General Motors and Certified Collision Group (CCG) made leadership changes this week, bringing two longtime women leaders in the industry into further leadership roles. The Women Industry Network (WIN) is also looking to award scholarships to aspiring female technicians.
Jennifer Goforth has been named GM North America sales, service, and marketing executive director.
Goforth succeeds David Marsh, who was also moved to a different position, along with Josh Tavel.
“My 26-year career at GM has gone by in a flash because in every role I really felt like I was making a difference for our customers,” Goforth told Repairer Driven News. “I am inspired by GM’s ‘Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions, and Zero Congestion’ vision and our new vehicle technologies that are making our vision a reality.
“I am excited about this new role because this will be the closest I’ve ever been to our customers. I will lead the team that helps our dealers maintain and service our customers’ vehicles keeping them on the road. I look forward to building from the strong foundation David Marsh built over the last three years. With my unique perspective, given my experience in electric vehicles and GM global regions, I look forward to finding new opportunities to move the business forward and support our customers.”
Previously, Goforth led global aftersales engineering and service operations, beginning in 2022, after serving as mechanical engineering global aftersales director.
Goforth has also held multiple engineering assignments for GM’s electrification strategy, including chief engineer for the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle (EV) in GM Korea and chief engineer for China Electrification.
She has more than 25 years of cross-functional experience in manufacturing engineering, production, product engineering, program management, and customer care and aftersales (CCA).
“I want to thank David and Jennifer for their continued commitment and leadership,” said Marissa West, GM North America president, in a news release. “Their extensive experience and track records for success uniquely position them to continue the momentum and growth for our Customer Care and Aftersales business.”
GM said its CCA business provides design and technical services for all phases of vehicle design, service, and repair. Through 18 U.S.-based distribution centers it supplies parts and accessories for GM vehicle brands worldwide to its dealer network and aftermarket customers.
CCG appointed a new CEO — Michelle Sullivan, previous AkzoNobel U.S. East sales director, effective Feb. 1.
Former longtime CEO Marty Evans was appointed executive chairman of the Board of Directors.
Sullivan has worked in the collision repair industry for 30 years and “brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record of leadership,” CCG said in a news release.
“Sullivan is passionate about leaving the collision repair industry better than she found it through delivering value, leadership, and involvement with numerous industry organizations,” the release states.
She has been a member of WIN since its inception and served seven years on its Board of Directors, including as a former chair. In 2016, she was honored with a “Most Influential Women” award.
“I am honored and excited to join Certified Collision Group as its CEO,” Sullivan said in the release. “I believe in the tremendous potential of this company, and I am committed to building on its legacy of success. Together with the talented team at CCG, we will navigate challenges, capitalize on opportunities, and create value for our affiliates.”
Also this week, WIN opened its 2024 WIN Collision Repair Student Scholarships — a way that the organization says it supports the industry, by investing in women who aspire to work in collision repair. The deadline to apply is March 8.
The scholarships are awarded annually to students enrolled in a post-secondary collision repair technology program.
In 2023, WIN expanded its signature scholarship program to continue its tradition of financially supporting a record 20 female students who demonstrated a desire to excel in the field of collision repair, WIN said.
This coincides with WIN’s new Student Engagement program which offers mentorship and networking opportunities between members and student associate members. The networking groups support new female entrants to the collision repair field intending to create lifetime friendships that further WIN goals for longer-term career advancement and retention.
This year, WIN has also partnered with the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) to administer and expand its 2024 scholarship program.
“Our scholarship team was looking to expand the pool of eligible students and CREF is well-known within the industry with its wider reach that perfectly coincides with our collective target audiences,” said Laura Kottschade, WIN 2024 Scholarship Committee chair, in a news release. “It has the necessary structure to administer a more expansive application and evaluation program with us.
“In addition, this allows WIN committee volunteers to focus on building relationships with students to ensure their success, help them interact with other students on the same career path, and match WIN members who can assist with additional mentoring as needed.”
Melissa Marscin, CREF operations and impact director, added, “Helping students pursue a collision education without accruing debt has made a huge impact for hundreds of students over the years, and CREF is thankful for the industry supporters like WIN who have made this possible by continuing to step up and donate to fund these annual scholarships and tool grants.”
Each scholarship applicant receives a complimentary WIN student membership. WIN also offers collision repair instructors access to free WIN memberships through the “Pay It Forward” campaign.
Scholarships are offered on two financial levels: Champion and Stars. Recipients are awarded a scholarship ranging from $500-$2,500 based on the selection team’s evaluation of their applications and interviews.
WIN scholarship recipients also receive a customized and well-stocked tool kit valued at more than $500.
All applicants must be high school seniors or post-secondary students currently enrolled, at the time of application, in a collision repair program and must have studied collision repair for at least one semester before applying for the awards.
Students will be considered for all scholarships/tool grants that they are eligible for based on the individual eligibility factors of each award, including gender, school, year in school, future plans, outside activities, and/or financial need.
The collision instructor must complete the Collision Repair School Solutions Survey for their students to be eligible for any of the scholarships/tool grants.
Featured image: Stock image of a female auto body technician. (Credit: mnbb/iStock)
Goforth headshot courtesy of GM
Sullivan headshot courtesy of CCG