By Ashley Reyes
The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) named Tiffanie Hartenstein as this week’s #SheIsSEMA Spotlight Member. Hartenstein is the CEO of Oracle Lighting, which manufactures designer lighting products and technologies for the automotive powersports, motorcycle and marine markets.
SEMA: What is most challenging part of running your business or job?
TH: Keeping our teams motivated and communication flowing throughout all departments. We are lucky to have top-notch staff this year, which makes it a bit easier. Keeping our team's morale high is key to providing the best service possible to our customers.
SEMA: How many years have you been in the industry and what was your first industry job?
TH: This was my first industry job. Our business was very small when it started so there were no titles. My husband, who founded Oracle Lighting, and I wore all the hats. We were sales, shipping, customer service, marketing, product development, all at once, between the two of us. Thankfully now we have a large and talented team of people who can take over each of these departments.
SEMA: What are three qualities that got you to where you are today? How have these qualities benefited you?
TH: Stamina, resilience and faith. Building and growing a successful business is a monumental task. The saying “heavy is the head that wears the crown” really fits how I felt over and over again during the past 15 years. Thankfully I have the stamina to stick through the difficulties and resiliency to bounce back if we take a hit. I have always carried unbreakable faith that our business will be successful. There is never any doubt that we cannot achieve each goal we set.
SEMA: Being a woman in the industry, what have been your biggest challenges and accomplishments? Do you have a specific situation that comes to mind?
TH: There have been many challenges as a woman in this male-dominated industry. I see these same struggles for the females in my sales and customer service team as well. Unfortunately, we come in contact with men who prefer to speak with another male, assuming that we cannot answer their question with the same depth of knowledge. Thanks to SBN pushing for female advocacy in our industry, I've seen this improving greatly in the past few years.
SEMA: Who are your role models or mentors in the industry? How have they helped you along the way?
TH: I think Donna Foulger is a great role model in the industry. As the first female inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame, her presence was felt as an important part of SEMA's established growth. Her faith and dedication to build something that could last through generations is inspiring.
SEMA: Have you always wanted to work in the automotive industry? What keeps you here?
TH: As much as I love this industry, I didn't know it until I was in it. The automotive enthusiast culture is fast-paced and ever-changing. I love the innovation and family feel of our industry.