The Motor Trades Association of Australia (MTAA) and its member organisations will host a free online forum discussing business strategies and leadership models for women in the body shop industry.
The presentation will be held between 12 pm and 1 pm on 16 November 2023 and is open to anyone wanting to know more about the industry.
Hosted by TV and radio presenter Erin Molan, the Passion to Panel forum will feature a panel of change-pioneering women who will discuss the ‘aha’ moment that kickstarted their careers; how they attract, retain, and lead staff; the mindset that sets leaders apart and how they prepare the next generation; and how women in leadership can inspire others to achieve greatness.
The panel consists of Melisa Rowe, Managing Director at Esperance Smash Repairs in Castletown, Western Australia; Carly Ruggeri, co-owner of Euro Panels in Geelong, Victoria; Andrea McCarthy, Director at McCarthy Panel Works in North Mackay, Queensland; Sarah Karavasilias, Business Development Manager, in-house counsel, and HR and OHS officer of MPSR Group in Marrickville, New South Wales; and Alison Turnbull, co-owner of Al’s Panel Shop in Berrimah, Northern Territory.
Rowe is passionate about her rural community, small businesses and the automotive industry, and runs her business with her husband, David. She recently won the Automotive Women of the Year award for Western Australia, the Volunteer Employer Recognition award in 2022, and the Esperance Chamber of Commerce and Industry Business of the Year award in 2017. Rowe was also the Chair of the Chamber’s board for several years. She completed the Australian Rural Leadership Program in 2011 and has been involved with the local Future Leadership Program over the past few years.
Ruggeri comes from a small business background, with the body repair sector being a major part of her life for nearly two decades. Running her award-winning body repair business with business partner and brother Jake, Ruggeri places an emphasis on further development and advocacy in the automotive industry, seeking to develop her own skills and supporting her team in doing the same.
McCarthy, the 2023 Queensland Training Small Employer of the Year, has more than 25 years’ experience in the collision repair industry. Throughout her career, she has worked to be a voice among organisations that can spark positive change. In 2011, McCarthy joined the committee of the National Auto Collision Alliance (NACA), a Motor Traders Association of Queensland (MTAQ) division, and in 2020 became chair of the division. Her role with MTAQ / NACA, coupled with her position on I-CAR Australia’s industry advisory board, allows McCarthy to invoke unique and broader perspectives into the male-dominated industry, welcoming diversity and learning to adapt training to suit individual team members.
Karavasilias worked as a criminal lawyer for eight years but after having children, she found herself at a crossroads – continue practicing part-time as a solicitor or look to brighter horizons. In 2022, Karavasilias decided to join the family business, an award-winning body repair shop, where she manages 70 staff.
Turnbull has been in the automotive repair business for more than 30 years. To keep ahead of industry change and make her business more profitable, Turnbull had to change her thinking about training, staffing and workflow issues. Fifteen years ago, she hired her first skilled migrant employee and began employing more local apprentices each year to ensure the future of her workforce. Turnbull ensures her staff are fully trained and is always looking for new products to make workflow more efficient.
Click here to register.