With a fresh take on what it means to provide opportunities for women in the automotive industry, SBN held its first-ever Women's Leadership Forum. Gathering in-person March 16-18, in beautiful Costa Mesa, CA, dozens of SEMA companies participated. More than 50 women participated in the inaugural event, where they spent two full days networking and learning how to advance their careers. While women professionals often share struggles that hinder their success, doing so in a male-dominated industry is extra challenging.
"Oftentimes, women have to work twice as hard to prove themselves capable of doing the same job as their male counterpart," said Tiffanie Hartenstein, Chair of the Task Force. "This program was a success and provided women the confidence they need to make meaningful impact in their companies, and supported women from various careers to thrive in the workplace."
Learning tracks enabled participants to focus on the aspects that they were most interested in, whether it was on personal development or general leadership. The agenda was packed with topics such as Emotional Intelligence, Personal Development, High Performance Leadership, Goal Setting and Self Improvement. The program also provided an intimate setting for networking, games and building new friendships. Creating a place for SBN members to come together and give each other support, advice and opportunity proved to be an invaluable experience.
"I'm new to the industry and it helped me come out of my shell and network," said Christina Strom of Ikon Industries, LLC. "I also learned a little more on how I could better my company as a female owner, and how to talk to my employees and have them take me seriously."
In addition to networking activities, the event included sessions with expert speakers, several that were led by the world-renown Dale Carnegie program. Topics focused on creating and building skill sets in high-performance leadership, dealing with difficult people and emotional intelligence.
"I needed this more than I thought. I have gone to these types of events before but never with others in our industry," said Sara Morosan of LGE-CTS Motorsports. "It was so impactful to see the other women in our industry that go through all the same things that I am going through. My bond with other women and business owners grew 10 times what I thought it would. It was great to spend time with them all especially outside of the SEMA Show."
Mallorie Anderson of QA1, also reflected on her experience:
"It was refreshing to be surrounded by other positive and empowering women, discussing both personal and professional development and leadership opportunities. At times I forget there are many powerful women in this industry, so networking with everyone in attendance was a priceless experience for me."
The event also included the announcement of the SBN All-Female Build partnership with Ford's Bronco Brand. The build is the next big project for the network that will assemble women in automotive together, and highlight the many talents of the industry's awesome women builders.