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Newsletter - First Quarter 2019 Print

Women with Drive

Greetings AWAF Members,

I am firmly convinced that AWAF members are the most accomplished and interesting (and fun) women in the industry and I am honored to serve as AWAF President!  

We ended 2018 with a great Holiday Event at the Whitney featuring wise words from Joe Hinrichs, Executive Vice President, Global Operations, Ford Motor Company.  And in spite of challenges from the weather, we are off to a fast start to 2019. Though Our Mix and Mingle was cancelled, it will be rescheduled soon. And at our first Fireside Chat of the year, on February 6, Julie Martin of Hella shared her career journey with us.  Fireside Chats are a unique AWAF member benefit that allows our members intimate access to senior auto industry leaders.

Our first professional development program, “You, Inc.” is scheduled for April 26 at Schoolcraft College in Livonia.  Our own AWAF Board member, Corinne Smereka, will show you how to develop your own unique “personal brand”. Corinne’s presentations have received rave reviews – we hope you will take advantage of this very special opportunity.

My own involvement with AWAF began with membership on the AWAF Scholarship Committee, and it didn’t take long until I was totally committed to AWAF.  I encourage you to visit the AWAF website,, to become more familiar with our committees and find one that piques your interest.  Our AWAF committees are always seeking new members with fresh ideas.

As of year-end 2018, AWAF has presented $414,500 in scholarships to 167 women pursuing careers in the auto industry.  This is a spectacular achievement! And there is an easy way for you to help us raise money to present even more scholarships.  When you make purchases on Amazon, use Amazon Smile and designate AWAF as the charity – AWAF will receive a donation equal to 0.5% of your purchases.  The unique AWAF link for Amazon Smile is:

I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming AWAF event!


Sue Rokosz
President, AWAF


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STEM Presence

AWAF is proud to be a sponsor of the DAPCEP 2019 STEM Day event on May 7th at the Michigan Science Center where middle school students attend hands-on workshops and meet professionals in the STEM fields. AWAF members will also be participating in a panel on careers in automotive at this event.

Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) is a nonprofit organization with 40 years of experience partnering with universities, training programs, and K-12 school systems in order to connect youth to the best science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educational experiences in Michigan. Their mission is to increase the number of historically underrepresented students who are motivated and prepared academically to pursue degrees leading to careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related fields through K-12 supplemental educational programming.

For more information on STEM Day


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Support AWAF through Amazon Smile

AWAF is now listed as a 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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Save The Date For These Upcoming Events

Friday, April 26, 2019 - “You, Inc.” – Discover and Create Your Personal and Professional Brand.
This AWAF professional development workshop takes place from 8:30 am to 4 pm at takes at Schoolcraft College VisTaTech Center in Livonia. 
Catapult your career into the next phase of growth!  Great brands can boost career potential, while poor brands can hurt.  Come discover and create your personal and professional brand and join us for a lively, highly interactive and entertaining session.  Register here.

Monday, August 12, 2019 - Annual Swinging "FORE" Scholarships Golf Outing takes place at Edgewood Golf & Country Club in Commerce Township. Our largest fundraiser for scholarships, this outing begins with breakfast and registration at 7:30 am and golf at 8:30 am. Be part of the fun by becoming a sponsor, golfing, donating a silent auction item or attending the lunch.  For more information and to register go here


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Past Event Highlights

Making new connections, learning new skills and golfing were all part of our past events. To see all the photos for these events, visit our photo gallery here.

Pumps & Power, November 5, 2018, 70 people attended this annual event held at  Neiman Marcus at the Somerset Collection. 
Cassidy Tucker, Director of Operations and Client Success at SPLT, spoke to the group and provided her perspective as a Millennial working at a start-up company that then is bought by an established automotive supplier. Cassidy was the very first team member working with the Founders to grow the SPLT from concept to product, leading its expansion in Europe. SPLT is now active in Germany, Italy, Austria, Spain, eastern Europe and the UK. German-based conglomerate Robert Bosch acquired SPLT in February of 2018. 

SPLT leverages urban technology to reduce inefficiencies in transportation and architect cities of the future. They partner with corporations, universities, and municipalities to provide a sustainable commute solution.


AWAF Annual Holiday event on December 5, 2018 at The Whitney was sold-out with 125 people attending. Joe Hinrichs, executive vice president and president of global operations for Ford Motor Company shared some of the insights and wisdom he’s gained during his extensive automotive industry career.  For more information read this article written by Chasidy Sisk and published in Autobody News.

Fireside Chat took place on Febrary 6, 2019 with Julie Martin, vice president sales electronics for HELLA. Over 40 members attended this intimate member-only event, held at a beautiful house on Pine Lake.

The evening started with some wine and a wide buffet, which was a great opportunity for the new members to meet with other AWAF members, for everybody to get to know each other and exchange about their work and experiences.

It followed by the traditional “This or that questions”, a convivial way to get to know the speaker more personally, below are some of them:

  • Classic movies or American Idol? – "Can I add The Real Housewives?" From this first question, the tone was set. Julie Martin knows, what she wants and she will ask for it even if it is not an option
  • Suit or Casual? "Casual, yoga pants preferably"
  • Start at 6am or 9am? "6am"
  • In your office, personal photos or awards and honors? "Personal photos"

Next, Julie Martin shared with us her impressive career journey: from being an intern at Ford, where she met Mr. Martin, to Purchasing Manager, and then Purchasing Director at the German company Hella and now where she currently is VP Sales.

Entering Ford was a natural progression for Julie Martin, whose grandfather worked on the assembly line and dad worked at for 35 years. On the other hand, entering a German company was a culture shock that, nevertheless, she succeeded due to her leadership skills as states “willingness to be responsible and bring value,” her communication skills, “using the right words can create a bridge and help close the deal," and her obvious care for people around with her.

Balance mother and career was another challenge that Julie Martin succeed by pushing for part-time hours and job sharing, back in the '90s, when it was not common. By being honest and confident about what she needed, and asking for what she wanted, she felt like she had the best at both roles, “The days I was home with my kids I was so happy, and the days I could leave them and go to work I was so happy”

If one day you feel overwhelmed or stuck, think about Julie Martin’s career and “ask for what you want.” 


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Membership Corner

New LinkedIn page! From our membership survey last year, we received feedback that we could "amp up” our social media presence. We have created a LinkedIn business page for AWAF that anyone can access. In the past we just had the private group, which we are still maintaining and encourage you to also participate in if you are not part of this group yet. Please visit our business page here and our group here.

AWAF has new sponsorship categories for those companies looking to enhance their offerings to their Employee Resource Groups. These sponsorships offer memberships and access to professional development. For more information contact Amy MacDonald

Julie Martin, Vice President of Sales Electronics for Hella has joined AWAF's Executive Advisory Council (EAC). To learn more about Julie go here. The EAC offers senior level executives in the automotive and affiliated industries the opportunity to provide counsel and guidance to AWAF for thought provoking ideas related to strategic direction, mentorship to AWAF membership and enhance relationships through professional socializing. 

Ann K. Bruttell, President and Founder of Meeting Coordinators, Inc., was awarded the Extreme Entrepreneur Award of 2018 on November 2019 at the 5th annual Best of MichBusiness Awards and Gala on November 29th. Ann K. Bruttell opened MCI’s doors in 1988 in Troy, Michigan. The company is a premier full-service Association Management Company that organizes and executes corporate meetings, conferences and events on local, national and international basis’s alike. They also oversee the day-to-day activities of various volunteer led Associations, big and small.


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Member Benefit - Are You Taking Advantage of This?

AWAF's 2019 Mentorship Program will be kicking off soon. Have considered being a mentor? We are looking for volunteer mentors to guide our members who are new or will be entering in the automotive industry. Please contact Vicki Adams at [email protected]  if interested in being a mentor. For more information on the program go here.


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Scholarship Recipients

Since our last newsletter we have given out six scholarships to the following:

Geraghty Ellis
Awarded on 12/5/2018
Antonia Chin
Awarded on 12/5/2018
Winnona Li
Melissa Baker
Caroline Orange
Awarded 12/5/2018
Ashley Kamlay
Awarded on 11/5/2018

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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Industry News

Week of CES 2019 • Interview with Stacey Randecker Bartlett - Co-Host of The Flying Car Show
by Patricia Price, AWAF Marketing Co-Chair

On January 7th, during CES 2019 week, at the Consumer Telematics Show by TU-Automotive, I was able to ask Stacey Randecker Bartlett , Co-Host of The Flying Car Show, a weekly radio broadcast covering the transformation of transportation a few questions about the automotive industry and her career.

What do you see as the greatest challenges & opportunities for women in the automotive industry in 2019?
It is mainly a field that we haven’t taken an interest in or studied. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) pathways are not usually sought after by women. When they get in there, the ratios are so far off that it is not always the most inviting environment to stay. Because it has been male-dominated for so long, often times the companies are less sympathetic to women’s issues ling being caregiver and mother. It amplifies everything that other workplaces have.

I encourage everyone who is looking for more women to start with girls. Go to schools. Make a priority to send your people into schools to talk about their career and to encourage girls to go to STEM paths.

Read rest of article here.

Seasoned Automotive Retiree and AWAF Supporter Joe Ziomek ti be Inducted into the Wayne State University College of Engineering Hall of Fame
by Kim Ziomek, AWAF Secretary

Many of you may not know that the Wayne State University (WSU) College of Engineering has a Hall of Fame event that takes place every year.  At this event, the College and the Departments honor their most distinguished alums.  This is an honor that is awarded to relatively few in the College and a selection committee of past Hall of Fame recipients have chosen the candidates they wish to induct into this year’s Hall of Fame.  

I was thrilled to hear from my father, Joe Ziomek (80+ years young!) that he is to be honored as this year’s Hall of Fame Inductee!   On April 18th at the WSU Campus, he and my mom will visit and accept the honor in person.

Read complete article here.


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Horsepower Sponsors
   Faurecia       Magna   

                                                              Deloitte      Autobeat Group                    

Adaptive Sponsors
Envisics LLC

Drivetrain Sponsors
Plante Moran
Irvin Automotive Group

Future of Women Scholarship Sponsor
Elder Automotive Group

Become a sponsor go here


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