Women in Automotive

CDK has a history of supporting and researching women’s role in the automotive industry.

We are dedicated to growing through research, as well as celebrating the women that drive the industry forward.

CDK's Women in Automotive Research Journey

  • September 2017

    Language of Gender

    CDK mines 64k dealership reviews to learn about differences between male and female car-buying experiences.

    • Men keep it technical in negative reviews
    • Women tend to feel their identity is negatively impacting their treatment, they often feel stressed, taken advantage of or overwhelmed, even before walking in the door.
    • Women cite compassion and customer-listening as key to good experiences
  • January 2018

    Women Dealer Survey

    CDK asks women delaers about their experiences in automotive.

    • (-) Women report stagnant career growth and most had experienced some form of bias
    • (-) Little focus on recruiting, retaining or promoting women
    • (+) Most women would recommend the industry and enjoy working with a variety of customers
    • (+) Perceptions among those working in a dealership with female leadership were more positive
  • April 2019

    Job-Seeker Survey

    CDK surveys female job seekers about considering a career in automotive.

    • Many women assume a "sales" role is the only high paying job that exists in the dealership
    • Women have doubts about dealership pay, benefits and work-life balance
    • Women are interested in Customer Experience roles. As a generalization, people-facing jobs appealed most to female respondents
  • July 2019

    Women in CX interviews

    CDK interviews women in dealership customer experience roles.

    • Women are transforming customer experiences through problem resolution and active customer listening
    • Both customer AND employee centric cultures are key to CX success
    • CDK identifies a dealership growth path for women in CX
    • The traits identified by women as their strongest are aligned with the traits needed to make a good CX organiztion
  • January 2020

    Consumer CX Survey

    CDK surveys consumers about the role of CX in their recent dealership visit and how different experience factors influenced their perception and likelihood to continue doing business with the store.

    • Dealer selection is most strongly influenced by past customer experience
    • Customers who interacted with a CX Manager were significantly more likely to recommend a dealership than those who did not; this was inflated for female consumers versus male consumers.
    • 97% of those with a CX Manager reported being very or extremely likely to do business with that store again in the future and 94% found it very or extremely important for dealerships to have this role in place.
Meet the CDK Global Women in Automotive Team
Kathy Gilbert
Kathy Gilbert
Director, Customer Success

Kathy helped found Women in Automotive, with the goal of empowering and developing women in the auto industry.

Kathy Gilbert
Director, Customer Success

With more than 24 years’ experience at CDK, Kathy Gilbert is an accomplished and respected professional within the automotive industry. She has held various roles of significance at CDK and recently accepted the position of Director, Customer Success. In this new role, she builds and leads the new Customer Success Advocate Team, with responsibility for managing the relationship between CDK and its customers.

Five years ago, Kathy helped found Women in Automotive, with the goal of empowering and developing women in the auto industry.

Stephon Jones
Stephon Jones
Director, Sales and Business Development

Stephon Jones is in his 14th year with CDK Global, currently serving as Director for Sales and Business Development, Minority Dealer and Women Retail

Stephon Jones
Director, Sales and Business Development

Stephon Jones is in his 14th year with CDK Global, currently serving as Director for Sales and Business Development, Minority Dealer and Women Retail. Overall, Stephon has worked in the automotive retail and consulting industry for over 20 years. He has held automotive retail positions of increasing responsibility during this time.

Stephon is a 1980 National High School All American in Track and Field. He graduated from Ball State University with a B.S. degree in Management Information Systems. Stephon is a decorated combat veteran US Army. During Desert Storm-Iraq, he led his Sapper platoon of 33 men through 14 separate combat missions behind enemy lines resulting in the destruction of 80 enemy vehicles, 60 ammo bunkers, and the capture of more than 200 enemy prisoners of war supporting the 24th INF DIV, 18th Airborne Corps.

Kathryn Kittel
Kathryn Kittel
Manager, Professional Services

Kathryn is an accomplished, process driven professional with 24 plus years’ experience in the automotive dealership world.

Kathryn Kittel
Manager, Professional Services

Kathryn is an accomplished, process driven professional with 24 plus years’ experience in the automotive dealership world. Her long tenure with CDK Global has recently developed into a management role within the Accelerator Consulting group, an intricate spoke on CDK’s Customer Success program. Kathryn manages a team of 10 to 15 consultants, along with managing consultant development, orientation and ongoing training projects.

Prior to her management role, Kathryn was a CDK Accelerator Fixed Operations Consultant partnering with dealerships to improve efficiency & profitability, meeting with dealership executive level management to discuss strategy and staffing opportunities. Kathryn’s previous roles also included CDK software implementation and Implementation Project Lead.

Last year, Kathryn attended her first Automotive News Leading Women’s Network conference her connections from that conference lead her to Women in Automotive. The influence from these two groups inspired her to organize a “Women in Consulting” group. This group is a platform for women within CDK’s consulting organization to share thoughts, discuss hurdles, challenges associated with their roles and travel. Women in Consulting also creates opportunity for our members to take on leadership roles with the responsibility of setting up meetings, creating agenda, building content and arranging guest speakers.

Grace Wepler
Grace Wepler
Research and Insights Manager

Grace's research experience has spanned a wide variety of topics and industries over the last 13 years.

Grace Wepler
Research and Insights Manager

Grace Wepler is currently a Research & Insights Manager at CDK Global. Her research experience has spanned a wide variety of topics and industries over the last 13 years. During her time at CDK, she has been dedicated to improving the Customer Experience for our dealers, working to implement ongoing feedback processes to listen and respond to the concerns of our customers. She has also become passionate about researching and providing insights to help empower women in the automotive industry. Most notably, she facilitated CDK’s Women Dealer Study, which was featured in articles by Bloomberg, Fixed Ops Magazines and Automotive News. In her free time, you will find Grace with her husband and two kiddos exploring Southern California!

Kira Pinard-Welyczko
Kira Pinard-Welyczko
Senior Market Research Analyst

Kira joined CDK in January 2019 and has rapidly built a strong foundation of knowledge around automotive retail.

Kira Pinard-Welyczko
Senior Market Research Analyst

Kira joined CDK in January 2019 and has rapidly built a strong foundation of knowledge around automotive retail, supporting CDK projects spanning market research, customer voice and product research. Before joining CDK, Kira conducted market and UX research projects for big technology clients in the Seattle area. She’s passionate about sifting through data to surface fresh insights, and sharing untold stories through research. Outside of work, Kira’s a self-proclaimed ‘foodie’ and music lover, and loves zipping around in her 2013 Subaru Forrester.