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Deborah Noell Finance Manager, Ashley Yalacki Marketing Director, Kim Calaway Assistant General Manager, and Hannah Boettger Technician with BMW of Loveland

Featured Article

The Women of Automotive

Article by Desiree Gustafson

Photography by Diandra Brooks and David Grossman with Colorado Photography

Originally published in Windsor City Lifestyle

While talking with the women in this feature, we learned that most of the misconceptions about the automotive industry are the opposite of what we think from the outside looking in. If you are like most of the population, you don’t put the automotive world on the top of your list when looking at careers. For most women, landing in the automotive industry is not planned and is usually something that happens by accident; but as you’ll learn from the women featured here, the automotive world is not what you think, and the opportunities for advancement are vast!

Women make up about half of the labor force, but in the automotive industry, that number drops to just over one quarter. In an industry labeled a “boys club”, women are usually far outnumbered but we hope that statistic changes after learning more about this fast-paced and fun industry. From finance and marketing to technicians and dealership directors, the sky is the limit for women looking for a career in automotive. 

Jessica Zumbrun | Director, McDonald Toyota

After an internship in college, Jessica discovered a new passion for business and decided to change her major. During her senior year, she was contacted by Toyota about joining their corporate team. Intrigued by the offer, Jessica accepted the position before graduation and moved to California immediately after. Starting with Toyota in 2003, she stayed on the corporate side in multiple positions until 2016, when she had the opportunity to join the team of Ehrlich Toyota in Greeley and has stayed with the team to become part of the McDonald Automotive Group. She learned that most people view the industry as being dealership centered, when in fact there are so many other opportunities outside of the traditional dealership setting. 

Being a part of often the second largest purchase decision in someone’s life, Jessica loves that the process still involves and relies on the relationship between the dealership team members and the customer. The value that this provides to the guests is significant and will only increase over time. Being challenged and empowered at the same time, Jessica has found that she has been given an incredible opportunity to be a bigger part of her community! “I have also been given an incredible opportunity to be a bigger part of our community. I currently serve on the Board of multiple non-profit organizations, including Boys & Girls Club of Weld County, Weld Community Foundation and Colorado Auto Dealer Association” she shares. 

Kimberlee Calaway | General Manager at BMW of Loveland

A chance encounter during a bartending job led Kimberlee Calaway to interact with the Controller and Office Manager of Loveland BMW. Upon realizing her amazing people skills and intelligence, they invited her to interview for their Client Advisor position. That was 11 years ago, and she has never looked back. Kimberlee has found that the automotive world allows individuals from all different backgrounds and education levels the opportunity to earn very competitive money no matter what degrees you have. Being driven and hardworking is the key to succeeding and she loves seeing the number of women in the field growing. Fortunate enough to have had great leaders, she found that there is a huge support for women to succeed. Inspired by her peers and leaders, Kimberlee has learned the kind of leader she wants to be and that you can treat everyone like family. 

Hannah Boettger | BMW Technician 

Hannah is in her 10th year as an automotive technician, and she currently holds Master BMW, Master ASE, and High Voltage Specialist certifications. After deciding to take a different career path, she got a job at an auto parts store through a friend and that led her to enrolling in technical school, and finally BMW school. Being an automotive technician is physically demanding, dirty, and stressful. Though it can be mentally and physically exhausting, Hannah has used that as a pivot to learn and improve. “Difficulties and adversity are just part of the game. When I face a challenge, I look it straight in the eye and say “WHAT?!” I stay positive and remind myself that I can handle anything that comes my way. I take each setback as a lesson and use it to get stronger and better.” 

Inspired by her mentors she has found support and patience within her team. Learning that value over quantity is the best approach to doing things right. Owning her own BMW and being a member of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of BMW Car Club of America have opened new opportunities to enjoy the spirit of driving. She loves taking her BMW to the track and has found empowerment from keeping at it for all these years. She has become a successful female role model for any woman who may want to do something similar, all while staying true to herself and not letting anyone dull her shine.

Deborah Noell | Finance Manager at BMW of Loveland

After being an executive assistant for 18+ years, Deborah Noll decided on a drive past a dealership “I can sell a car, surely it can’t be that hard.” That is when her career in automotive began. After 8 months on the sales floor, she moved to finance, where she has currently been for 5 years. Loving what she does, she has found that the automotive world is fun, and she enjoys meeting new people every day and getting to help them purchase their dream car. Wanting to change the stigma around salespeople and dealerships, Deborah has found that the team she works with are kind, intelligent professionals who work hard to create an amazing guest experience for everyone who walks through their doors.

Motivation for her is when a guest leaves her office with a giant smile on their face, this helps her to push for helping more people enjoy the experience of buying and financing a car. For anyone wanting to pursue a career in the automotive world, she encourages you to take a chance and as her father would say – Never give up. Work hard and fight for what you want.

Ashley Yalacki | Marketing Director at BMW of Loveland

Ashley Yalacki has found that working in the automotive industry has made her stronger and more outspoken. She has learned that in the world of automotive, everything is fast-paced; you must speak up and be collaborative. In an ever-changing business, you face a new challenge every day, making the environment fun and exciting. Ashley shares that women in the automotive world may be outnumbered but she is always meeting impressive and influential women from all facets of the industry constantly and that is empowering. Being in the industry for 7 years, Ashley appreciates the innovation of the automotive world. Seeing new models and features evolve over time gives her a chance to explore how to market those to potential buyers. Looking forward to the future, she is excited to learn and grow in an ever-changing industry!!

  • Deborah Noell Finance Manager, Ashley Yalacki Marketing Director, Kim Calaway Assistant General Manager, and Hannah Boettger Technician with BMW of Loveland
  • Jessica Zumbrun (right) presents a $10,000 donation to Weld Food Bank CEO, Bob O’Connor
  • Jessica Zumbrun
  • Jessica Zumbrun (right) along with Emily Tilton, United Way, kicking off the Car Raffle for the 2022 Holiday Season
  • Kim Calaway receiving The Most Valuable Player of the Year Award
  • Hannah Boettger teaching a Service Seminar at a Women's Event

Businesses featured in this article