FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. — Chrysler Financial invited women from throughout its organization to attend the second annual Women's Conference, which is designed to raise awareness of issues facing women in the workplace, in addition to discussing the newly independent financial arm.

The more than 120 participants of this three-day professional development conference represented Chrysler Financial's operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela and spanned the ranks of the organization, according to officials.

Paul Knauss, Chrysler Financial's president and chief executive officer, opened the event by challenging participants to recognize the effect they could collectively have on shaping the future of the newly independent company.

"Chrysler Financial is committed to having an inclusive environment where individuals are valued for their differences," he explained. "These differences provide us with the key to unlocking the innovation within our company and provide us with a strong competitive advantage."

The program also invited prominent women from outside the organization to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing females as they strive to take on greater roles in the auto finance business.

Colleen McDonald, president and owner of Holiday Automotive Group, and Sylvia de Leon, named one of the 20 most influential Hispanic women in the U.S. by Hispanic Business Magazine, were on hand to address the audience. They provided their own perspective on long-term career growth, mentoring and networking opportunities.

"This event reflects Chrysler Financial's commitment to personal and professional growth for our employees ensuring they develop to their fullest potential," noted Machelle McAdory, vice president of human resources and administrative services.

"One of the strengths at Chrysler Financial is our commitment to trust and camaraderie, so it's no surprise the company values the unique strengths and perspectives women bring to the table," she added.

Officials said break-out sessions were conducted to cover topics such as career development and professional presence, in addition to power mentoring and networking.

Members of the Chrysler Financial Women's Forum played a key role in the conference by providing their perspectives in planning and supporting women's issues and events like these, executives reported.

The Women's Forum's said its vision is to be a leading catalyst in furthering the success of females by enabling them to reach their maximum potential.