By Allison Chisenhall Harding, SBN Member

Allison Harding - SBN This past fall, it became clear pretty quickly that COVID-19 might derail most of our plans for the first half of 2021. We would likely continue working from home, rather than traveling for business. The SBN Select Committee made the decision to pivot our resources into ensuring that, in a time where everything felt uncertain, members could be sure to find support in the SBN. We developed a plan with two goals in mind: professional development education and networking in a different way than we ever had before.

With that goal in mind, we created several paths targeted to members at different stages of their careers, ranging from team management, C-Suite, job hunters, and general soft skills that anyone could benefit from. Our overall objective was simple: to provide educational sessions from subject matter experts from every corner of the industry to cover every topic you have thought about but haven’t had dedicated time to explore. Along the way, members will learn from these speakers and then spend half of the session chatting with other attendees on specific discussion topics in small groups. This engagement transforms our sessions from the old-school ‘lecture style’ format into an interactive, dynamic discussion amongst peers and industry experts.

The session topics aren’t typical either; We tried to reach for creative sessions that we know our members would benefit from that are often not discussed in educational seminars. From discussing how to assert yourself in the workplace (in a productive way!) to reducing micromanagement while increasing employee self-sufficiency to guidance on how to manage different personalities effectively, we want to show our members that we are here to help them learn how to handle the parts of the job that sometimes have nothing to do with the job itself.

We have already made our way through four sessions in January and February, with 14 more continuing all the way through October, leading into this year’s SEMA Show. So, if you are already thinking about the SEMA Show and want to take actionable steps to make this year’s show even more productive, join in on these sessions! These resources provide you with a way to improve your professional skills while simultaneously meeting more of your industry peers before we can all gather together again. Our goal was optimizing our impact virtually in 2021, and we can’t wait to see how this impacts the SBN community moving forward. You can sign up for all of these events today on the SEMA website at! Go ahead and get them on the calendar – we will see you there!