Friday, 27 April 2018 15:26

'Why WIN? Why Conference?' Webinar Provides Useful Conference Tips

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On Wednesday, April 25, Michelle Sullivan, Membership Committee Chair for the Women’s Industry Network (WIN®), hosted an informative webinar highlighting what to expect during WIN’s 2018 Educational Conference in Indianapolis, IN, on May 7--9.

Sullivan began by identifying WIN’s mission to engage women in collision repair and explained that WIN is a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging, developing and cultivating opportunities to attract women to collision repair. WIN recognizes excellence, promotes leadership and fosters a network specifically for and among women. All segments of the industry are represented.

WIN’s purpose is to offer educational and leadership development opportunities, such as WIN board and committee opportunities and scholarship programs, to build skills that are important for success. The group provides networking opportunities for women in the collision repair industry through its annual educational conference, industry events, panels, webinars and regional events. Additionally, WIN recognizes the contributions and achievements of female industry leaders through the Most Influential Women (MIW) award.

“For decades, a small group of female pioneers made significant contributions to a highly male-dominated industry,” Sullivan said. “Recognizing the critical need for an organization to support this group and attract more women to join them, WIN was born in 2006. Over a decade later, we achieved a milestone of over 500 WIN members, and we continue to grow! Members include females and males from all segments of the collision repair industry across the U.S. and Canada.”

WIN is supported by sponsors and powered by its all-volunteer membership. The Board of Directors makes up the association’s Executive Committee, and WIN currently has 12 active committees with specific descriptions, time commitments and KPIs. 

“WIN is one of the best ways to expand your network and demonstrate an ability to step up to a leadership position,” Sullivan stated.

WIN began strategic planning in 2008 and narrowed its focus to two goals in 2015: facilitate the growth of the WIN network and build organizational capacity to better serve WIN’s growing network. Both goals include key initiatives with KPIs and dashboards for each committee, and WIN holds a monthly board review to track progress.

Turning to the benefits of WIN membership, Sullivan shared information about WIN scholarships, noting that six scholarship winners will be recognized at this year’s conference. She also talked about the MIW program and mentioned that four MIW honorees will receive awards this year. 

In 2017, WIN also began hosting regional network events in Atlanta, Chicago and Southern California due to member requests. More than 150 women participated in last year’s events as well as the two additional events held earlier this year. Additionally, WIN has increased its presence by participating in major industry events, such as NACE, SEMA, CIC and more. 

Sullivan believes that the industry needs WIN because “women influence the majority of the buying decisions in households so we ask, ‘What does the face of your business look like?’ We help position your organizations for growth by encouraging gender diversity and ensuring industry sustainability. Scholarships help attract women into the industry, and membership in WIN helps retain them.”

Encouraging webinar participants to get involved with WIN, Sullivan emphasized the value of engaging in WIN committees, encouraging women in their businesses to join WIN and becoming corporate sponsors. She also suggested attending regional network events and WIN’s Annual Conference. 

Turning her attention to the 2018 Conference on May 7--9 at the Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis, Sullivan shared details about the conference agenda. She urged attendees to attend a member orientation on Monday afternoon and explained that the following seminar with Dr. Goldstein was scheduled because members have expressed the desire to learn more about themselves and others. After the Welcome Reception, attendees will have a free evening during which they are encouraged to find new friends or connect with old friends.

Tuesday will be a full day. It will begin with the WIN Scholarship Walk, which benefits the association’s scholarship programs. At 9 a.m., Dr. Louis Frankel of Corporate Coaching International will deliver the keynote presentation, “Leadership is a Women’s Art.” Additional seminars on Tuesday and Wednesday will focus on a variety of beneficial industry topics.

After sharing the rest of the agenda details, Sullivan provided some tips for making the most of the conference experience. 

“Attend an orientation session at the start of the conference," Sullivan said. "It’s a great way to meet people you don’t know. Sit with people you don’t know, and set a goal to meet 10 new people a day to expand your network. Stay engaged and resist the urge to use breaks to be consumed in email or texts; use that time to network instead. Introduce yourself to the board members, scholarship winners and MIW honorees. Sign up for the scholarship walk and wear what makes you comfortable. Most come in business casual apparel, but the Gala is a festive event, and most people dress up. The most important thing is to have fun.”

Reporting that 202 attendees were signed up as of that morning, Sullivan concluded, “Bring your business cards, be comfortable, be ready to engage with other members and have fun!”

For more information on WIN and the 2018 Educational Conference agenda, visit https://thewomensindustrynetwork.site-ym.com/.

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