Wednesday, 27 March 2019 18:11

Get to Know WIN’s 2019 MIW Honorees

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The Women's Industry Network (WIN) recently announced that four women will be honored as Most Influential Women (MIW) and celebrated at the MIW Gala and Awards Ceremony in May.


The ceremony will be held during WIN's Educational Conference in Fort Lauderdale, FL, from May 6--8. Originally established by AkzoNobel in 1999 and taken on by WIN in 2013, the MIW program aims to recognize women whose leadership, vision and commitment to excellence have enriched the collision repair industry.


The 2019 MIW honorees are Yen Hoang, CEO of UYL Color; Erica L. Schaefer, Mopar collision marketing manager at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA); Kathy Mello, CFO of TGIF Body Shop; and Judy Folk, manager of collision repair design service (CRDS) at Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes.


While all of these women are involved with WIN, the association does not select the MIW honorees. Established criteria focused on industry influence, professional accomplishments, mentorship and community service are considered by an independent third-party company that reviews the nominations and selects each year's winners.


This year's honorees graciously agreed to discuss their careers, their involvement with WIN and how they feel about receiving this recognition.


Growing up in the Detroit area, it’s unsurprising that Erica L. Schaefer entered the automotive industry as a Chrysler intern in 1995 after her graduation.


She notes, “It just seemed natural. From the start of my career, I was involved in some form of collision.”


Throughout Schaefer’s 23 years with FCA, the company has undergone several ownership changes, but she has always proudly represented the Mopar brand. She has served as warehouse supervisor, inventory control supervisor, supplier relations manager and most recently, collision marketing manager.


Schaefer is grateful for the support she has received at FCA, which has allowed her to participate in OEM roundtables that provide mentorship and support her growth within the collision space.


After speaking at a Mitchell event on FCA’s certified repair program in 2015, Schaefer noted, “This is the moment I realized my customer was so much more than our FCA wholesale dealers. While revenue was still a focus, I shifted gears and started digging into the body shop world with focus on safe and proper repair.

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