By CRM staff

Toronto, Ontario -- March 15, 2019 -- More than 50 women are in leadership roles at CARSTAR locations, providing CARSTAR a distinct advantage in serving customers, insurance partners, and the community.  Many other women are working their way up the ranks, from technicians and painters to customer service and estimating.

“We have an amazing network of franchise partners across North America, and we’re proud to count more women among our franchise leadership than any other collision repair network,” says Hannah Ross, senior marketing director for CARSTAR.  “The female leadership within the CARSTAR family and their success is a testament to their hard work, commitment to serving their customers and communities as well as their unique skills and perspective that drives growth and achievement.”

With celebrating women in the industry, CARSTAR has prepared a number of stories of women in leadership roles that have strived in the collision repair business.

More and more women are taking over the CARSTAR locations started by their families, highlighting a distinctive benefit offered by CARSTAR – the ability to retain independent ownership while being part of a national network.

For LaDonna Russom, a growing CARSTAR operation provided the opportunity to join forces with her husband Brad.

“The CARSTAR Rutherford store opened in 2010 and we opened Dyersburg in 2013,” notes Russom. “It has been a great opportunity for my husband and me to work together.  Attending CARSTAR’s annual conference and being able to network with other women in the industry allows you to feel you have a support system."

Women’s roles in this industry and the ability to balance work/life are very rewarding but challenging. It is good to know you have those you can lean on for encouragement and support.”

Rosanna Lucarelli traded a career in banking for the bodyshop.

“It has been a learning experience and it has been nice to work alongside my husband and support him,” says Rosanna Lucarelli, who runs CARSTAR Stoney Creek in Ontario with her husband Domenic.  “I was an employee at a bank and decided to come into this business to do bookkeeping and manage the office, all the while raising a family. By taking care of the office, it took a load off Domenic's shoulders so that he could focus on the facility. As we have been here for many years, we have obviously seen a lot of changes.  We have grown with the company and have seen a lot of changes, some good and some not so good. It has also had its challenges.  I would not be in this line of work had it not been for my husband, but I definitely think more women should get involved in this industry in the trade side of it because there is so much opportunity.”

 The women of CARSTAR have created their own network group to share insight and guidance, and even have breakout sessions during the annual CARSTAR conferences.

 “I think having more women involved in the industry helps to end a stigma that can go along with an industry such as this. Raising three daughters and one son, we want them to know they can work in any industry as well as be an entrepreneur and succeed no matter what the odds are. Hard work, integrity and respect go a long way!” says Ashley Van den Hoven, of CARSTAR Elmira in Ontario

Kathy Giles sees CARSTAR as a powerful resource in continuing the success of the four generations leading their business.

“I am in the collision repair industry because I am the happy wife of the owner,” said Kathy Giles, a partner with her husband at CARSTAR Fergus (Giles) in Ontario. “D.G. Giles Auto Body Company Limited has been a family business since 1955. My husband's grandfather started the business, then his father took over, now my husband, and soon, our son will. Being a female partner with CARSTAR has been busy, educational and a lot of fun. CARSTAR opened many doors for our facility with computer programs, functions with our CARSTAR family, fundraising (cystic fibrosis) and more.”


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