Valerie Daniels-Carter was elected as the first African-American woman to chair the American Automobile Association during the company’s recent annual meeting in Boston.
Daniels-Carter is co-founder, president and CEO of V&J Holding Companies Inc., the nation’s largest female-owned franchise organization, based in Milwaukee. Starting her franchise empire in 1982 with one Burger King restaurant, she now has a 137-until multi brand company that includes franchises such as Soft Pretzels, Pizza Hut, and Nino.
In a recent interview, Daniels Carter described her vision for AAA.
What is the significance of your election as the first African-American female chair?
I represent an opportunity to support women in leadership. The retail buying power of women is in excess of 60 to 70 percent. I have been involved with AAA for more than 20 years and (AAA) did the right thing at the right time. We have had an African-American chair before. I am the first African-American female.
What are your top priorities this year?
My top priority is to ensure that AAA remains the undisputed leader as it relates to customer superiority and roadside assistance. We are always looking for opportunities in other business lines with travel and financial services.
How is AAA doing with membership growth?
My other priority is to grow the brand. We are at 57 million members. We want to be 60 million members by 2020. We need programs and strategies … to get to those members in place.
What programs is AAA focusing on to generate additional members?
We envision AAA being the leader in roadside services, mobility, discounts and rewards, and in collaboration with other organizations that we partner with. We also are moving in mobile technology areas.
For example, AAA has rolled out a digital auto loan application and a mobile app for discounts to Dunham’s Sports, Hard Rock Café or Papa Johns.
She has been active with AAA for 22 years and served on multiple board committees, including Dearborn-based AAA Michigan – The Auto Club Group, the second-largest AAA club in North America. She has played a leading role in raising the association’s collective preparedness in cybersecurity.