During their inaugural Educational Symposium, the RV Women’s Alliance (RVWA) will present the first-ever Champion of Women Award to a company and an individual who embody the RVWA’s mission to elevate, educate and promote women.
From dozens of nominations, four companies and six individuals have been recognized as finalists for the Champion of Women Awards. The winner of both awards will be announced on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at the RVWA Awards Dinner.
Recipients of the Champion of Women award have made it part of their daily efforts to make the RV industry a place where women thrive, RVWA said.
“When the RV Women’s Alliance was started in 2019, we understood that it would take a collective of men and women to foster the type of environment for women to thrive in this industry,” said RVWA President Susan Carpenter. “We want to recognize those individuals that have been true champions of women throughout this industry.”
“Our organization would not exist without the generous support of the companies within the RV industry and there are many that not only support our organization, but they do amazing things to promote women within their companies,” said RVWA Managing Director Jessica Rider. “We want to recognize those companies that continue to help women thrive within their companies and within this industry.”
The finalists for the Champion of Women individual award are:
Denise Chariya, THOR Industries
Chariya is a driving force behind the strategic direction of the RV Women’s Alliance, serving on the RVWA Board of Directors and leading education and mentorship programs. Chariya brings her deep understanding of marketing and storytelling to her RVWA volunteer efforts, allowing the organization to reach more women and share the impact women make in the RV industry.
Kim Gregory, Coach-Net
Gregory has been instrumental in elevating women’s presence, professionalism, opportunities and promotion within the RV Industry. She commands respect in any room she is in, by exhibiting strength, integrity, transparency and compassion. She has been instrumental in the growth of the women on her team, constantly challenging them to step into their growth, while giving them the freedom to navigate the boundaries of their abilities.
Chad Reece, Winnebago Industries
From day one, Reece has been a champion of women in the RV industry. In his 35 years in the RV industry, he has hired twice as many females as males. Reece is the biggest cheerleader for his coworkers, he is the first person to congratulate a person on a new endeavor or, if needed, help open a door for them. Reece has also been a supporter of RVWA from its founding and ensures all Winnebago Industries employees know about RVWA and have the tools and support to join RVWA.
Amber Selking, Lippert
Selking has gracefully led the Leadership and Culture Department at Lippert for five years, where she implemented innovative programming to further the business’s cultural path, especially for women. Lippert Ladies was started by Selking with the goal of connecting, lifting and empowering woman in the RV manufacturing business. More than 500 Lippert Ladies meet at least twice a month to discuss and build on their endeavors as women in the workplace. Selking also brings continuing education to women in the workforce through the Lippert University platform.
John Tinghitella, RV Designer
Tingatella is a true believer of “women rule the world” and he has built his company by hiring women to fill the majority of his leadership and staff roles. Tingatella has shown that he will go to bat for women in this industry that have been under recognized and he works hard to give them the recognition they deserved. Tingatella is also a relentless believer in the RVWA mission, providing his time and resources to serve on the RVWA Board of Directors.
Macy Youngblood Towery, Youngblood’s RV & Outdoor
Towery is a person who constantly lifts others up, regardless of gender. She loves to educate her staff of mostly females, sharing her many years of RV industry experience. Her way of teaching is easy to understand and always makes her staff feel important. She is always looking for opportunities for her staff to grow and make them the best in the business, even if that were to not be at Youngblood’s. That is how you can tell she truly cares about her team as people.
The finalists for the Champion of Women company award are:
Bish RV of Junction City
The general manager of Bish’s RV of Junction City, Terry Muir, has long been dedicated to promoting, elevating, training and supporting women. Bish’s RV of Junction City has women technicians, women sales professionals, an all-women administrative office and women in diverse supervisory and management roles.
East To West
East to West has been a strong supporter of the RV Women’s Alliance, including making significant contributions to Drab to Fab, sending women to work on the Drab to Fab unit and letting RVWA use their facility to finish the unit. Leadership at East to West promotes women serving on RVWA Board of Directors, committees and task forces, as well as recruits members to the organization.
Nexus RV has proven to be committed to diversity through a conscious effort to review every and all applicants for any job opening. This effort has resulted in a CFO and four out of five directors being women. Moreover, one out of three plant managers is a woman. These managers have implemented six-step problem solving, ERP implementation, operational organization and been mentors to many other women in the organization. These leaders have helped Nexus RV get to the next level as a company.
Winnebago is a great example of a company who has an inside team dedicated to advancing women within their company. Winnebago Industries has been a strong advocate in seeking out, encouraging, growing and advancing all employees to maximize their potential and their contributions to their communities, the company and the RV industry. These roots go back to Louise V. Hanson, who with her husband, established Winnebago Industries. Hanson had a desire to empower women to follow in her footsteps of achieving prominent and leadership roles in the RV industry. She established a culture within Winnebago Industries of supporting women and encouraging the promotion of women, a culture that is still very much alive today.