SEMA Show to Provide Tools to Empower, Equip and Elevate Women in Automotive

By Laura Pitts

The 2023 SEMA Show in Las Vegas is gearing up to be one of the best events to date, thanks in part to a new, fully customizable education program. Attendees can take advantage of the robust SEMA Show Education schedule to create a best-in-class professional development experience during the SEMA Show (October 30-November 3) and throughout the year.

Highlighting the lineup of world-class seminars is the SEMA Women in Automotive Symposium, designed to provide a resource for women to network, mentor and participate in professional development programs geared toward helping them accelerate and advance in their careers and business. This inaugural event--taking place in Room N258 on Wednesday, November 1, from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.--will help women address common challenges faced by women in the industry, find solutions, gain new tools, and learn essential skills to drive business and career advancement.

Women lead

(From left to right) Julia Landauer, Amanda Busick and Carolyn Jackson.

Executives, general managers, middle managers, department heads, emerging leaders, diversity managers and related automotive professionals will benefit from several sessions, beginning with an inspiring opening keynote called "Drive: How to Gain and Maintain a Competitive Advantage" led by two-time racing champion and entrepreneur Julia Landauer, who has 21 years of competition under her belt, most recently starting the No. 44 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Away from the track, Landauer is a sought-after motivational speaker, having participated in TEDx Talk and as a contestant on Season 26 of CBS' reality TV show "Survivor." She has purposefully built her brand to be where technology, community and racing intersect while advocating for STEM education and women's empowerment as a motivational speaker. Landauer will encourage the audience to take ownership of every aspect of their lives and cover topics such as authenticity, leadership, teamwork, fear management and embracing discomfort.

Following will be a power networking luncheon and fireside chat called "Communication Secrets, Secrets of Success and Maintaining a Success Mindset." This session will be led by FOX Sports Reporter Amanda Busick and feature Carolyn Jackson, vice president, brand strategy, Barrett-Jackson. This interactive session will see Busick interview Jackson for career insights and thoughts on the tenacity and determination of a committed and dynamic team, a leadership state of mind, empowerment and challenges, plus the achievements of her career as a top female executive in the automotive industry. Audience members will also have an exclusive (and invaluable) opportunity to ask questions, so come prepared!

Women Rapid

(From left to right) Melanie White, Jacki Lutz, Deanna Singh and Shaundra Dineen.

Rapid-fire-style workshops are next on the schedule, with four 15-minute sessions designed to help attendees engage, discover and connect with subject-matter experts and thought leaders on small-business strategies and industry topics, including:

  • "Becoming A Woman-Owned Certified-Enterprise," led by Melanie White, CEO and owner of Hellwig Products.
  • "Self-Branding: The ACTION Behind Building Your Personal Brand," led by Jacki Lutz, senior manager marketing communications, corporate at Sensata Technologies.
  • "The Power of Mentorship, Sponsorship and Allyship as a Strategy for Success," led by Deanna Singh, managing partner at Uplifting Impact.
  • "Make the Jump! Four Steps to Becoming the Authority in Your Industry," led by Shaundra Dineen, award-winning motivational speaker and podcaster.

The program concludes with a moderated conversation with industry executives in a session designed to teach how action leaders are working toward gender equity and insights into the most significant challenges (and opportunities!) facing the industry today. 

"The further you advance in your career, the more important it becomes to hear directly from senior executives about the critical issues on their radar--and how you can also prepare to address such challenges as you progress through the ranks. We're looking forward to providing this opportunity, and so much more, to the women in the industry as part of this inaugural SEMA Education program," said Pamela Brown-Matthis, SEMA director of education.

The "Driving the Future of Automotive: C-Suite Insights" panel, co-hosted by SEMA Businesswomen's Network, will be led by industry executives explaining what they are doing personally to support women leaders through mentoring, sponsorship and modeling effective allyship, followed by a Q&A session. Moderated by Cheryl Thompson, the president and founder of Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement (CADIA), the one-hour session also features panelists Kim Less, vice president, aftermarket at Nissan North America; Subi Ghosh, executive vice president, Strategic Partnerships & Marketing at Stream Companies and partnerships chair at Women of Color Auto Network; Jayme Blasiman, founder of Femanic Garage and founder and co-owner of Women's Motor Fest; Matilda Johnson, chief experience officer at City Classic Cars; and Axel Cooley, president of Metallon.  

The SEMA Women in Automotive Symposium is free for all 2023 SEMA Show attendees. Online registration for the SEMA Women in Automotive Symposium is available here. Registration for individual sessions is also available at the links below. 

2023 SEMA Show Women in Automotive Symposium Schedule

Wednesday, November 1

Room N258

  • 11:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m PDT/Opening Keynote "Drive: How to Gain and Maintain a Competitive Advantage," featuring two-time race champion and entrepreneur Julia Landauer.
  • 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. PDT/Power Networking Luncheon and Fireside Chat hosted by FOX Sports Reporter Amanda Busick and featuring Carolyn Jackson, vice president brand strategy, Barrett-Jackson.
  • 1:00 p.m.–2:45 p.m. PDT/Micro-Learning Lab (15-minute, rapid-fire-style workshops) featuring Melanie White, CEO and owner of Hellwig Products; Jacki Lutz, senior manager marketing communications, corporate at Sensata Technologies; Deanna Singh, managing partner at Uplifting Impact; and Shaundra Dineen, award-winning motivational speaker and podcaster.
  • 3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. PDT/"Driving the Future of Automotive: C-Suite Insights" panel, co-hosted by SEMA Businesswomen's Network (SBA) and moderated by Cheryl Thompson, president and founder of Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement.

Stay tuned for more details on the world-class SEMA Education program for 2023, which will be headlined by keynote speaker, world-renowned athlete, entrepreneur and philanthropist Tim Tebow. Register for the SEMA Show at by September 29 for just $60. After, registration is $120.