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The following four women were selected to receive MIW honors. They will be recognized at a gala dinner celebration held in conjunction with the WIN Educational Conference being held May 4-6 in Baltimore, MD:
- Cheryl Boswell, CFO, DCR Systems LLC, Duluth, Georgia
- Lauren Fix, President, Automotive Aspects Inc., Lancaster, New York
- Lisa Siembab, Owner, CARSTAR Berlin, Berlin, Connecticut
- Ruth Weniger, CEO, Airbag Solutions LLC, Ivins, Utah
“The nominees this year showcased a breadth of responsibilities,” stated Russell Long, President of Change Innovations. “I was impressed with their dedication, creativity and accomplishments. The Award recipients reflect well-rounded profiles of achievement in their jobs, in the collision repair industry and in their communities.”
Long’s organization, a business consulting and executive coaching group, was contracted as an independent third-party entity to conduct the interviews and select the honorees.
“Each year, women from different facets of the collision repair industry are selected for their passion and commitment to progressive and positive evolution of the industry,” stated Denise Caspersen, WIN chair. “There is so much opportunity for women to have rewarding careers—the sky is really the limit for those with skill, creativity and a strong work ethic.”
The MIW program's charter aligns with WIN’s mission to “enhance the role of women in the industry.”
For more than 14 years it has recognized more than 80 women for their professional accomplishments and for going beyond requirements of their positions to give back to their communities.
“We are proud of the fact that MIW recipients are active and visible in the industry for years after they received the MIW award,” said Margaret Knell, Director of Corporate Administration at I-CAR, a 2001 MIW Honoree, and Co-Chair of the 2015 MIW Committee. Established in 1999 by AkzoNobel, WIN acquired stewardship of the Most Influential Women program in 2013.
Cheryl Boswell is constantly asking this question, “Can we do it better?”
Boswell is the manager partner and CFO of DCR Systems, LLC, a company that develops outsourced, turnkey accident repair centers based on ‘lean manufacturing’ principles. Boswell provides strategic leadership for DCR Systems, overseeing the company’s financial functions while developing best practices. She is also a recognized Process Improvement (“Kaizen”) leader who has volunteered her time working with repairers and insurers on process improvement in both the United States and Canada in order to foster better relations for the benefit of the consumer.
Embedded in the concept of lean is the principle of continuous improvement, which is why she’s always asking, “Can we do it better?” WIN said what is unique about Cheryl is that not only does she have the insight to ask the tough questions, she has the ability to explain difficult concepts in a way that resonates for a diverse audience.
When asked about what the MIW award means to her, Boswell said, “it means I have an obligation to push myself and ask, what more can I do for the industry?” She is an active volunteer in her community and in the industry. She has lent her time to the WIN Membership Committee and the Collision Industry Foundation (CIF), where she has served on the Board of Trustees since 2013 and also serves as the organization’s Treasurer.
In March she was elected to the WIN Board of Directors. Said Petra Schroeder, a fellow CIF Trustee and WIN board member, “Cheryl is a doer—someone who makes things happen. Coming up with new and better ways to get things done, seems to be second nature to her. I have great admiration for her.”
Lauren Fix said that she wants to educate drivers across America…and she’s doing it! Fix comes from a long line of automotive professionals and began working on cars at the age of 10. It wasn’t long before she was immersed in the car culture, restoring and driving her own beloved rides.
Fix soon realized that she might be able to share her “I can do that” enthusiasm to motivate others to think differently about vehicle maintenance and safety. Working as The Car Coach, Fix has become a nationally recognized automotive expert, author, spokesperson, media guest, keynote speaker, television car host, race car driver and ASE certified technician. A trusted car expert, Fix is a top woman in the automotive world and provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and safety issues. In the past several years, Fix has expanded her audience across the country in person, print, and on-air to educate people about a wide-range of automotive topics and issues. Highlights of 2014 include multiple national appearances (CNN, Fox Business News, NewsMax TV, Arise America, HLN, Al Jazeera America, and Inside Edition) covering the latest trends in automotive technology, and information for consumers on proper car maintenance, travel and repairs.
WIN said that Fix stands out among other automotive professionals because of her high visibility in the public spotlight, her strong drive to educate others and her unique role as a liaison between the repair shop, the automotive boardroom, and the average driver’s home garage. A recipient of multiple industry awards and recognitions, she said she is most proud of her credibility with consumers. Her contributions bridge the growing gap between specialized technology and the average driver. Fix said that she lives the saying posted over her desk: “Do what you love, love what you do."
Lisa Siembab said she likes to “fight the status quo.” Eight years ago, dismayed with the friction and contentiousness of other collision repair groups in her state, she founded and served as Executive Director of the Connecticut Collision Repair Specialists (CCRS) Organization, with the goal of bringing all constituents of the industry together in a more cooperative environment. Recently, CCRS became ASA Connecticut.
Siembab entered the industry 20 years ago as a marketing professional with the CARSTAR organization, ultimately becoming Marketing Director for CARSTAR Corporate for over 225 locations. In 2008, she was drawn back to the shop environment, and is now overseeing day-to-day operations at the CARSTAR Berlin location in Berlin, Connecticut.
“I’ve known Lisa for over 10 years,” said Dan Young, Senior Vice President of CARSTAR. “If I’m choosing sides for a team and I want to win, I’m picking Lisa. She’s professional. She’s competitive. She perseveres through tough times and can be as compassionate as any person I know.”
WIN said her compassion is shown in the volunteer work she does to benefit the collision community and her local community. Siembab said she believes strongly in helping those who are often overlooked, especially where language may be the barrier. To this end, she volunteers at Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford, a non-profit organization providing adult literary services to the Greater Hartford Community, and teaches for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), a program that focuses on literacy and speaking skills to assist the student in entering the workforce. Siembab said she loves working with her students and providing them with the skills that will enable them to thrive and compete in the workforce. She has also served on the National Auto Body Council’s In-Language Committee, which focused on translating a glossary of collision industry terminology and translating it from English to Spanish.
When Ruth Weniger was asked, “What does it mean to be named a Most Influential Woman?” she said, “I hope it means I’m leaving something good behind?” For those who have worked with Ruth Weniger, her influence is unquestionable. Said Denise Caspersen, WIN’s Chairwoman, “Working with Ruth is an opportunity to learn from a mentor, a professional coach, and an outstanding leader with great integrity, composure and diligence. Ruth’s attention and dedication to what she believes in is beyond measure.”
Weniger is the CEO of Airbag Solutions, the leading restraint system resource in the country and an early adopter of all on-line information delivery for the collision industry. The company regularly donates subscriptions of their content to technical schools and colleges around the country. She has also become a recognized presenter in the industry on such topics as personal development planning tools for CEOs and time management.
Weniger has been a tireless volunteer for WIN who has taken an active role in the Conference Committee and Communications Committee for several years, serving as the Chair of the Communications Committee since 2011. She has also been a member of the WIN Board of Directors since 2011. In her various roles within WIN, she is viewed as someone who knows how to lead without pushing others aside, and who has also raised the level of professionalism within the organization by being herself. She also serves on the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) Scholarship Selection Committee.
A woman of many professional accomplishments with exposure to influential leaders within the industry, she said she is inspired most by those who persevere, even in the face of adversity. As a long-time volunteer with organizations that assist victims of domestic violence and rape, she is moved by the spirit and accomplishments of the people who are served by these organizations.
For more information about WIN and the 2015 WIN Educational Conference, visit www.womensindustrynetwork.com.