SBN Swivels to Online Platform
Undaunted by challenges posed by the pandemic and the cancellation of the SEMA Show, the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) refocused on hosting women-driven networking and educational forums during the SEMA360 virtual event.
In keeping with its mission to empower women employed in the aftermarket—and to mentor and inspire young women seeking to further their careers—SBN assembled a slew of virtual offerings. From morning meeting at the SBN Café to networking and learning experiences and close-of-day wind-down conversations, the program was aimed at helping women chart their career paths.
“Whether it was our morning meet-ups, daily wind-downs or the live chats, the theme throughout the week was helping women navigate their careers,” said SBN Chair Lana Chrisman.
Format Expands Reach, Builds Momentum
SBN packed its schedule with nine sessions, some of which were live while others were prerecorded. Rebecca Olavarrieta, chair of the network’s communications subcommittee, kicked off the week by presenting “Social Media for Small Business.” Another session by the resource committee tackled the topic of “Getting Your Résumé Noticed: Tips for a Standout Résumé.”
The Tuesday lineup included “Social Media for Your Personal Preference,” presented by select committee member Charlene Bower, and “Continuing the Conversation,” an SBN live chat with SEMA Hall of Famer Marla Moore.
Wednesday’s format also featured two highlights. On the SBN Showcase, Jenna Jefferies was named 2020 SheIsSEMA Woman of the Year. Jefferies, a former SBN select-committee member and a SEMA Cares select-committee member, was honored for her leadership and industry involvement.
The Jessi Combs Rising Star Award went to Sydney McQueary, who attends the University of Tennessee. She was recognized as a young woman in the industry who is making significant strides in advancing her career.
Virtual Gear-Up Girl–New to the Industry Event replaced the traditional live gathering. The Zoom event featured six women speakers. Each represented a unique role—engineer, designer/builder, racer, sales, marketing and business owner—and spoke about opportunities for women in different career pathways.
“The idea for Gear-Up Girl was to bring in industry veterans who would share their experiences and present opportunities to younger women just getting started in their own careers,” Chrisman said.
In summing up the experience, Chrisman said: “Our program was ambitious. Typically, we hold events in Las Vegas. With SEMA360, we covered a lot more ground and reached women who aren’t able to attend the Show.