Smithfield native is heavy hitter in the auto industry

NEW YORK – Karen Rafferty (Kimbro), formerly of Smithfield, received “The Network Journal’s Top 25 Black Business Women of 2009 Award” recently in New York City.

Rafferty, Chevrolet product marketing director, is a 1984 graduate of Buckeye North High School and is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Stewart of Yorkville and the late Brice Kimbro of Martins Ferry.

The event held in New York is designed to recognize and honor women whose professional achievements have significantly impacted an industry or profession, and who also have made an important contribution to their community. Rafferty is featured in the March issue of The Network Journal and was honored during the magazine’s 11th Annual Awards Program in New York City on March 12.

Rafferty was appointed director product marketing for Chevrolet Midsize and Sports Cars on Aug. 1, 2008. Previously, she was the regional divisional marketing manager premium, leading a team responsible for marketing and advertising of Cadillac, Hummer, and Saab in the Northeast Region. In 2006 and 2007, she was the Cadillac brand director for SGM China, headquartered in Shanghai, where she led a cross-functional team responsible for marketing Cadillac in China.

Under Rafferty’s direction, her team is leading the introduction of the 21st Century Sports Car – the all-new 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, coming to market this spring. She also leads a Corvette team that is on the cutting-edge of enthusiast marketing. In addition, her current assignment has her keeping the momentum going for the award winning Chevrolet Malibu and the best-selling domestic car in the U.S., the Impala.

Rafferty has been very active in racing Chevrolet Corvettes, Camaros and Pontiac Firebirds since 1987 and has won four U.S. National titles in SCCA Solo II competition and nine trophy positions. Shecompleted her first 26.2 mile marathon at the Detroit Free Press Marathon on Oct. 19, 2008.

She has worked for General Motors for 20 years and received a bachelor of arts degree in business/communications from Carlow College in Pittsburgh in 1993 and a masters of business administration degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Katz Graduate School of Business in 2001.


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