By Ashley Reyes
The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) named Lana Chrisman as the latest #SheIsSEMA Spotlight Member. Chrisman is the current SBN chair and executive director of the Lions Automobilia Foundation.
A 36-year industry veteran, Chrisman but grew up in the family business working for Chrisman Driveline Components before obtaining a position at John Force Racing as director of retail sales. Having been introduced to the SBN by Rose Kawasaki in 2015, Chrisman is now providing leadership guidance to help the network’s top goals.
SEMA: How many years have you been with your current company and what do you enjoy most about working there?
Lana Chrisman: I have been with the Lions Automobilia Foundation & Museum for one year. What I enjoy most about working at Lions Automobilia are the opportunities to serve and preserve our industry’s history. The museum provides various platforms to share Southern California’s automotive history and the bonds between the drivers, builders and racers to the manufacturers.
SEMA: What are three qualities that got you to where you are today? How have these qualities benefited you?
LC: Be visible, strong and true to self. Be visible by simply introducing yourself to others; do not be shy. Networking is a vital key to success and has opened many opportunities for me, including meeting some incredible people. Be strong and resilient when your job is most challenging. My Christian faith provides me power to endure situations that would otherwise slow me down. Do not compromise what makes you, you. I have my own set of beliefs and standards and I stand by them. I have 36 years in this industry with a respectable reputation and I attribute that to being consistently true to myself.
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?
LC: My biggest challenge as a woman in the automotive aftermarket industry, especially when I was much younger, was being recognized as a knowledgeable source regarding automotive parts. Granted, I started my career at age 17 with a quiet voice, selling driveline components (aka rear-end parts). Eventually, customers realized that I was a capable saleswoman who provided the correct information, parts and service, and customer confidence improved.
SEMA: Who are your role models or mentors in the industry? How have they helped you along the way?
LC: Rose Kawasaki introduced me to the SBN in 2015 and encouraged me to join and volunteer on the select committee. This was my first time volunteering at this level and the experience has been incredible, both personally and professionally. I am grateful for Rose’s support throughout my SBN journey and providing leadership guidance to help top the goals of the SBN.
SEMA: What is the best career advice you have received? How has this advice helped you either professionally or personally?
LC: The best career advice that I have ever received was from my Dad. He said to be patient and be a good listener. That simple advice has helped me in both my professional and personal life.
Do you know, or are you, a woman with a career in the automotive industry? Fill out a #SheIsSEMA spotlight form to submit a self-nomination or nominate a colleague and highlight how you or she is contributing to the specialty-equipment industry. Selected candidates are automatically eligible to be considered for SBN’s #SheIsSEMA Woman of the Year award, featured on SBN’s social media, SEMA eNews and recognized on the www.sema.org/she-is-sema website.