Advancing Careers through Networking

At last year’s Show, SBN kicked off its women-centric initiatives on Monday afternoon with the ever-popular Gear-Up Girl women-only networking event.  As in prior years, the gathering drew an enthusiastic standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 members who were welcomed by network Chair Lana Chrisman. Overall this years event hosted over 200 female professionals and students looking to connect and move forward in the industry. 

During the awards presentation, two accomplished women were recognized for their dedication to supporting women in the industry. The Woman of Year award was presented to Jennifer LaFever of Roush Yates.

“SBN was honored to recognize Jennifer for her passion and support of women in the industry,” said Chrisman. “Jennifer exemplifies SheIsSEMA—she’s engaged, passionate about our industry, committed to education and an exceptional volunteer who works hard to bring young women into SEMA.”

The Rising Star Award is presented to the SBN scholarship awardee. To pay tribute to racecar driver Jessi Combs, who passed away in a tragic accident last year, SBN renamed the award in her honor.

“Jessi was a big supporter of the SBN, women, youth in the industry and our Gear-Up Girl event,” said Chrisman. “So it was fitting that we presented the Jessi Combs Rising Star award to our scholarship honoree Emma Powers in recognition of her interest in being part of our industry and her commitment to advancing her career.”

To encourage other young women to connect with industry-leading professional women, female students who participated in the SEMA Student Program were invited to attend Gear-Up Girl. “SBN is focusing more on networking, engaging with and mentoring young women,” said Chrisman. “Gear-Up Girl gives female students a chance to meet and learn from successful women in our industry who want to support young women interested in pursuing a career in the aftermarket.”