Maureen LaFontaine was a true pioneer in the automotive industry. She co-founded the award-winning and nationally-recognized LaFontaine Automotive Group in 1980 with her husband, Michael LaFontaine, Sr. by her side. While raising a family, Maureen started selling vehicles on a part-time basis, honing her sales skills and learning the many facets of the automotive business. She soon became top salesperson of LaFontaine’s first Cadillac Pontiac GMC store in Milford, visiting local businesses to promote the benefits of their dealership and to show her commitment to the community.
Maureen LaFontaine was an inspiring, leading woman with a big heart and passion to give back. Maureen lived by three word: Faith, Family, Friends. Her everlasting legacy continues to inspire us daily and for that, the Maureen LaFontaine Spirit Award lives on.
Maureen further demonstrated her initiative and determination by attending the Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts. Her vision led the company to become General Motors’ first Gold L.E.E.D. Certified dealership. Maureen was a dynamo who ensured that the “LaFontaine” name maintained a strong presence and commitment to the community through numerous sponsorships, involvement with Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Foundations, charitable contributions and community support.
Outside of the dealership, Maureen was recognized for her efforts as a leading woman in automotive through her commitment with the Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and by serving as an Executive Board member of the Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation (AWAF). Through this, she mentored and empowered future women of the automotive industry. Upon stepping down from the board, Maureen continued this empowering partnership by providing a $10K scholarship fund for women pursuing the automotive industry here in Michigan.
Maureen was a humble recipient of many remarkable awards including the 2018 Women in Retail Network Premier Dealer Award recognizing her growth, retention and profitability within the automotive retail market, as well as Automotive News’ 100 Leading Women of 2010. Maureen was proud to have received the nationally recognized Dealer of the Year award, alongside her family, at LaFontaine Cadillac Buick GMC of Highland for over eight years running. Maureen lives by her motto of “faith, family and friends.” Her family has always been her absolute pride and joy. Mike and Maureen have been blessed with four beautiful children Mike Jr., Christie, Kelley, and Ryan, along with 15 amazing grandchildren to continue on with traditions in the years to come.
She was determined to succeed in a male-dominated business and certainly did. “The Family Deal is our Madre without a doubt. The life lessons she taught us all daily through her life’s journey demonstrated the emphasis of family. It was through her actions, she created who we are today and what we strive to be. A philosophy that would only be alive through her passion, daily examples through her actions, and the heart of our company that is so generous and giving.” – Ryan & Kelley LaFontaine