SEMA Member News - July/August 2010

By Gigi Ho

What It Takes for Women Leaders in the Aftermarket

  SEMA Member News-July/August 2010-SBN 

The SEMA Networking Breakfast will once again be the venue for the announcement of the SBN’s Woman of the Year and Athena awards. The 2009 Woman of the Year recipient was Laurel Dasher (second from left), who shared her excitement with Tammy Holland (left), Marla Moore (second from right) and Amy Faulk (right).  

In doing my research for this article, I started first by looking to see how women in leadership roles view themselves in other male-dominated industries. I also wanted to see how the leadership styles of men and women differ from each other and, given a male-dominated industry, if one or the other style would be more advantageous.

It turns out that, except for the very few and obvious ones, most industries are male-dominated, and the concerns of women in senior and leadership roles are similar:
  • Earning respect and recognition at all levels
  • Being assertive without being perceived as overbearing
  • Finding balance between work and family

What is interesting is that the successes women have found in their roles as leaders stem from common traits, whether they were in construction, printing or automotive. And though women tend to struggle more with balancing work and family than men, these traits are reflective of all successful leaders.

Have Passion for What You Do

To find true contentment in your career and personal life, you have to be self-motivating, find fulfillment within yourself and be your own advocate. Having passion for what you do and believe in gives you the strength and conviction to make things happen. Remember that you must first be confident in your own expectations in order to better understand how to influence or have an impact on those around you.

Recognize That Obstacles and Opportunities Both Start With “O”

Every day we are faced with challenges that we have to go over, go around or meet head on. Dodging certain business hurdles and challenging other adversities can be driving forces behind your success. Analyze the situation and act accordingly to resolve any issue for what it is (also known as “choosing your battles”).

Build Relationships

Building relationships and collaboration are the strongest skill sets related to leadership effectiveness. And relationships emerge from trust. So live by the Golden Rule, be genuine, follow through with your commitments, help others achieve their goals, stand up for what you believe, hold yourself accountable, and know when to let others lead. Leaders by themselves achieve very little. It’s often the results achieved by inspiring others that is the true measure of effective leadership.

Keep Your Life in Perspective

“I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan…cuz I’m a woman.”

SBN LogoThough it sounds wonderful and superwoman-like, the reality is that level of “doing it all” and “having it all” is stressful, unrealistic and mentally draining. It is extremely important to keep our lives in perspective in striking and maintaining a balance between work and family. Our careers and family needs will flux, ebbing and flowing as one or the other needs focus. Define balance for yourself and then work with your company and family to maintain it.

There are differences between male and female leaders and the styles that are inherent in their genders. For instance, women are better at communication and creating collaboration than men are, and women, therefore, tend to be more persuasive. But the fact of the matter for women is that moving ahead and taking on leadership roles and how we succeed in those roles is more about us as individuals.

As Advanced Clutch Technology CEO Tracie Nuñez said, “The number-one thing a woman needs to do in a male-dominated industry is stop focusing on the gender differences…. Each of us is a person who has goals, dreams and struggles.”
Being in a position to work with and/or lead a group comprised mostly of men does require some adjustments about how questions are raised or decisions are communicated, but the bottom line is to have a passion for what we do, engage those around us and treat the obstacles to our goals as opportunities for growth.

Remember that in all industries, successful leaders—male or female—listen, motivate and provide support to those who work with them.

Network, Connect, Make a Difference

  • Sponsor the 2010 SEMA Networking Breakfast
  • When: Thursday, November 4, 2010, 7:15a.m.–9:00 a.m.
  • Where: Las Vegas Hilton
  SEMA Member News-July/August 2010-SBN 

The Speed Networking session at the annual SEMA Networking Breakfast provides attendees with an opportunity to meet someone new in the automotive industry every few minutes. This year, the SBN will also present a Mentor of the Year Award to a person who has shown exceptional interest and given much of her or his personal time to support a colleague in the aftermarket.   

Becoming a sponsor of the annual SEMA Networking Breakfast is a wonderful way to contribute to the SEMA Scholarship Fund, make important new professional contacts and support the growth of women in the automotive industry. Open to all SEMA members, this annual event includes a great breakfast, the Woman of the Year and Athena Award ceremonies, and the popular Speed Networking session that provides attendees with an opportunity to make contact with SEMA professionals. This year, the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) will also present a Mentor of the Year Award to a person who has shown exceptional interest and given much of her or his personal time to support a colleague in the aftermarket.

A portion of each sponsorship will be donated to the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund. Over the past two decades, SEMA Scholarships have supported more than 800 students with a total of more than $1,000,000 in grants.

The SEMA Networking Breakfast, powered by the SBN, offers four stages of sponsorship, beginning with an affordable $250 and stepping up to the $2,000 Titanium top tier. Each offers a graduated level of company benefits and increased support for the SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund. A sponsorship form is located under the SEMA Speed Networking Breakfast link at

Don’t forget to get your tickets early. Space is limited to the first 250 registrants. Word has spread quickly that this networking event is the quickest way to build a powerful nexus of contacts for new business or career advancement. Every few minutes, meet someone new in the automotive industry who may be instrumental to your business. 


  • Member (Early Bird): $39*
  • Non-Member (Early Bird): $59
  • Member (Onsite): $59
  • Non-Member (Onsite): $79

For more details, contact Gina Ledesma at 909/396-0289.

*Includes members of all associations participating in the SEMA/AAPEX events taking place in Vegas during the first week of November.