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AAA elects first African-American woman chair

Black Women in Business

AAA elects first African-American woman chair

Valerie Daniels-Carter was elected national chair of the American Automobile Association at the auto group’s 114th annual meeting last week in Boston. She is the first African-American woman to chair the national AAA organization.

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. 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.

Daniels-Carter, who also serves as a director on the board of the Green Bay Packers and various other corporate boards, started her franchise empire with one Burger King restaurant in 1982. She built her company into a 137-unit, multibrand organization that also includes Auntie Anne’s Soft Pretzels, Coffee Beanery, Nino’s Southern Sides, My Yo My Frozen Yogurt and Pizza Hut.

“As a visionary and committed AAA leader, Valerie will serve the organization well, building and expanding upon the trust our members have placed in the brand for more than a century,” Marshall Doney, president and CEO of AAA, said in a statement.

In a Q&A Friday morning, Daniels-Carter discussed where AAA is and where it is going.

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…

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I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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