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Island auto dealer first woman to chair New Car Dealers Association of B.C.

Ann Marie Clark of Steve Marshall Ford will advocate for her industry
Ann Marie Clark, middle, and her team at Steve Marshall Ford. Clark is the first woman to chair the New Car Dealers Association of B.C.

Ann Marie Clark, dealer principal at Nanaimo's Steve Marshall Ford, said photos of car dealers at work typically show men in suits and ties with their arms crossed. She wants hers to show a woman in sparkly cowboy boots.

Clark is the first woman to chair the New Car Dealers Association of B.C. She was previously vice-chairperson and before that, treasurer, and it's an association she believes in. Clark recalled the group's work during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when she was worried about her 90-100 employees and their families, and the association successfully advocated to make the business an essential service.

"That really was my turning point where I [thought], they're doing a lot of good work," she said. "I was fearful for the business and the New Car Dealers Association fought for us to stay open, so that was huge."

There are other issues and challenges at the forefront now. Clark said she will advocate for dealers impacted by changes to the Clean B.C. new vehicle rebate program's threshold. She also has concerns with the threshold for the new car luxury tax, which she said shouldn't apply to a young family's base-model sport-utility vehicle, for example.

As for being the association's first female chairperson, she said she's always been "a girl in a man's world," but hopes other girls and women might see her in her role and feel like it's something they can do, too.

"I think what it means most to me is opening doors for someone else," she said.

About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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