Annette Sykora Shares Her Journey in Automotive and Becoming NADA’s First Chairwoman

Annette Sykora

Women continue to gain prominent leadership roles in automotive as the industry continues to evolve. Annette Sykora joined our show to talk about her journey in the industry. Annette was the first female to hold the role of Chairwoman for the National Automobile Dealers Association in 2008, one of the most turbulent years on record for dealers. She is currently the dealer principal of Smith South Plains Ford Lincoln, in Levelland, Texas.

Annette is a resilient dealer. She has met the challenges of COVID-19 head-on and she asserts that she is no stranger to challenging market conditions. During her tenure as Chairwoman of NADA, the economy was in turmoil. She helped guide the industry through credit restrictions, bank bailouts, and OEM bankruptcies.

Annette is a third-generation dealer. Her grandfather started the company in 1951, and 30 years later, she began her automotive career working full time at Smith Ford. After becoming the General Manager, she met her husband Patrick Sykora and the pair became partners in the business. Since then, Annette has made great strides as a woman in the automotive industry.

In fact, out of her 69 employees, 22% are female. Smith South Plains Ford Lincoln has special recruiting and training programs to attract and retain this number. Annette admits that it’s hard work. She says that dealers should have a family-friendly environment, flexible scheduling, and specifically promote and recruit women. To hear more great insight from Annette, be sure to watch our entire interview above.

Did you enjoy this interview with Texas dealer Annette Sykora? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic with host Jim Fitzpatrick at

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