SEMA Member News July 2020

By Ellen McKoy

Undaunted by Challenges, SBN Works on Keeping Members Engaged

SBN Chair Lana Chrisman.

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” wrote the Scottish poet Robert Burns, which aptly describes many of the plans the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) had put in place for 2020 but which came to an abrupt halt as a consequence of the COVID-19 epidemic. First to go was an SBN Meet Up set for the Keystone Big Show. Plans for four regional Lunch and Learn events for mid-level female employees were also put on hold, and two CEO retreats for executive-level women and business owners, originally slated for summer and fall, may have to be rescheduled.

Despite the setbacks, though, the SBN remains focused and, in fact, is working diligently to keep its members informed and connected.

“While face-to-face events are on hold right now, we’re trying to fill in with some online activities,” said SBN Chair Lana Chrisman.

Ideas in the works at press time included replacing in-person Lunch and Learn activities with interactive webinars on a variety of career-development and other topics. The SBN was also working with SEMA staff to develop Tip of the Day postings on the network’s social-media platforms. Postings will likely touch on ways to cope with pandemic-related professional and personal concerns as well as inspirational ideas on leadership and moving forward in times of stress and uncertainty.

The SBN has also expanded its popular SheIsSEMA online profiles to biweekly instead of monthly. The network also recently held a successful general membership meeting via teleconference to further help members stay connected.

“I’m really excited that our select committee is dialing in on what our members need,” Chrisman said. “We are still in the process of figuring out how we can do virtual events successfully through our social-media presence. Our goal is to help our members stay engaged and informed.”

Maintaining Momentum

Industry women at the annual women-only Gear-Up Girl networking mixer.

With some activities still in flux, the SBN is moving ahead with its event lineup for the SEMA Show to be held in Las Vegas November 3–6. In keeping with tradition, the annual women-only Gear-Up Girl networking mixer will kick off the week Monday, November 2, the day before the Show opens.

The event, part of the SEMA Education Student Program at the Show, is designed to connect female students with industry-leading professional women. Now in its 10th year, Gear-Up Girl has continued to grow in popularity, last year drawing a standing-room crowd of more than 600 industry women and
female students.

According to Chrisman, the select committee is exploring ways in which to enhance engagement and spark conversation among attendees. One idea on the table is speed-dating-style roundtables facilitated by female industry leaders and influencers. Two awards will also be presented: the Jessi Combs Rising Star Award recognizing SBN’s scholarship winner, and the all-new SheIsSEMA Award, with the honoree to be chosen from among this year’s SheIsSEMA profiles.

On Tuesday, November 3, both men and women are encouraged to attend “Earning Her Business,” powered by the SBN. The interactive and informative session, to be presented by experience expert Katie Brand, will explore the impact women have on purchasing decisions and how men and women can use the information to change the way they deliver consumer brand experiences to positively influence customer satisfaction metrics, increase retention and improve a company’s bottom line.

To wrap up the event schedule, the annual SBN reception is on tap for Wednesday evening, November 4. The popular reception, also open to men and women, will afford guests an opportunity to connect with members of the SBN select committee as well as hobnob and network with other industry leaders.

“We have a lot to focus on between now and the Show,” Chrisman said. “But with all we have been going through with the COVID crisis, I’m really excited about what we are planning. I can’t wait to get ready for the SEMA Show—to just see everybody again. I hope everyone stays safe so that we can get together in November."

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