By Ashley Reyes
President of the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer Amy Jo Osborn is the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) latest #SheIsSEMA Spotlight Member.
The Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer is a SEMA Cares charity whose mission is to erase the effects of pediatric cancer and optimize each child’s quality of life through essential specialized intervention, beginning at the time of diagnosis and continuing throughout survivorship.
SEMA: How many years have you been with your current company and what do you enjoy most about working there?
Amy Jo Osborn: I have served as president for 14 years, going on 15 as a full-time volunteer. My husband and I formed the organization after losing our son Austin Hatcher Osborn to childhood cancer. There are many things I enjoy about working at the Austin Hatcher Foundation. The overall mission is filling gaps of service that children with cancer and their entire family face by providing a comprehensive psychosocial need at no cost the family. My colleagues are what make this organization thrive.
SEMA: What is most challenging part of running your business or job?
AO: A lot of people may wonder, “why the Austin Hatcher Foundation and SEMA?” Or “why automotive and pediatric cancer?” Well, the automotive industry is in the DNA of the Foundation. From my husband Jim’s family owning car dealerships and Jim racing professionally for over a decade, it is our family. We have encompassed vehicle builds and racing into our therapies for many reasons.
One: To teach a trade to children who may not be able to play sports anymore. Two: Team building for families and siblings. Three: occupational therapy by using hand and eye coordination, and four: driving simulation research study to prove if virtual reality improves cognitive function after chemo or radiation. The challenge is educating the need of the automotive industry in the pediatric cancer setting!
SEMA: What are three qualities that got you to where you are today? How have these qualities benefited you?
AO: Adaptability, persistence, and work ethics. Adaptability has benefited me in my role to be able to look at ever-changing success in the industry. Adapting to the need of patients and families. Persistence has been a large part in the success of the foundation. Solely relying on the support and donations of others, you have to have broad shoulders to hear the word "no" quite a few times. Persistence to keep educating the mission of the foundation and with education most see the need and get behind the mission! Lastly, but probably one of the most important, work ethics! There is no looking at the clock when starting a growing and successful business. Working long days and weekends is how, I feel, we have been able to be so successful.
SEMA: Who are your role models or mentors in the industry? How have they helped you along the way?
AO: Women, like Marla Moore, Rose Kawasaki and Jessi Combs—all with different walks in the industry, but all instrumental in the overall goal of the automotive industry.
SEMA: What is the best career advice you have received? How has this advice helped you either professionally or personally?
AO: The sky is the limit, and as you can see, the sky is never ending. This has helped me know that being creative, being innovative and reaching for goals beyond what is in front of you is all doable.
SEMA: Who was the most influential person on your career/goals?
AO: My husband, Jim Osborn.
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.