Business Tools

SBN Women's Leadership Forum, From A Participant's Point of View

By Ashley Reyes

Whether it’s caring for children and a family, working in an environment surrounded mostly by men or differences in communication styles, women in the automotive aftermarket often face unique challenges. The SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) Women’s Leadership Forum is a three-day day program focused on helping women in the automotive aftermarket develop skills needed to become strong, effective leaders.

Womens Leadership Forum

The SBN Women’s Leadership Forum, taking place March 1–3 in Southern California, is an immersive experience that focuses on futuristic next-level leadership trends.

Taking place March 1–3 in Southern California, the event is an immersive experience that focuses on futuristic next-level leadership trends. SBN select committee members Tiffanie Hartenstein, CEO at ORACLE Lighting, and Aliceje Keyburn, graphic/media designer at Yamaha Motor Finance Corp., were among the participants of the 2022 inaugural event. Here is what they had to say about this year’s program:

What is the theme of this year’s Women’s Leadership Forum?

Hartenstein: This year’s theme, “Dare to Lead!,” embraces the challenges that we collectively face as leaders when learning new skills to improve both personally and professionally. The power of community and collective learning will be at the heart of the event.

What makes the Women’s Leadership Forum unique from other leadership forums?  

Hartenstein: SBN’s Women’s Leadership Forum brings together leaders from the automotive aftermarket industry specifically. This allows attendees to create bonds with others who are aligned with their careers.

Keyburn: This is a unique forum that not only focuses on leadership and career growth but also acknowledges some of the hurdles that women sometimes face in the work environment. That is something that other leadership events don't offer or do not spend enough time talking about.

It’s helpful to connect to other women who have faced similar struggles and gain insight on how they may have handled various situations. It’s also great to meet a lot of “powerhouse” women and learn how they were able to climb the ladder and become successful in our industry.

What are some challenges women face in the automotive profession, and how does this forum help them overcome those challenges?  

Hartenstein: Being a woman in leadership can feel isolating, especially in a male-dominated industry. Having an opportunity to spend three days with each other and release those feelings helps to build greater confidence and a sense of belonging.

Keyburn: I learned from our previous forum that women are usually underpaid or don’t speak up like they should for positions they feel they should have earned. This forum gave me the tools and understanding in how to have these conversations and successfully negotiate what I am looking for out of my career.

What would you say to those who are on the fence about attending?

Hartenstein: We had many women attend last year who didn’t know any of the others there. Our program is designed to quickly create friendships and inclusivity. You will return feeling refreshed with new skills to help you in your career.

Keyburn: If you are on the fence about going, I would urge you to think, “How could it hurt to go?” There are a lot of great educational and inspirational speakers that share their stories, but also offer time to chat about personal experiences or concerns. It is a great way to network with various people and unlike other networking events that last an hour or two, this multi-day forum allows you more time to build relationships with fellow women and meet more people.

Registration is limited. Reserve your spot for the SBN Women's Leadership Forum now.