Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement (CADIA)
Cheryl Thompson is the founder of the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement (CADIA). CADIA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that supports Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Automotive Industry by providing professional development for individuals, along with resources, programs and tools that drive organizational evolution.
A veteran of the automotive industry, Ms. Thompson has over 30 years of experience at Ford Motor Company and American Axle and Manufacturing in positions ranging from tool and die, operations, manufacturing engineering and global leadership.
She is a Certified Diversity Professional through the National Diversity Council, a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt and is trained in Leadership Coaching. She received her undergraduate degree in Manufacturing at Siena Heights University, and her MBA from Michigan State University.
Ms. Thompson has been recognized as a 2019 Influential Women in Manufacturing Honoree, a 2019 Corp Magazine Salute to Diversity award winner, Marketing and Sales Executives of Detroit Platinum Award, and is the recipient of two Diversity and Inclusion Awards from Ford Motor Company.
A sought-after voice and speaker in the automotive, manufacturing and aerospace & defense industries, Ms. Thompson has performed keynote addresses, workshops and breakout sessions for a number of companies and events, including TEDx Windsor, Women in Manufacturing (WiM), the American Automotive Summit, Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and CADIA’s annual Rev Up 2030 event.
Chief Executive Officer
DURA Automotive Systems
Automotive industry veteran, Kimberly Rodriguez joined Dura Automotive Systems as chief executive officer and board member on September 1, 2020. She is a renowned expert in transforming global organizations to maximize efficiencies in supply chain, manufacturing and operational performance. During her 30-year career, she has assisted automakers and suppliers in driving value creation by leveraging the interface between finance, operational (plant floor) efficiency, and the effective use of technology.
Prior to joining Dura, Ms. Rodriguez was chief executive officer of Rush Trucking, a $100 million long-haul trucking company. During the 2020 COVID Automotive shutdown, she helped to dramatically improve efficiency, reduce equipment cost in half and quadruple the customer base for Rush.
Ms. Rodriguez joined Rush from Detroit-based Huron Consulting Group, where she served as a senior consultant. She previously served as a principal of her own firm SCRM, providing independent consulting services, largely to equity funds and multiple holding family funds relating to sales growth, efficiency and market strategy.
From 2010-2015 Ms. Rodriguez was principal at KPMG and from 2006-2010 she was partner at Grant Thornton, where she led creation of an industry-leading, proprietary financial and operational web-based analytical tool and its follow-on product to monitor extensive supply chains. From 1999-2006, she was partner at Stout, Risius, Ross, Inc. She began her career in 1998 as founder of Michigan-based Concorde Management Group.
Ms. Rodriguez sits on the Board of Directors for AMG Industries, LLC., and Romeo Rim, as well as on the Executive Committee and General Board for The Children’s Center, a Detroit-based non-profit. She is a founding member and the first female chair of the Private Director’s Association, which provides training and insight for existing and potential board members of privately held companies. In 2019 she was named “Director to Watch” by Directors & Boards Magazine.
Ms. Rodriguez earned a Bachelor of Art in economics and accounting from Michigan State University and a Master’s in business administration from Walsh College.
Global Chief Operating Officer
Hyundai Motor Company
José Muñoz is the global chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor Company and the president and CEO of both Hyundai Motor North America and Hyundai Motor America. In this capacity, Mr. Muñoz is responsible for global operations strategies and their successful implementation, delivering profitable growth and improving the overall performance of Hyundai Motor Company.
Mr. Muñoz also oversees the entire American market, including Hyundai Motor North, Central and South America, as the head of the Hyundai Motor Americas Region. Mr. Muñoz is based in Hyundai’s U.S. headquarters in Fountain Valley, California.
Prior to joining Hyundai, Mr. Muñoz was most recently the chief performance officer for Nissan Motor Corporation and the chairman of Nissan China. He joined Nissan in 2004 and during his 15 years at the automaker led significant growth and record sales in the regions he managed. Mr. Muñoz earned his Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Polytechnic University of Madrid and has an MBA from Instituto de Empresa (IE) Business School in Madrid. He has also completed executive management programs from Cranfield School of Management in the U.K. and INSEAD Business School in France. He is fluent in English, Spanish and French.
Chief Marketing Officer
Hyundai Motor America
Angela Zepeda is the chief marketing officer (CMO) for Hyundai Motor America. She is responsible for all of Hyundai’s marketing and advertising activities in the U.S., including the strategic direction, brand development, national and regional advertising, experiential marketing, digital and social media, brand partnerships, and lead generation, among other responsibilities. She was named CMO in October 2019.
Ms. Zepeda comes to Hyundai as a seasoned marketing executive with more than 25 years of experience. She has built a career on consumer-centric campaigns that build brands and drive business results, and is an expert in online and digital marketing. She was most recently at Hyundai’s agency of record INNOCEAN USA, where she spent three years and was the senior vice president and managing director, handling all operations for the Hyundai business including creative, planning and media operations. She was initially hired by the agency to head up business development.
Previous to Innocean, Ms. Zepeda was CEO of Quigley-Simpson in Los Angeles, where she oversaw all aspects of the agency. Before that, she was CMO of Campbell Ewald-Los Angeles, where she played a key role in growing the agency’s business. She has also worked at some of Los Angeles’ best-known agencies, including TBWAChiatDay, Team One, Rapp, Doner, and FCB.
Ms. Zepeda is also an expert in marketing to women, with a keen understanding of the emotional triggers involved in women’s retail habits. She has spoken on the topic at various conferences, including the ISSM CONVERGE Conference, the WLN Conference, the M2W Conference in Chicago, and the Marketing to Women Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Ms. Zepeda holds an MBA from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and Advertising from California State University, Fullerton. She is a member of thinkLA, the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the American Advertising Federation, and has held board positions with the Susan G. Komen organization and the LA Grant Foundation.
Chief Information Officer
FCA North America and Asia Pacific
Mamatha Chamarthi was appointed chief information officer, FCA – North America and Asia Pacific effective April 2019. In this position, Ms. Chamarthi oversees all information technology applications and infrastructure in support of business units located in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Asia Pacific.
Previously, Ms. Chamarthi was senior vice president and chief digital officer for ZF Friedrichshafen AG since 2014. In this position, she was responsible for the company’s full range of digital strategies and for driving change across the organization, including establishing a global footprint to create a talent ecosystem that will close the technology gap for ZF to be a leader in autonomous driving.
She is also the executive sponsor of the FCA Asians Connected Together Business Resource Group (BRG). FCA supports 11 employee-driven BRGs dedicated to pursuing projects that enhance the FCA work culture, focusing on networking and mentoring, celebrating multicultural differences and engaging external communities through volunteer and charitable activities.
Ms. Chamarthi is a member of the Gartner Research Board, Enterprise 50, Google Cloud Global CxO Advisory Board and Apergy Corporation Board of Directors. She has also been recognized as a “Top 25 Finalist for Breakthrough Leaders” by CIO magazine, a “Premier 100 IT Leader” by Computerworld, a “Technology All-Star” by the Women of Color in Technology Institute, and is the recipient of the HMG Strategy 2019 Top 100 Technology Executives to Watch Award.
Ms. Chamarthi holds a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University (2008), a Master of Science in Computer Science and Software Engineering from Oakland University (2003), a Masters Certificate in Project Management from the George Washington University (2002), a Master of Business Administration from SV University (1995) and a Master of Arts in English from Osmania University (1990).
CEO & President
Sejal Pietrzak serves as CEO, president, and a member of DealerSocket’s Board of Directors. She has nearly 25 years of leadership in driving growth and operational excellence in fast-paced, global, and enterprise software companies.
Ms. Pietrzak joined DealerSocket in 2017 with a focus on delivering exceptional customer service and award-winning software solutions to the company’s valued dealer clients. In 2020, she spearheaded the acquisition of Auto/Mate and its award-winning dealership management system (DMS) to offer dealers an integrated portfolio of products across DealerSocket’s software suite. DealerSocket now has more than 1,200 employees and 350,000 active users at more than 9,000 dealerships in North America and Australia. In 2019, The Software Report ranked Ms. Pietrzak at No. 7 on its annual Top 50 SaaS (Software as a Service) CEOs list.
Before joining DealerSocket, Ms. Pietzrak spent 12 years in executive and leadership roles at enterprise software company ACTIVE Network, including being chief administrative officer in charge of managing the company’s strategy, several functions and day to day business operations. Prior to that role, as general manager and senior vice president of International, she expanded the company from just a few countries to a global organization, serving customers in more than 55 countries across 6 continents including opening and managing offices in the EMEA and APAC regions. Ms. Pietrzak’s career also includes leadership and strategic growth roles at Wells Fargo and as the executive director of the US-India Business Council in the international division of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She was also a strategy consultant at the Boston Consulting Group.
Sejal Pietrzak earned an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree with honors from the College of William & Mary.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Kathleen (Kathie) L. Patterson was named chief human resources officer of Ally Financial in August 2016. In this role, she’s responsible for overseeing the company’s human capital, talent management, compensation, benefits, well-being, internal communications and cultural efforts – ensuring they support the organization’s overall strategic objectives and drive Ally’s efforts to be a leading employer of choice.
Most recently, she served as the senior vice president of human resources for Ally’s Auto Finance and Insurance lines of business. Patterson joined Ally in 2007 to lead change management as the company underwent a major functional reorganization in the wake of its spin-off as an independent financial services company.
Prior to joining Ally, Patterson was the managing director of human resources at DTE Energy, a Detroit-based diversified energy company. There, she managed the company’s talent acquisition and development and consulting efforts. She also led DTE’s efforts to grow young talent through a partnership with local schools, developing an age-appropriate, hands-on curriculum that developed energy-related trade skills.
Ms. Patterson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Detroit Mercy in industrial/organizational psychology. She serves on the boards of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Detroit as well as Cranbrook Institute of Science
Ms. Patterson is active in several organizations aimed at helping the city’s renaissance with a particular focus on mentorship and coaching young people in Metro Detroit. This includes 3 years as a mentor and executive guest lecturer in Wayne State University’s mentorship program, which provides first generation college students with coaching to help them succeed in business. She’s also an active member of Impact 100 Metro Detroit, a volunteer group of women whose purpose is to fuel transformation in the Detroit-area by uniting women in collective giving.
Chief Marketing and Public Relations Officer
Andrea Brimmer is the Chief Marketing and Public Relations Officer at Ally Financial where she leads a team of 150 dedicated to disruptive marketing that connects with consumers and their values. Under her leadership, Ally introduced its “Do It Right” brand promise in 2016, focused on unifying all of our businesses under one mantra. Since then, Ally’s brand has doubled in value every year for the last 3 years. She currently serves on the Boards of Directors for Effie Worldwide, the Ad Council and eHealth. She is a two-time winner of the Financial Communication Society’s “Marketer of the Year” honor (2019 and 2017), her team debuted at number seven in the annual AdAge “Marketers of the Year” in 2019 and she was recently named a 2020 Brand Genius by Adweek. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University.
As a top female executive, Brimmer believes in supporting the career growth and development of women both inside and outside of Ally.
She regularly mentors junior colleagues, as well as college students from various universities. She also participates in the Forbes CMO University Alumni Series, which brings successful marketing professionals to college campuses around the country to cultivate the next generation of marketing talent.
In her work with emerging professionals, Brimmer speaks honestly about the role of bravery in her career, particularly the role of bravery in taking risks that lead to personal and professional rewards.
A quote from Pablo Picasso is Brimmer’s mantra, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
Deloitte and Touche LLP
Michelle Collins is a senior partner in Deloitte’s Audit & Assurance practice and is a member of the Deloitte Board of Directors.
She has worked with many automotive clients for the past 30 years and is the Global Automotive sector leader for A&A.
Ms. Collins has provided insights and advice to many clients in periods of significant growth and change and is a mentor to many professionals with a focus on diversity and inclusion.
Vice Chairman, Managing Director
Carla Harris is a vice chairman, managing director and senior client advisor at Morgan Stanley. She is responsible for increasing client connectivity and penetration to enhance revenue generation across the firm. She formerly headed the Emerging Manager Platform, the equity capital markets effort for the consumer and retail industries and was responsible for Equity Private Placements. In her 30 year career, Ms. Harris has had extensive industry experiences in the technology, media, retail, telecommunications, transportation, industrial, and healthcare sectors. In August 2013, Carla Harris was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the National Women’s Business Council.
For more than a decade, Ms. Harris was a senior member of the equity syndicate desk and executed such transactions as initial public offerings for UPS, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Ariba, Redback, the General Motors sub-IPO of Delphi Automotive, and the $3.2 Billion common stock transaction for Immunex Corporation, one of the largest biotechnology common stock transactions in U.S. history. Ms. Harris was named to Fortune Magazine’s list of “The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America”, Fortune’s Most Influential List, U. S. Bankers Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance (2009, 2010, 2011), Black Enterprise’s Top 75 Most Powerful Women in Business (2017), and “Top 75 African Americans on Wall Street”, and to Essence Magazine’s list of “The 50 Women Who are Shaping the World”, Ebony’s list of the Power 100 and “15 Corporate Women at the Top” and was named “Woman of the Year 2004” by the Harvard Black Men’s Forum and in 2011 by the Yale Black Men’s Forum.
Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Ms. Harris received an MBA, Second Year Honors from Harvard Business School and an AB in economics from Harvard University, Magna Cum Laude.
She is the past chair of the board of the Morgan Stanley Foundation and of The Executive Leadership Council, and sits on several other boards. She has been named to the New Jersey Hall of Fame (2015) and has received the Bert King Award from the Harvard Business School African American Alumni Association, the 2005 Women’s Professional Achievement Award from Harvard University, the Pierre Toussaint Medallion from the Office of Black Ministry of the Archdiocese of New York, the Women of Power Award given by the National Urban League, the Women of Influence Award from The Links, Incorporated and many other awards. In her other life, Ms. Harris is a singer who has sold out concerts at the Apollo Theatre and Carnegie Hall. She is also the author of the books, Strategize to Win (2014) and Expect to Win (2009).
Chief Executive Officer
Linda Hasenfratz is the chief executive officer of Linamar Corporation, an advanced manufacturing company where the intersection of leading edge technology and deep manufacturing expertise is creating solutions that power vehicles, motion, work and lives for the future. Linamar has 27,000 employees in 61 manufacturing locations, 11 R&D centers and 25 sales offices in 17 countries in North and South America, Europe and Asia which generated sales of $7.4 billion in 2019.
Ms. Hasenfratz’s enthusiasm for the arts prompted her to join the Board of Governors of the Royal Ontario Museum in 2002. In 2012 she became the inaugural chair of the Philanthropy Leadership Cabinet of the Guelph General Hospital. Involvement in charitable organizations continues to be an important focus for her.
Ms. Hasenfratz has also sat on the Board of Advisors for Catalyst Canada since 2003. In February 2017 she was announced as the Canadian Chair of the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. Her desire to see women progress in business to the top level of industry prompted her to participate in these two key initiatives.
Ms. Hasenfratz was named the Canadian Outstanding CEO in November 2018 and was also made a member of the Order of Canada in December of the same year.
In recognition of her and Linamar’s support and focus on international growth Ms. Hasenfratz has received 2 international honours. The French Government honoured her in June of 2015 with the Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur, one of the highest honours bestowed upon a non-civilian in France. In October 2016 she was honoured by the Hungarian government and was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary.
Ms. Hasenfratz supports one of Linamar’s key industries, the automotive industry, through her appointment as the first female director to the Faurecia Board of Directors, a French automotive supplier, in 2011. She has been named one of the Automotive News 100 Leading Women in each year of its publication in 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015
Grace Huang leads Manheim, the nation’s largest wholesale vehicle marketplace. With her leadership, Manheim enables clients to conduct business efficiently and conveniently anytime, anywhere by connecting them with the largest network of digital and physical platforms and end-to-end solutions. Groups that report to her include Safety, Manheim Digital, Manheim Marketplace, Assurance, Industry Partnerships and Manheim Logistics. Ms. Huang directs Manheim’s Digital First marketplace, a strategy to transition the company’s auction marketplace into a single client experience that is maximized for digital interactions and supported by efficient and flexible physical operations. Her role also extends to strengthening Cox Automotive’s leadership position in mobility by furthering vehicle innovations developed at Manheim locations.
Previously, Ms. Huang served as senior vice president of Manheim Inventory Services. She also led the creation of a vehicle services strategy that has positioned Manheim as the integration point for numerous Cox Automotive brands.
Ms. Huang joined Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises in 2007 and has managed numerous strategic initiatives across the Cox family of companies. She has served as vice president of Enterprise Product Planning for Cox Automotive, as well as held senior director roles in Corporate Development at Cox Enterprises, Corporate Strategy for Cox Media Group and Business Development at Cox Autotrader.
In 2019, Huang was profiled in Auto Remarketing’s “Power 300” edition that highlights the most powerful companies in the pre-owned auto industry. That same year, she was also recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as a “Women Who Mean Business” honoree. Other recognitions include being named among “Women Worth Watching” in 2018 by Profiles in Diversity Journal and a “Woman in Remarketing” 2017 honoree by Auto Remarketing. Huang’s leadership extends to volunteering her time and talent to support the community and industry.
Ms. Huang earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Penske Automotive Group
Robert (Rob) H. Kurnick, Jr. is the vice chairman of Penske Corporation and president of Penske Automotive Group, Inc. In addition to his appointment as president of Penske Corporation in 2003, Mr. Kurnick assumed the president’s position for Penske Automotive Group in April of 2008. Prior to that, he served as the vice chairman of Penske Automotive Group.
Mr. Kurnick has held various positions within the Penske organization since he joined the company in 1995. In addition to his corporate responsibilities, Mr. Kurnick serves on the Board of Directors for Penske Corporation, Penske Automotive Group and Penske Transportation Solutions. He also serves on the Executive Committee of each of Penske Corp. and Penske Automotive Group.
In addition, Mr. Kurnick serves on the Board of Trustees for Automotive Hall of Fame in Detroit, Michigan, CATCH in Detroit, Michigan and Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Lithia Motors, Inc.
Tina Miller is the senior vice president, chief financial officer at Lithia Motors, Inc., one of the largest providers of personal transportation solutions in the United States and among the fastest growing companies in the Fortune 500. She leads the accounting, tax, corporate finance, financial planning & analysis, risk management and treasury functions. She joined Lithia in 2005 working in internal audit and corporate accounting before being promoted to corporate controller in 2015 and vice president in 2018.
Before Lithia, Ms. Miller worked as an auditor at Ernst & Young in their assurance practice. She graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in Accounting and is a licensed CPA in Oregon.
Vice President, Vehicle Connected Services & Program Management Office
Nissan North America, Inc.
Sonia Rief is vice president, Vehicle Connected Services & Program Management Office for Nissan North America, Inc. She was appointed to this position in March 2019. In this role, Ms. Rief is responsible for managing vehicle line profitability in North America and leading Nissan’s Connected Services organization.
Previously, Ms. Rief was director, Regional Vehicle Program Management at the Nissan Technical Center North America (NTCNA) in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and was responsible for regional program management for mid-size sedans, and compact and mid-size SUVs.
Sonia Rief joined Nissan in 2001, progressing through roles of increasing responsibility within the Research and Development function, including a one-year assignment in Japan supporting the Renault-Nissan Alliance.
Ms. Rief holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University and a MBA from the University of Michigan.
Deloitte Consulting LLP
Jody Stidham is a passionate automotive marketing professional with close to 30 years of experience working in many facets of automotive marketing, including digital marketing, CRM, brand marketing, strategy, and business development.
Prior to joining Deloitte in 2019, she spent nearly 15 years at General Motors helping to advance its CRM strategy, digital operations, and integrated digital marketing capabilities. She also helped develop and grow the Customer Practice at Urban Science where she helped clients optimize marketing spend to maximize performance of leads.
And lastly, she spent nearly eight years at FordDirect helping Ford Motor Company and its dealers advance digital marketing performance across sales and service.
She serves on the Kettering University School of Management Board and volunteers for United Way.
Vice President, Communications
Kerri Wise is vice president, communications at TrueCar, an online marketplace for car shopping. She had no intention of working in the car business, a traditionally male dominated industry. Yet, after a 20+ year career, it’s clear that she was destined to break barriers and be an influential leader in automotive.
Ms. Wise joined TrueCar in 2015 in a B2B marketing and client relations capacity and was a key contributor in evangelizing TrueCar and bolstering relationships with car dealers.
Today, she oversees TrueCar’s communications initiatives, including industry facing education, thought leadership, and media relations. These initiatives are focused on elevating and reinforcing TrueCar’s brand, mission, philosophies and best practices across major stakeholders.
Ms. Wise is recognized as a thought leader and expert in the industry and represents TrueCar as a regular speaker at major industry conferences, events, webinars and podcasts. She has received significant recognition for her career achievements, being honored as an Auto Remarketing Top Women in Retail, a L.A. Biz Women of Influence, and was inducted in the East Side Union High School District’s Hall of Fame.
In addition to her duties at TrueCar, Ms. Wise is the co-founder of Women of Color Automotive Network (WOCAN), an organization that seeks to attract, support, connect and empower women of color in the automotive industry.
Prior to joining TrueCar, Ms. Wise spent 4 years at Edmunds.com and 12 years at J.D. Power. She was a collegiate athlete and graduated with a B.S. in Marketing from California State University, Northridge.