Newsletter - Fall 2020 Print

Women with Drive

Greetings AWAF Members,

I hope this letter finds you well.  Although we have not been able to meet in person, AWAF has continued to provide virtual opportunities for growth and development.  On October 1, AWAF Board member and professional coach Susanne Cordes-Hoelterhoff presented “Model of Freedom® , A Different Perspective on Cross Cultural Agility”.  Susanne is the only Model of Freedom® Certified Associate in the USA, and she provided valuable insight into the cultural differences we observe in our global businesses. 

On October 21, our Membership Committee is hosting a Member Check-in Social.  This event is open to both members and nonmembers and is a great way to stay in touch.  I plan on attending and hope you do too. 

On November 12, Julie Miller and Jenn Tankakow will present “2020, The Year of Curveballs: Using Strategic Planning Concepts to Take Ownership of Your Journey”.  I can’t think of a more appropriate title for 2020!  Julie and Jenn’s company, JointPivot, facilitates strategic planning, problem solving and process improvement, and coaching.   I am looking forward to hearing how I can apply these concepts personally, and I hope you will join me.

Wrapping up our year, we have our Annual Holiday Event, which is virtual this year.  Our keynote speaker is Lisa Drake, Chief Operating Officer of Ford North America.  We are so excited to hear from Lisa as we bring 2020 to a close.  Our second annual AWAF Awards will also be presented at the Holiday Event, so get your nominations in right away.  More information on the awards can be found on the AWAF website

We are always looking for new ideas to fuel women’s progress in the automotive and mobility industries, so please let us know what’s on your mind.  Stay safe and I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming AWAF event!


Sue Rokosz
President, AWAF


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Save The Date For These Upcoming Events

Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 4 pm - Check-in Social- Connect with other women in automotive at this virtual networking event. Register at

Thursday, November 12, 2020, 4 pm, 2020 - The Year of Curveballs: Using Strategic Planning Concepts to Take Ownership of Your Journey. Julie Miller, President & Co-Founder, and Jenn Tankanow, Vice President & Co-Founder, of  JointPivot  will show how to use the strategic management methodology (Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix),  to create, visualize and execute your personal strategy:  Register at .

SAVE THE DATE, Wednesday, December 2, 2020, 6 pm, Annual Virtual Holiday Party. Be inspired by Lisa Drake, Ford Motor Company, COO of Ford North America and Vice President, Global Purchasing and help us celebrate our 2nd annual AWAF awards. Registration will open in the fall.

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Past Event Highlights

On August 3rd, AWAF participated in the Women in Auto Meet-Up as part of the CAR MBS 2020! Carla Bailo, president and CEO for Center for Automotive Research, interviewed Governor Gretchen Whitmer, AWAF presented a scholarship and attendees at the end of the event broke out into breakout rooms to network. A recording of the event can be accessed here.

Women's Breakfast at the TU-Automotive virtual conference - Julie Martin, AWAF advisory board member, spoke at THE ENGINE OF AUTO TECH INNOVATION in August. She spoke on how relationships are the key to negotiation success..

On Thursday, October 1, Susanne Cordes-Hoelterhoff, a cross-cultural executive and leadership coach and trainer, presented The Model of Freedom®. She helped attendees gain an understanding of culture, business cultures and what influences our communication with and trust of each other.

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STEM Presence

AWAF Rolls Out STEM Kit Challenge
AWAF invites high school and college students to submit their STEM KIT ideas. One idea will be selected and may be rolled out to middle school students, age 13 or older, to engage them in STEM initiatives. This is a great opportunity for high school students to earn community service hours. For more details and complete rules visit Deadline to submit idea is December 31, 2020.

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Scholarship Recipients

The pandemic has not stopped us from still presenting scholarships. The following scholarships have been awarded since the last newsletter:

Jennifer Mazzola

Eva Muller

Kathryn Mueller

For bios click on their name or visit our past scholarship recipient page for all bios and all of our scholarship recipients. 

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Membership Corner

Call for Volunteers
We need your ideas on important topics!

Please consider volunteering for FOUR NEW Ad Hoc Committees to further research, discuss and present recommendations for goals and tactics to the board. Activities to begin in November, with a goal of report-out and recommendations in early Q1 prior to our board retreat. Estimated time is 2 hours per month November-Jan on zoom calls, with potential offline 2-4 hours research/actions/report prep.
  • AWAF Board composition: setting goals for intention as it relates to diversity and inclusion
  • AWAF Talent pipeline:  Define sponsorship offering as services or resources to support corporate diversity and inclusion initiatives in ways that meet 501c3 legal framework
  • AWAF Board activities: identify continuous improvement goals and actions as they relate to mindful intention for diversity and inclusion
  • AWAF resource offering as it relates to paid corporate board positions as part of career enhancement support
Please contact [email protected] by October 30 to join a committee (more than one is OK!) and also advise if you would be interested to chair the committee.  This is a great chance to learn more about AWAF, network with members, gain committee experience and deliver value to our great organization - run by volunteers like you!

Carla Bailo, AWAF Advisory Board Member and President and CEO for Center for Automotive Research spoke in August at the virtual "Move America 2020" conference. She was part of the "Industrial strategy for the automotive sector" discussion.

Update on AWAF member and past scholarship recipient Abby Hemp goal to participate in the $2,000 2020 Grassroots Motorsports Challenge. Abby is the 
chief engineer and artist of Onofrio Pollock Racing and is working hard to raise $3,500, $2,000 for the car, plus the needed travel expenses, gas money, and tools. Currently, the team is $1,500 shy of meeting their goal. Donations accepted via Venmo by visiting Onofrio Pollock Racing on Facebook or e-mailing the team at [email protected]. Read for more details and how you can support this college student.

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Industry News

AWAF is accepting nominations for the Automotive Women's Alliance Foundation Awards.  This recognition is designed to celebrate and honor the achievements of the women and change champions who live the AWAF mission of advancing and empowering women in the automotive industry! All awards will be presented at the Holiday Event. Awardee attendance is required for all awards. Deadline to apply is November 1, 2020 Application and award details.

Foley Lardner Supply Chain Management Survey Results
With COVID-19 giving rise to a host of novel business and legal issues, automotive and manufacturing companies have been navigating new challenges. The disruption to global supply chains is an area that has impacted automotive and manufacturing companies. As companies look to prepare for the future and make their supply chains more resilient, the law firm of Foley & Lardner LLP has been steadfastly focused on supporting manufacturers and futurecasting.

To shed light on how supply chain management is evolving in the wake of COVID-19, Foley surveyed nearly 150 manufacturing executives from a wide array of industries on their key concerns and actions taken. Their survey responses offer valuable insights into strategic planning and risk mitigation that other automotive and manufacturing companies should be considering.

A link to the full report can be found here, but below are some of the key findings:

  • Nearly half (43%) of respondents’ companies have already withdrawn from China or are planning to do so—with many looking to reshore closer to home, be it in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico.
  • As a result of the pandemic, most respondents expect a shift away from models that focus on low costs and lean inventory and toward greater stability and resilience. Namely, 70% agree that companies will lessen their focus on sourcing from the lowest-cost supplier, while 62% agree that the focus on just-in-time manufacturing models will also decrease.
  • Most of the executives surveyed are taking prudent steps to manage risk, including strengthening contingency plans and reviewing their supply base for distress. However, the data also shows that we are not yet seeing the level of distress and supply shortages that some predicted at the onset of the outbreak.

The survey results provide a host of insights on how supply chain management might evolve and the key lessons learned from this pandemic. However, what was particularly clear was that some change is certain and that supply chains of the future will very likely look different than they do today. Not only due to the pandemic, but also the geopolitical landscape and economic headwinds that preceded it.

AWAF Sponsor Spotlight:

As an advocate for diversity, Faurecia is proud to partner with AWAF. Our strength and success come from embracing a culture of inclusion and developing a diverse workforce. Founded in 1997, Faurecia has grown to become a major player in the global automotive industry. With almost 300 sites and 115,500 employees in 37 countries, Faurecia is a global leader in its four areas of business: Seating, Interiors, Clarion Electronics and Clean Mobility. We are committed to giving an equal chance of success to all our employees, regardless of their gender and help them learn and develop professionally. We are intentional about working with partners, such as AWAF, that align with our mission of creating an open, inclusive and dynamic environment for all our employees. Together with AWAF, we look forward to continuing to increase representation of diverse talent, evolve our strategies in collaboration, and remain relevant and impactful through our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Michigan Women's Commission: Child Care Use Survey, September-October 2020 – MWC Unlocking Opps Subcommittee Child Care Use Survey

The Michigan's Women's Commission (MWC) is conducting an informal survey to better understand how families are handling child care during this mid-pandemic, back-to-school, restructured-workplace time period.

In particular, MWC would like to know: a) what families are doing for child care right now, b) what families need to happen in order to feel comfortable using child care outside your own home during the pandemic, and c) what does ideal child care look like in a post-pandemic world.

MWC will use these survey responses to help craft and advance policy proposals that better support families with childcare needs during and beyond our current state of emergency.

This survey is open to responses from Michigan residents until October 31, 2020. Optional individual and household demographic data is requested to ensure MWC receives feedback from a broadly diverse representation of Michigan families and child care circumstances. No personally identifiable information is requested, though respondents have the option to provide an email address to receive survey follow-up and other future information from the MWC. This survey takes approximately 6 minutes to complete.

For more information about the Michigan Women's Commission, please visit our website at If you have questions about this survey, please email the Commission at [email protected].


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Support AWAF through Amazon Smile

With more shopping happening online, please remember that AWAF is a listed charitable organization through AmazonSmile. By designating Automotive Women's Alliance Foundation as your favorite charity, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to AWAF. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know - same products, same prices, same service. 

Click here to designate the Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation as the organization of your choice to support and make sure when you shop through Amazon you are shopping on the AmazonSmile website.

“AmazonSmile and the AmazonSmile logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates."


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Higher Learning Endorser Sponsor

Horsepower Sponsors


Hybrid Sponsor

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AWAF Is A 501(C)3 Organization