Thursday, 17 May 2018 13:54

WIN Races to Connect at 2018 Educational Conference

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Outgoing Chair Petra Schroeder passed the torch to Incoming Chair Michelle Sullivan. Outgoing Chair Petra Schroeder passed the torch to Incoming Chair Michelle Sullivan.


The Women’s Industry Network (WIN®) gathered at the Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis, IN, from May 7--9 for the association’s 2018 Educational Conference: Racing to Connect. 


The conference began on Monday morning with a Welcome Reception while two new member orientation sessions were held. This year’s emcees, Blair Womble and Amanda Seyler, kicked things off at 1 p.m. with the Opening General Session, during which they covered the conference agenda, took care of housekeeping items and read the antitrust guidelines.

WIN Chair Petra Schroeder provided the WIN Welcome, during which she acknowledged the WIN founders, past Chairs, former MIWs and committee members, shared the history of WIN, announced the 2018 scholarship winners and discussed the progress made on the association’s strategic goals, such as piloting three regional events in 2017. She also shared WIN’s strategy for 2018—2020, which includes reviewing the group’s mission and vision as it strives to strengthen the network, resource the industry and expand its capacity based on the four pillars of member development, member benefits and programs, industry relations, and communications and operations. 

Schroeder also announced that three board members would be departing and thanked Jessica Rob, Melissa Miller and Shellie Andrews for their service to WIN. Turning to WIN’s 2018--2019 Executive Committee, she announced that Kathy Coffey would be secretary, Cheryl Boswell would be treasurer and Jenny Anderson would serve as vice chair. As Schroeder moves into the role of Immediate Past Chair, WIN has elected Michelle Sullivan as Chair. After recognizing the platinum and gold sponsors for the event, Schroeder ended her talk by providing some tips for a successful conference. 

Monday afternoon’s seminar was titled “Why of You?” and presented by Dr. Eric Goldstein from the Paul Hertz Group. 

Goldstein explained, “You’re here to become more personally aware and strengthen your relationships. People with talent hit a ceiling even though they’re capable of more, so that gets in the way. Research has led us to the discovery of shadow behavior, an automatic behavior that is often exaggerated and inappropriate, which masks your talents and strengths, damages relationships, stifles teamwork and hurts productivity.” 

Explaining that shadow behaviors come from unconscious motivators, which is the core underlying needs that drive a person’s behaviors and decisions, Goldstein turned to the PRINT survey that attendees filled out before the conference to group attendees with other people who shared their major unconscious motivator for a sharing session. He noted that the most common cause of shadow behavior is triggers, actions or inactions and situations that can assault the unconscious motivator and stimulate shadow behavior. 

Dr. Goldstein explained, “Your success is not due to your PRINT. It’s due to the amount of time you can reduce shadow and exist in your best self. Each unconscious motivator can be equally successful, but success is a function of the amount of best self. Shadow behavior is an extreme, exaggerated attempt to get the unconscious motivator met.”

Schroeder then recognized the event’s silver sponsors before attendees indulged in Monday evening’s Welcome Reception, followed by a free evening where networking was encouraged.

Tuesday morning began with the annual Scholarship Walk, followed by breakfast. The conference opened with a couple of committee updates, followed by the Keynote Address, “Leadership is a Woman’s Art,” presented by Dr. Lois Frankel of Corporate Coaching International. 

Frankel began by stating, “If ever there was a time for women to lead, the time is now, and YOU are the women. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.”

Frankel stressed that women must ensure their voices are heard in meetings and noted that, while there are more women leaders these days, it’s not enough. 

“I’m not saying that women make better leaders than men; they make different leaders than men, and we need more women leaders in 2018 because women think in terms of collaboration. Unfortunately, women have to work twice as hard to be considered half as good. Women overwork to make miracles, but miracle-workers don’t get recognized---they get canonized.”

Explaining why women leaders are needed now, Frankel claimed that we’ve reached a turning point for the demise of command and control leadership. She said women are the natural solution because they have a demonstrated track record and high emotional intelligence, the glass ceiling raised the bar and they are better equipped to meet millennial workers’ need to feel special. 

Exploring the differences between management (stereotypically male) and leadership (stereotypically female), she insisted, “One isn’t better than the other. We need both, and to decide which you need more of, consider how complex the organization is and how much change is going on.”

Frankel listed the leadership mistakes made by women: act like “nice girls,” make miracles, ignore the look and sound of leadership, underestimate the value of EQ, avoid politics, fail to negotiate, strive for perfection and ask instead of tell. 

She also identified the top 10 tips to leading with confidence: sit at the table, decode your executive presence, communicate in headlines, play your game at the edge, vary your influence style, become a trusted advisor, use your emotional intelligence, capitalize on internal and external “quid pro quo” networking and collaboration, consciously build your brand and live and work mindfully. 

She reminded attendees, “People don’t know you by your intentions; they know you by your behavior.”

After a networking break, “Racing for Success” was presented by Brittany and Courtney Force of the John Force Racing Group, both of whom are NHRA champions who were introduced to the sport by their father, 16-time champion John Force. Noting that she is the only female competing in the funny car category, Courtney emphasized that it’s important for women to support one another. 

“It’s a gratifying feeling for girls to see that anything is possible,” she said. “This sport is physical and mental, but the hardships make you realize how strong you really are.” 

Brittany added, “We’ve learned the importance of surrounding yourself with people who support you, but we also learned to take the negative energy into our racecars and use it to win races. You have to block out any negative images and visualize the positive outcome. Empowered women empower other women, so we always support other female racers---unless they’re in the lane next to us!”

The Force sisters discussed growing up in the racing industry and shared many of their experiences, including victories as well as crashes. 

Courtney admitted, “We recognize that it’s a dangerous sport, but you have to put faith in your car, your team and yourself. Our family is competitive but supportive of each other, and Dad always reminds us to drive from the heart before every run.” 

The Force sisters graciously invited a group of WIN conference attendees to tour their nearby facility the following day. 

During lunch, Ben Komenkul presented “Traveling the World with Your Family for Free: The Secret Primer to Award Travel,” discussing three types of loyalty programs, how to redeem points for free travel and the best bonuses to capitalize upon. Schroeder thanked bronze sponsors before the group separated to choose two of three breakout sessions on Tuesday afternoon. 

Brad Mewes, business advisor for Supplement Advisory LLC, presented “Mastermind Groups, Budgeting and Goal-Setting.” Focusing on the importance of a business philosophy and system that drives growth, Mewes emphasized the importance of investment.

Describing the Mastermind System, he stated, “If the owner wants a better business, first the business needs a better owner,” going on to explain that a Mastermind is a meeting of highly motivated folks who share a common goal and want to help and encourage one another to improve. The Mastermind System includes a financial dashboard, goal-setting and execution, and three annual in-person meetings. The system provides accountability, methodology, experience, behavior change, measurement and a tribe of other business owners that understand your challenges. For more information, visit https://supp-co.com.

Denise Caspersen of asTech covered “Calibrating, Pre- and Post-Scan.” She discussed the three types of emerging technology (safety, fuel economy and comfort/convenience) and then provided several examples of each. She explained that vehicle owners have more resources than ever before and shared some information on telematics, including how to get started, identifying the car’s features, promoting consumer awareness and diagnosing DTCs. She also touched on the difference between aftermarket and OE scan tools, explaining that OE tools are updated daily while aftermarket tools require a manual update. Caspersen also spoke about repair planning before sharing information about asTech’s new Calibration Center in Plano, TX.

The final breakout session was “Toxic Co-Workers, Bullies and You: Dealing with Them Without Becoming One of Them,” presented by Jim Webber, trainer, consultant and investigator at evilskippyatwork.com. Comparing the differences between annoying and toxic co-workers, Webber explored the impacts of toxicity and bullying, explained the three clusters of personality types along with their symptoms and identified some toxic behaviors. He ended his presentation by providing tips on responding to toxic behaviors: Communicate your concerns to a supervisor, don’t get emotional, don’t blame yourself, assess your situation, don’t expect to change the toxic person or bully, do your best work, build a support network, be prepared for conflict, don’t fuel the fire, document it all, communicate, get counseling, stay healthy, educate yourself and agree to disagree.

Tuesday concluded with the MIW and Scholarship Award Ceremony and Gala Dinner Reception. 

Wednesday morning commenced with committee updates, and Schroeder recognized the WIN partners, WIN supporters, and friends of WIN. Schroeder also presented the 2018 Cornerstone Award, presented to a board member each year in recognition of her input to the organization and her actions that demonstrate commitment to WIN’s mission and vision. This year’s recipient was Beverly Rook-Twibell. Finally, Schroeder passed the reins to Michelle Sullivan, incoming chair.

The morning’s first presenter was Bogi Lateiner with “Bogi’s Garage – Connecting the Next Generation.” Lateiner shared the story of how she became involved in the automotive industry when she was 16 years old because she wanted to work on her own car; however, she mainly pushed the issue because she was told that it wasn’t something girls did.

“I didn’t care about cars. It was about proving a point. It’s not that women are fearless, but we just do it anyway,” she said. “I’m terrified all the time, but I just do it anyway because I’m stubborn as hell.”

Although she planned to go to law school after college, Lateiner found that she missed working with her hands and decided to pursue a career as a mechanic. However, she was met with resistance and accusations that she wanted to be a man, applying for around 20 jobs before someone finally gave her a chance. 

She stressed, “I don’t want to be a man---I want to be a mechanic.”Because she wanted to give back, Lateiner began teaching car care classes for women, and before long, she decided to open her own shop where she is devoted to empowering and hiring women. This led to the television show featuring her garage, but her favorite part is the letters she receives from little girls who now know that they can do anything they want when they grow up. 

When Lateiner came up with the idea to do an all-female build, Kristen Felder of Collision Hub and Tina Nelles of BASF bought in.

According to Lateiner, “It turned out to be way bigger than I’d ever imagined. It took 10 months, 90 women and one truck, but it was way more than just a rebuild. Of the 90 women who worked on the truck, 30 percent had never worked on a car before. Many women in the automotive industry rarely get a chance to work with someone like them, and it’s so important. We built a community. We even had little girls, 8-year-olds, helping out, and as they grow up, this is completely normal to them, and that’s a great thing to teach this next generation.”

One of the women who participated in the build, Seana Denney, joined Lateiner on stage to share her story. After being diagnosed with late stage cancer, Denney heard about the all-female build and wished she could participate, so when her doctor decided that she needed to take a break in her chemo, Denney begged to work on the truck since she liked cars but did not know how to work on them. 

She shared, “This truck is a reaction. It’s not women fighting to get in the industry. It is women saying ‘We’re here, and we’re this good.’ Don’t wait until someone says you’re near the end--- do it now. Don’t wait for someone to tell you it’s OK. Do it now! I learned what I was worth while working on this project. This truck, this tribe of women, saved my life.”

Lateiner continued to share stories about some of the individual women and girls who participated in the build, including what they have gone on to do since completing the project. 

“I wanted to create an opportunity for other women to get involved in the industry, but I didn’t know that we were going to change lives, that my life would be changed. We let the naysayers fuel our fire, and we proved them all wrong. One of the biggest things we can do for the next generation is just be visible. You can tell a kid they can do anything, but they won’t believe it until they see someone who looks like them doing it. This build was about helping people find what lights their soul on fire. There are multiple paths, and we need more people who love what they do.”

Inspired by the previous evening and the event’s speakers, sponsorship winner Celia Martinez took the stage to express her gratitude to WIN. She shared, “It’s rare to find someone who has the same passion as you. I don’t expect everyone to be nice, but I do expect equality. If you have a goal, exercise that vision. As soon as I saw the opportunity, I pursued my vision. You have to be willing to set new standards and do things people didn’t expect.”

The penultimate educational session was “Collision Repair Industry Update,” presented by Greg Horn of The Hartford. Horn discussed the complexity of vehicles, the number of accidents caused by uninsured drivers, the increasing age of vehicles and the variety of distracted driving concerns. He concluded that while the industry may make advances in accident avoidance, the impact is years away and the industry will continue having vehicles to repair for the foreseeable future.Kristen Felder of Collision Hub moderated the “Racing to Connect” panel, which consisted of Debbie Day from Mitchell, Danielle Babino of I-CAR, Jake Rodenroth from asTech and Patrice Marcil of Axalta. As the group discussed connected cars, they began by clarifying that the term “connected car” means that the car is connected to the internet, going on to discuss the different technologies being used in vehicles, how this technology impacts the repair process and other segments of the industry, and what opportunities and challenges these advancements create. 

As the panel closed, panelists offered advice to the industry. Rodenroth suggested, “Stop assuming you know. Research everything, and do training in your shop every week to make sure we’re all on the same page.” 

Babino added, “Stop fighting the training. Get involved with the schools and help bring awareness about this industry.”

As WIN’s 2018 Educational Conference came to a close, the Conference Committee provided an update and announced that 218 attendees were present at this year’s event, setting a record. Incoming Chair Michelle Sullivan then took the stage to announce WIN’s current two goals: strengthen the network and resource the industry. She announced that the 2019 WIN Educational Conference will be held May 6--8 at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in Florida, and the following year’s conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach in California from May 4--6, 2020.

For more information about WIN, visit www.womensindustrynetwork.com.