Wave Makers!

For me, the iconic and cultural image of Rosie the Riveter surfaces when thinking about strong, courageous women. While World War II was before my time, I remember first learning about Rosie in school. I could have used a genuine female leader or business role model here, but I chose Rosie because she represents the 19 million American women in the workforce and the 350,000 who served in the military during the war, providing for their country.* In factories, shipyards and elsewhere, women stepped up, led and accomplished great things for a nation in need.

Rosie is also memorable to me because she reminds me of my mother. My mom led our family through challenges and endured while doing what mothers do best – show unconditional love for their children. She also managed a hectic life in the 1970s, raising three children while juggling three jobs at a gas station, bank and local restaurant. When I see Rosie’s “We can do it!” speech bubble, I hear my mother and think of the many other prominent women leaders with whom I’ve interacted. Those four words are much more than a slogan, they speak the truth.

To this day, I am surrounded by resilient women, from my wife to my pastor’s wife to all my female co-workers. They lead by example and display absolute determination that impressively blends with the fruits of the spirit and significant other characteristics that influence their awareness, maturity and management in their personal and business lives.

My teammates help us execute our mission, vision and core values every single day. Through extraordinary effort, the MRAA’s women leaders make achieving excellence possible. They boldly roll up their sleeves and face challenges as individuals and as a united team. Their commitment and discipline are awe-inspiring.

March is Women’s History Month, so we will honor our 14 female leaders by introducing them to you. Their contributions and guidance have helped to make the MRAA what it is today and what it will be in the future. Each of my colleagues plays a vital role in strengthening the MRAA and carrying out our vision to produce a thriving marine industry driven by dealer success.

Across the world and within the marine industry we serve, our team sees incredible women amplify their roles to lead, make an impact and create change. Along with getting to call them co-workers and friends, I call them wave makers for the ripples they create within boating. I’m also honored to learn from them and gain inspiration daily to succeed in my role here.

Wave Makers are the MRAA's women professionals making a BIG difference in the marine industry!

Let’s meet the MRAA team:

  • Liz Walz – Vice President of Education, MRAA Leadership Team
  • Allison Gruhn – Vice President of Business Development, MRAA Leadership Team
  • Liz Keener – Director of Dealer Development, MRAA Leadership Team
  • Sherri Cuvala – Director of Membership
  • Michele Rosacker – Administrative Manager
  • Sarah Korbel – Events and Operations Manager
  • Angela Murphy – Online Education Manager
  • Stevie Cook – Certification Specialist
  • Grace Schmidt – Design Coordinator
  • Anna Eaton – Marketing Specialist
  • Jennifer McLachlan – Membership Specialist
  • Gabrielle Ronnenberg – Sales & Marketing Specialist
  • Carolyn Howell – Education Coordinator
  • Nichole WishartBusiness Development Specialist

Honoring Women in the Marine Industry
The MRAA supports professional women, our staff and others by supporting significant initiatives. We’re sponsoring and sending a dozen or more people to an Associations North “She Moves: Where Business Meets Brilliance” event here on Tuesday, March 12 in Minneapolis. The unifying event elevates, excels and empowers women.

The MRAA also sponsors Soundings Trade Only’s AIM Women in the Industry events, including the “International Women’s Day Event: Avoiding Burnout” on Friday, March 8, featuring speaker Melina Cordero, P20 Founder and President. We also sponsored the valuable 2024 Women in the Industry Miami Event, featuring Kim Sweers, “The Boat Boss,” Owner of FB Marine Group; Brenna Preisser, EVP and President Brunswick Acceleration, Chief Strategy Officer, Brunswick Corporation; and Ellen Bradley, Chief Brand Officer and SVP Marketing and Communications, National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).

Along with other respected companies in MarineMax, Volvo Penta and the NMMA, we are supporting the groundbreaking Soundings Trade Only Women in the Marine Industry Study 2024 to help empower women. This will be a first for our industry and the study of women marine professionals, focusing on three areas: attracting, retaining and developing female talent.

Darlene Briggs Woman of the Year award

Finally, the MRAA Educational Foundation and Boating Industry magazine annually present the Darlene Briggs Marine Woman of the Year Award to an outstanding woman actively involved in the boating industry, recognizing dedicated service, persistent commitment and the advancement of women in the marine business. This past year’s recipient was Michele Goldsmith, Vice President and General Manager of the Soundings Trade Only group.

It’s rewarding to intermingle with so many female leaders in the marine industry, and an honor be associated with such a distinct group of influential women here at the MRAA. I sincerely appreciate and wholeheartedly celebrate each of my colleagues during Women’s History Month (and beyond)!

[*According to www.nationalww2museum.org]