK Global, brought female executives to the Chicago Auto Show stage presenting research centered on female purchasing power and trends. The panel, titled “What Drives Her…To Buy a Car,” was moderated by Kathy Gilbert, senior director minority dealer and women retail, CDK Global. Panelists included Amy Emmatty, CRO, Productions Plus; Trudy Hardy, vice president and region Americas head, BMW Motorrad; and Trisha Jung, senior director for EV strategy and transformation, Nissan.

“It’s humbling to see just how What Drives Her has become a cornerstone event of the Chicago Auto Show’s Media Preview,” said Jennifer Morand, co-founder of the What Drives Her program and general manager of the Chicago Auto Show. “To see women – and men – come together in support of the extraordinary females who are shaping our industry and driving change has been incredible.”

The 2024 winners for each category are as follows:

Best Retailer: Gabrille Abinion, general manager, Fox Valley Volkswagen, has always been driven and passionate following her father’s footsteps in the automotive industry. In 2017, Abinion joined her family’s auto group as an Operation Manager. This led to an opportunity to become the general manager of Fox Valley Buick GMC. It was at this time that she was introduced to General Motors (GM) Minority Dealer Development program through her Dealer 20 group and is now a member of the GM Dealer Development National Candidate Pool. In efforts to diversify her experience within the Auto Group’s portfolio, Abinion is now the General Manager of Fox Valley Volkswagen. She has helped her Volkswagen stores to set records and sales, as well as breaking the record for Service & Parts growth of all time, three-times in 2023.

“Thank you so much for this incredible honor,” said Abinion. “My dad was an immigrant from the Philippines when he came to this country. This changed everything for my family. Thank you so much for your support.”

Best Retailer finalists included: Amanda Pickett, BDC manager/finance manager, Advantage Chevrolet Bridgeview; Jennifer Tonelli, controller, Mike Anderson Chevrolet of Merrillville.

Lifetime of Inspiration: This special award was presented by the CATA’s Jennifer Morand to the organization’s longtime president, Dave Sloan. “It is with great pleasure and a deep sense of gratitude that we present the Lifetime of Inspiration Award to a remarkable leader and mentor, Dave Sloan,” said Morand.

“Dave is not just a name associated with the Chicago Auto Show, he is synonymous with dedication, leadership and innovation. As many of you may know, Dave has been a driving force behind the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, producer of the Chicago Auto Show, and has devoted more than 30 years to the local dealers and the show. Under his leadership, the show has grown and evolved to be the premier consumer auto show in the country.” Morand continued, “What sets Dave apart is not just his professional accomplishments, but the legacy of mentorship he leaves behind. It takes a special kind of leader to recognize the potential in others. I personally am so grateful for Dave and his vision of the future of this organization and show. Even though it’s bittersweet, we all wish him the best as he will retire in April. In recognition of Dave’s lifetime of inspiration, dedication and visionary leadership, it is my privilege to present him with the What Drives Her Lifetime of Inspiration Award.”

Chicago Automobile Trade Association
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