SEMA Member News—January 2020

Shining a Light on Women in the Workplace

SBNNetwork members enjoy their evening during the SBN Reception held in the beautiful Westgate Hotel ballroom.

Providing opportunities for professional women in the automotive specialty-equipment industry is a top priority for the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN). The SEMA Show affords SBN members multiple ways to hone leadership skills, encourage the advancement and growth of women in the industry, and inspire entry into the industry through education and mentoring.

Advancing Careers Through Networking

At the 2019 Show, SBN kicked off its women-centric initiatives on Monday afternoon with the ever-popular Gear-Up Girl women-only networking event. As in prior years, the gathering drew an enthusiastic standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 members who were welcomed by network chair Lana Chrisman.

During an awards ceremony at the event, two accomplished women were recognized for their dedication to supporting women in the industry. The Woman of Year award was presented to Emma LaFever of Roush Yates.

“SBN was honored to recognize Jennifer for her passion and support of women in the industry,” Chrisman said. “Jennifer exemplifies SheIsSEMA. She’s engaged, passionate about our industry, committed to education, and an exceptional volunteer who works hard to bring young women into SEMA.”

The Rising Star Award is presented to the SBN scholarship awardee. To pay tribute to race-car driver Jessi Combs, who passed away in a tragic accident in August 2019, SBN renamed the award in her name.

SBNGear-up Girl is a highly anticipated event sponsored by the SBN and SEMA Education to bring together students and female industry professionals.

“Jessi was a big supporter of the SBN, women, youth in the industry and our Gear-Up Girl event,” Chrisman said. “So it was fitting that we presented the Jessi Combs Rising Star award to our scholarship honoree Emma Powers in recognition of her interest in being part of our industry and her commitment to advancing her career.”

To encourage other young women to connect with industry-leading professional women, female students who participated in the SEMA Student Program were invited to attend Gear-Up Girl.

“SBN is focusing more on networking and engaging with and mentoring young women,” Chrisman said. “Gear-Up Girl gives female students a chance to meet and learn from successful women in our industry who want to support young women interested in pursuing careers in the aftermarket.”

Fostering Equality and Camaraderie

SBNA new addition to last year’s SEMA Show, the U.S. map gave SBN Members the opportunity to proudly represent where they are from by posting photos to the map.

During the second leg of SBN’s Women Driven program, speaker, trainer and author Julie Kratz of Pivot Point shared stories, ideas and research from her book One: How Male Allies Support Women for Gender Equality. The Tuesday seminar, titled “Men as Allies: How Allies Partner for Equality,” touched on proven strategies for men and women to succeed together, including engaging allies in a diverse and inclusive workplace and utilizing tangible tools and strategies to facilitate interactive discussions on allies in the workplace.

In keeping with the collaborative theme, SBN’s Wednesday reception at the Westgate Resort & Casino set the stage for an evening of networking and camaraderie. During the much-anticipated event, conversation flowed as a capacity crowd of industry women shared stories and experiences, made new connections and learned more about SBN resources as select committee members mixed and mingled with the crowd.

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