What Drives Her Luncheon at the Chicago Auto Show

 

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Now more than ever the opinions of women are being considered when it comes to automobile industry.  Not only are our opinions considered more, we also have several seats at the table behind the scenes in the automotive industry.  That is why I am thankful for the companies that inform, educate and keep us up to date on how women are making a major impact on the automotive industry.
IMG-2807Every February thousand of people converge, commute and or convene in Chicago for the Chicago Auto Show.  The show has been going on for over 100 years (111 to be exact) and is the largest auto show in North America.  If you have never been to the Chicago Auto Show, it is a one of a kind experience, from the vintage and concept cars to the race cars and new model releases.  There are just as many women in attendance as men, so for those of your who believe that Auto Shows are just for men, you are sadly mistaken.  Consider the statistics, there are over 100 million women drivers in the United States, which outnumbers male drives.  So our opinions matter.

IMG-2831At the Chicago Auto Show this year I had the privilege of being invited to the What Drives Her luncheon and Panel hosted by Women in Automotive and A Girls Guide to Cars.  There were several panels presented during the luncheon which left me feeling more educated, more empowered and more energized about the automotive industry.

The first panel discussion was about How Women are Driving Change in the Auto Industry.  This panel included a manager of customer analytics, a VP of global quality, VP of engineering  and a representative from the Automobile Dealers Association.  The second panel was on the topic Work, Life and Creating Balance while Building a Career.  This panel included a global director of sales and business development, a global operations and strategic solutions VP, a senior director of dealer strategy, a Facebook client solutions manager and a VP of industry education and relations.

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Without including names of the panelist (though they are important) what is most important to note are the titles and the fact that these representatives were all women.  While previously a male dominated industry, it is safe to say that the tides are changing and women are occupying their seats at the table with the confidence, courage and charisma required to break the glass ceilings, penetrate the ‘boys networks’ and drive change in the automotive industry while creating work/life balance and managing families as well.

As a woman this was a proud moment for me to witness the power, the dedication and the fervor these women demonstrated.  And while I am happy that they are rightfully working in the behind the scenes areas of the automotive industry, I hope to see more women of color represented at the table as well.  The reality is that they may be there, they were just not present at this year.  I was so inspired I sent a test to my dearest friend, who has a background in engineering, to tell her about what they were doing and that maybe she should consider a career change.

Hearing these women speak about how not only their education and training helped them to reach these areas in their careers, it was great to hear them speak about being promoted because the decision makers trusted that they could do the job.  As women I am sure we all know and understand our strengths and our capabilities, we are just waiting for the world to catch up.

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The highlight of the luncheon for me was the #SEEHER campaign with the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).  The #SEEHER campaign helps advertisers and marketers understand the power and influence of women. The campaign slogan “If You Can See Her, You Can Be Her”, is a powerful testament to the value of importance of industry not only in media but on television shows and in movies.  This is also true in the automotive industry where those who work as VP’s and senior executives are not always see.  During their presentation the concerns about women and their feels when it comes to auto brands were discussed (see slide).

#SEEHER has worked with many companies to make sure that there was/is an accurate portrayal of women in the media an among influencers.  As a woman of color, this is often true for us on two fronts: female representation and African American representation.  So knowing that initiative such as #SEEHER exists is promising when it comes to accurate representation in advertising.

I am again thankful for the vision and foresight of companies like A  Girls Guide to Care and Women in Automotive for organizing panels like this one and for showing other what Beyoncé told us a few years ago, “Who Run the World”? Girls!

See you at the table next year….

Be Blessed, Be Fabulous!

pink-lips

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My Day at Medieval Times

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If you have never been to Medieval Times, just know that it can be a great time for families or just a night out with your friends.  For me it was a combination of both, 5 adults and one 5 year old made their way to our local Medieval Times to enjoy the show and the food.

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Upon entry into the Medieval Castle you are greeted with people dressed in Medieval gear, the royal Renaissance themed clothing, the swords the boots the capes, crowns and thrones, they are all there.  If you enjoy taking pictures there are plenty of photo ops throughout the space.  After you get your tickets and assigned to an area (more about that later) and given your crowns, you are able to take a group photo with the King of the evening.  Medieval Times staff will have your photo available for purchase before you leave the show.

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After your Royal Photo is taken, you are moved into a staging area where there is a bar (for the adults) gift shops and further props for photos.  The props include thrones for you to capture your royal image as well as suits of armor on display.  There are also ancient maps and other images on the walls for your picture taking enjoyment.

Once the doors are opened, you are then escorted to your designated area within the arena.  The areas are color coded and you have the opportunity to cheer for the knight corresponding to your color.  The knights compete and have jousting events.  There is also an opportunity to see a beautiful display of horses and a trained eagle that flies around the arena.

During the performance you are served food, chicken, potatoes and corn as well as soft drinks and dessert.  One of my guest is a vegetarian and there was no issue with providing her a vegetarian selection.  Desert was ice cream with a caramel topping.  A decent meal to accompany the entertainment.

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The show was great for people of all ages.  There was even a time during the performance that people were able to have the queen make announcements such as birthdays.  So it can be a great event to celebrate a child or other family members birthday.

Be Blessed, Be Fabulous!

pink-lips