SBN - The SEMA Mentor/Mentee Value Proposition

SEMA Member News - March/April 2010

Teaching, Learning and Ensuring the Future of the Industry


Nominees for the 2009 SEMA Mentor of the Year award included Luanne Brown of eTool Developers, Anne Johnson of Keystone Automotive and Tom Marx of The Marx Group. Congratulations go to the 2009 honoree, Jason Bruce of aFe Filters, shown receiving the award from SBN Chair Tammy Holland and Chair-Elect Marla Moore.


At the 2009 SEMA Show, interns from a variety of colleges and vocational schools were partnered with mentors who gave them insight and firsthand experience about SEMA and their trade show in Las Vegas. This type of mentoring is invaluable both for the participants and for the industry, which may find future leaders among the mentees.  

The return on investment for participating as a mentor or mentee in the SEMA Mentoring Program administered by the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) is surprisingly easy to gauge. Both mentors and mentees are quick to agree that the SEMA Mentoring Program is good for the soul, good for business and an excellent use of one’s time. For those who are active in the program, mentoring delivers personal and professional satisfaction on many levels.

The SEMA Mentoring Program was developed to provide professional guidance to SEMA members through a direct relationship with an experienced and knowledgeable SEMA member. The goal for a mentee may be as simple as getting one important question answered by someone he or she trusts, or it may be in developing a longstanding professional relationship with a person who can help the mentee succeed in his or her career or business. The value proposition for the mentor is in making a crucial or important difference in someone’s career or business endeavor, in building a friendship that extends beyond work and, not surprisingly, also learning from the mentee.


I have been a member of SEMA for 25 years. Were it not for the wise counsel of my mentor over these many years in the industry, I would have fallen flat on my face way more often!
—Zan Martin
Martin & Company Advertising

The SEMA Mentoring Program is the brainchild of the SBN and is jointly managed by the SBN and SEMA administration. “The SEMA Mentoring Program is now in its eighth year of operation,” said SBN Chair Tammy Holland, “and it grew tremendously last year with the signup of many mentees from the SEMA internship and student population. Now more than ever, seasoned SEMA members have the opportunity to give their time and advice and receive much more in return.”



“We couldn’t be happier. The wealth of knowledge and experience Tom Marx brings to the table is unparalleled. When I signed up for the SEMA Mentoring Program, I had hopes of what we would get out of the relationship, and those have already been surpassed. I cannot thank you enough for the referral.”
—Marshall Morris

If you are starting your first job in the industry or may be considering starting a business, if you have a troublesome problem at work that you cannot resolve or are seeking a way to get a much-deserved promotion or raise in a difficult economy, or if you just need help with a project, the SEMA Mentoring Program can help. Signing up is simple and allows you to select assistance on one of three levels: Ask a mentor for the answer to only one question; ask for short-term assistance; or ask for long-term assistance.


For anyone who has successfully carved a career in the automotive aftermarket—either through trial and error or through the assistance of people who took the time to invest in your success—consider signing up to be a mentor this year. Getting started requires only a few minutes of your time to fill out a simple questionnaire. The SBN Mentoring Task Force will then pair you with a mentee who can most benefit from your expertise, hopefully in geographic proximity to your business. To sign up today, go to Or, for more information, contact SBN Mentoring Task Force Chair Trina Wilson at