For the first time, Long Island women business owners now hold three of the top leadership posts at the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association (GNYADA), which represents the largest retail auto market in the nation.
The association represents 175 franchised new car dealers in Nassau and Suffolk counties, accounting for over 17,000 jobs on Long Island.
Overall, GNYADA represents 400 new car franchise dealers in the downstate region, including New York City, Westchester and surrounding counties, generating nearly $50 billion in economic activity. The organization is now led by new Board Chair Jane Millman, president of Riverhead Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. She joins returning Vice Chair Melanie Spare-Oswalt, president of Sayville Ford and new Treasurer/Secretary Jordan Daiagi Harary, president of Leader in Cars Auto Group — which includes Garden City Mazda and Huntington Mazda — three out of GYNADA’s seven officers are women, the most ever.
The new officers were sworn in at GYNADA’s annual charity golf tournament in Lake Success, which raises money for automotive education. The group raised over $110,000 this year and over $1 million since 2005.
The association provides a range of services for members to improve the car-buying experience for customers and advocates in Albany for dealerships and the jobs they support. GNYADA also runs the New York International Auto Show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. The auto Show is the oldest and largest Auto Show in the United States with over 1 million visitors that attend every year.
Millman has pledged to continue prioritizing the education of the next generation of auto technicians, who will help fill the estimated 46,000 industry jobs coming open in the New York region, most of them at franchise dealerships.
“It is critically important that we continue to bring a diversity of experience and perspectives to the leadership of one of the most important industries for New York’s economy,” said Millman. “That diversity extends from the showroom floors and the repair shops to the executive suites. My decades in the business, has taught me that we need to constantly learn and adapt to meet the evolving changes our industry and dealers face.”
“We are very fortunate to have someone with Jane Millman’s industry knowledge, experience, and insight as Chair of the Board of Directors for 2019,” said GNYADA President Mark Schienberg. “Jane’s vision and leadership skills combined with her commitment to our Association will be a tremendous asset to the GNYADA membership and franchised new car dealers at large in the coming year.”
Millman, a resident of Smithtown, began working full-time during summers away from college at the family dealership in Riverhead in 1984, at the age of 18. As a woman in an industry then dominated by men, Millman said she had to prove herself to co-workers and customers, successfully winning their loyalty and respect.
Before joining the family business, Millman held several roles and leadership positions in sales, primarily in the telecommunications industry. Millman returned to the Riverhead dealership in 1995, running it along with her brother. The dealership, which sells about 60 new and used cars per month, has 32 employees, many of whom have spent 20 or 30 years or more with the local family-operated business.
The dealership supports numerous local community organizations, including the Peconic Bay Medical Center Northwell Health, Riverhead Fire Department, Riverhead PBA and Riverhead Ambulance.
During her term as Chair of the Association’s Board, Millman said she hopes to promote and convince more women to choose a career in the automotive industry, noting that women represent a large percentage of retail jobs in other retail businesses.
Automotive jobs offer a long-term career path with competitive salaries with a great chance of upward mobility.