Women in the Workplace

SEMA Member News—January 2019

Women in the Workplace

SBN Campaign Champions Career Success

It’s not entirely surprising that a 2018 study by LeanIn.org and McKinsey—which surveyed 118 companies and 30,000 employees—found that women still remain underrepresented in key positions at U.S. corporations, especially at senior levels of leadership. That was no doubt true in the early days of the SEMA community, when the industry was often referred to as an “old boys club.” But the face of the industry has been evolving as more and more professional women have sought careers—and achieved notable success—in the automotive aftermarket.

To raise awareness of talented women who have excelled in their aftermarket careers in what is still a male-dominated industry, the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) has launched the #SheIsSEMA campaign. By featuring women who have achieved success, SBN seeks to not only acknowledge their accomplishments but also bridge the gap and inspire the next generation of female leaders.

For this month’s column, SBN has selected two successful women: Tara Hitzig and Kim Pendergast. Each was asked a series of questions. Check out their responses below.

Pursuing Her Passion

  SBNTara Hitzig is executive director of the Southern California-based Automobile Driving Museum.
   

Tara Hitzig is executive director of the Southern California-based Automobile Driving Museum. The museum houses more than 130 vintage, antique and musclecars and hosts various activities and projects, including an all-women’s restoration project to restore a ’55 GMC pickup.

The best advice I ever received was…
Always do your best, never make assumptions, don’t take anything personally, and be impeccable with your word.

This keeps me in the industry…
The people—the community. The good people I meet every day who love cars and love people more!

On a Saturday, you can find me…
At either a car show at the museum or watching my son’s travel hockey games.

When going into an important meeting, I am always…
Hoping it makes me smile when done.

If I could go to lunch with one industry leader, living or dead, it would be…
Alice Huyler, the first woman to drive across America.

Finding an Industry She Loves

SBNKim Pendergast is CEO of Magnuson Superchargers and chair of the SEMA Scholarship Committee.  
   

Kim Pendergast is CEO of Magnuson Superchargers and serves as chair of the SEMA Scholarship Committee. A believer in value-based leadership, she has held key positions in financing and strategy at top corporations and acquired Magnuson in 2010.

The best advice I ever received was…
You spend most of your waking hours working. Find an industry you love, people you admire and who share your moral compass and work there.

This keeps me in the industry…
This industry is dynamic. We push the limits of technology every day. People work here because they want to, not have to. That creates an energy that draws you to work every day.

On a Saturday, you can find me…
At Magnuson. I love my work. Saturdays are for catching up on what I didn’t get done during the week. They are a time to reflect and to think about the future. If there is a Saturday shift—and there often is—I can spend time with the guys.

When going into an important meeting, I am always…
On time and prepared. Part of being prepared is understanding my communication goal before I walk into a meeting. I imagine how the meeting will play out and where the conversation will lead us. Then I reimagine another line of discussion that will take the conversation in a different place. Repeat until I see success.

If I could go to lunch with one industry leader, living or dead, it would be…
Jay Leno! He epitomizes our industry with humor, fun and grace.

Get Involved

Are you a professional woman in the automotive industry? Or do you know someone who fits the profile? If so, there are two ways to get involved: Share content, photos, videos, blogs on social media along with the hashtag #SheIsSEMA, or reach out to SBN by sending an email to SEMA Director of Networks Bryan Harrison (bryanh@sema.org) to share your story. Be sure to include information about who She Is!

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