SEMA Member News - May/June 2010

SEMA YEN: Generation Next

Creating the Future of the Industry by Getting Involved

By Dan Dolan


More than 200 members and guests gather to network at the YEN reception held on the first night of the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Attendees discuss the industry from an under-40 perspective, meet new friends with similar hobbies and get introduced to new business contacts.  

Many of us are familiar with the names given to our generations. Strong names like the Seniors (1946 and Older) or The Baby Boomers (1946 to 1966) and the ever-so-cool Generation X (1966 to 1980). But have you met the new generation that’s starting the changing of the guard?

According to the Pew Research Center, Generation Next was born between 1981 and 1988 and is 29 and younger today. Gen Nexters are currently working in all facets of the industry—engineers, salespeople, marketers and executives. We work side by side with former generations and help build new futures for our respective businesses, and SEMA has a home for us in the Young Executives Network (YEN).

YEN can help you meet your industry peers in a way that no other organization in SEMA can. Sometimes it’s hard to see eye to eye with your elders in terms of the best ways to communicate. Let’s face it, young people and older people don’t always enjoy the same things. If you’re in YEN, you probably have a Facebook page, a MySpace page, a Twitter page and so forth—all for yourself, not necessarily for business. Did you know that YEN has a Facebook page and LinkedIn profiles? We also have a SEMA version of a social network on, where you can post your picture, meet new contacts and develop new business opportunities. For YENsters, social media is a way of life.

  Thirty-year-old Dan Kahn is the owner of Kahn Media and was the YEN Member of the Month for February. Check out his profile.
At the YEN reception during the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas (Tuesday night after the first day), more than 200 YEN members gather to network and have fun. Throughout the casual evening, we discuss the industry from our perspective, meet new friends with similar hobbies and get introduced to new business contacts. It’s amazing to see the relationships that can be built simply by having the common ground of age! You may find yourself leaving the event with more than a few business cards, and if you attend enough events, the familiar faces will start to feel more like family than business contacts.

YEN also works to change our industry. Being from the younger generation gives us access to knowledge of computers and technology unlike any previous group. When it comes to computers, we get it. In our YEN Member of the Month page on the SEMA website, we shine a spotlight on a YEN member who is actively working to move our industry forward. Being on the cutting edge, YEN helps SEMA experiment with new networking technologies and industry initiatives. We are the leaders of technological innovation in our industry.

If you’re under 40, you can be part of YEN. (Sorry, Baby Boomers and Seniors, this is a whipper-snapper-only club!) Gen Nexters and Gen Xers, if you feel like being a part of YEN, we welcome you with open arms. Help us create the future of our industry by getting involved. Go to the YEN homepage and sign up to be a member. We’re more than 600 strong and one of the largest groups in SEMA.

If you are already a member, have you posted your picture? If not, today is the best day to start getting more involved. You help shape our future.