Women's Automotive Association International Names Spirit of Leadership Honorees


Six accomplished industry women have been chosen to receive the esteemed 2015 Spirit of Leadership Award presented annually by the Women’s Automotive Association International (WAAI) in recognition of outstanding professional achievements, community involvement, and contributions to the growth and progress of the automotive industry.
This year’s honorees represent diverse segments of the auto industry. Celeste Briggs serves as director of General Motors’ Women’s Retail Network; Luanne Brown is president of eToolDevelopers, a member of the SEMA Board of Directors, and chairman of the SEMA Cares Committee.  Ruth Fruehauf, founder and CEO of the Fruehauf Trailer Historical Society, authored, Singing Wheels, a biographical essay commemorating the centennial founding of the Freuhauf Trailer Company.
Debbie Pollack, Luxury Automotive Marketing senior strategist, specializes in brand building and luxury lifestyle programs. Elaine Robertazzi, retired and former owner of Liberty Lincoln-Mercury, currently sits on the board of trustees of the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton, New Jersey. The sixth honoree, Susan Scarola, former vice chairman of DCH Auto Group and the 2008 recipient of WAAI’s Professional Achievement Award, now serves as president of the DCH Charitable Foundation.
The women will be honored at the 16th Annual Spirit of Leadership Awards Reception on Saturday, January 24, 2015, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at a.Muse Gallery in San Francisco, where attendees will be treated to a guest appearance and exhibit by Nicola Woods, master of classic automobile paintings. The reception is being held in conjunction with the 2015 NADA Convention. A portion of the event proceeds will be contributed to the WAAI International Scholarship Program, which provides tuition assistance to qualified students pursuing careers in the automotive industry.
“The women we’ve chosen to honor this year are noted not just for their extraordinary careers, but also as role models and mentors in the automotive industry and their community,” said Lorraine Schultz, WAAI founder and CEO.  “They truly embody the spirit of leadership, and we are proud to recognize their achievements. We also extend deep appreciation to our Diamond Sponsor, Auto Trader.com, Kelley Blue Book and Manheim, for their outstanding support of our Spirit of Leadership Awards Reception.”
Founded in 1995, WAAI focuses on recognizing the achievements of women in the automotive industry, providing networking and relationship-building opportunities, and encouraging growth through mentoring, educational endeavors and scholarships.
For additional information on the awards reception, including sponsorship and advertising opportunities, and to purchase tickets, visit the WAAI website, www.waai.com. Or email to Lynn Wilhelm, WAAI president, lmwwaai@gmail.com, or call 248.646.5250.

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