SEMA Member News—March/April 2014
YEN Fellowship Participants Reflect on Their Experiences
Ten up-and-coming executives in the automotive specialty-equipment industry had the opportunity to attend the 2013 SEMA Show on the association’s tab.
The SEMA Show Young Executives Network (YEN) Fellowship is a benefit available to SEMA-member company employees under the age of 40. In particular, the fellowship program demonstrates SEMA’s commitment to recognizing and developing talent among the next generation of specialty-equipment professionals. Fellowship participants are given the chance to attend the SEMA Show with travel expenses paid and receive hands-on experience by participating in a variety of events geared toward developing business skills and expanding professional networks.
At the 2013 Show, the 10 participants were Adam Brown, Ben Chase, Chris Lindh, Rebeca Olavarrieta, Chris Potter, Kenna Primm, Sergio Ramirez, Susan Rosales, Wyatt Tegtmeier and Amanda Watt. As a part of the program, each of the participants attended seminars focused on leadership and management.
“We started our week with a seminar called ‘Are You a Boss or a Leader?’” Olavarrieta said. “Before the SEMA Show, I didn’t have a clear understanding of the key differences between those two words. After this seminar, I feel much more empowered to become an example for my employees to follow and to support programs that allow leaders of younger generations to get involved.”
Networking was also a big part of the week for the Yensters, as they attended breakfasts, lunches and receptions. Tegtmeier appreciated the chance to meet with so many different individuals.
“The Speed Networking Breakfast, which was set up like speed dating but with business cards, seemed awkward at first, but it ended up being the most productive hour I spent at the show,” he said. “I sat across from the owners of two of my parts suppliers and accomplished a lot with them in only two minutes each!”
For Ben Chase, the most memorable part of the week was attending the SEMA Industry Awards Banquet.
“Seeing some of the pioneers of the industry who turned great ideas into great companies honored was truly inspiring to me,” he said. “It helped me return with the mindset that anything is possible.”
Potter said that his first SEMA Show experience was about much more than just walking the floor. It was also about the people behind the parts and the companies.
“It’s those people who come together and become SEMA,” he said. “The organization can be described as the backbone of our industry. These people work together to promote and fight for our industry, ensuring that the automotive aftermarket and the people who are that industry can adapt and grow in an ever-changing world.”
Applications for the 2014 Fellowship Program are currently being accepted. Comments from each of the 2013 participants can be viewed at www.SEMA.org/yen. To learn more about YEN or the fellowship program, contact Senior Manager of Networks Bryan Harrison via e-mail at bryanh@SEMA.org or by phone at 909-978-6691.