This Women’s History Month we’re taking a closer look at the triumphs, plights, and current issues facing many women in retail automotive; from service technicians all the way to C-suite executives. On this edition of Diversity in Automotive, we’re pleased to welcome Wanda Cronic Howell, Dealer Principal of Cronic Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. Howell was also named ‘Woman of the Year’ by the American Business Women’s Association and today, she shares her journey and experience in the auto industry.
Howell got her start in the automotive industry in 1985 when she went to work the sales floor at her father’s dealership. Today, she has been running all three stores in the dealer group for over 20 years.
Howell is also a member of the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association, was a featured Automotive News all-star, member of the General Motors Women’s Retail Network and Women’s Dealer Advisory Council. She is no stranger to working through the challenges that face women in the automotive industry.
Howell explains that even though there are more women working at car dealerships and OEMs, they are still outnumbered. She adds that oftentimes, women have to work harder and achieve more than their colleagues in order to be heard.
Compensation and work-life balance are two big barriers that stop women from joining the industry. At Howell’s dealerships, employees are offered a base salary for at least the first three months of employment which allows new hires to learn and train as much as possible. She also believes that a better work-life balance would attract not only women but the younger generation of workers.
In terms of where her business is today, Howell says they are doing marvelously. In fact, all three of her dealerships have doubled profits between 2020 and 2021. Furthermore, in January the dealerships double profits again year-over-year. Wanda Cronic Howell is certainly off to a good start and we are wishing her all the best.
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