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Alliance ladies take the stage at Women In Auto Care conference 

For the first time in two years, the association met face to face and spent three days in Indianapolis reconnecting

San Antonio, Texas—For the first time in two years, the Women In Auto Care Association met face to face and spent three days in Indianapolis reconnecting. The theme of the meeting was Reconnect, Revitalize and the lineup of speakers made sure to do just that. 

The Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance’s Anne Coffin, director of Information Technology and Tara Topel, owner of Topel’s Service Center, a Bumper to Bumper Certified Service Center, took the stage being recognized as the 2021 Woman of Excellence and Shop Owner of the Year, respectively. Each woman spoke about their journey to leadership, their struggles, and achievements. 

Coffin’s presentation,“The Long and Winding Road,” talked about each stop along her journey. She represented each opportunity with the city she lived in at the time, the cars she drove, and most importantly — what drove her. She encouraged listeners, “The path is never straight, and that’s OK … share your voice, and know that you’ve earned your right to be there.” Coffin closed with six life lessons she’s learned along the way — including, “Everyone has a backstory — be kind” and “Leaders are leaders because people follow them.” 

Topel wrapped up with a journey down the Yellow Brick Road. Topel’s struggles as a young business owner resonated with many women in the room. Topel and her husband are second-generation business owners and took on a massive construction project in the fall of 2019. Topel discussed the hardships of expanding a business during the pandemic, the loss of their beloved business coach Bob Greenwood, and the unwavering hope of “jumping at opportunities today, not ‘someday.’” Topel used the Wizard of Oz theme throughout her presentation, and concluded by reminding attendees that much like Dorothy, “you’ve had the courage within you all along”. 

Both ladies credited the Women In Auto Care Association for their development, strength and commitment to the automotive aftermarket. For more information on joining Women In Auto Care, please visit www.autocare.org/networking-and-development/communities/women-in-auto-care. 

Alliance meeting attendees also included: Nikki Paschall and Barbara Henry (Alliance HQ), Felisha VanderPol and Allison Kazmerski (Auto-Wares), Melissa Howard (Carparts) and Jennifer Vitaro (Hahn Automotive). Howard and Vitaro also serve on the Alliance’s Sales and Marketing Committee while Topel helps guide the Service Center Advisory Council. 

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