WIN Conference Opens in San Antonio, TX

Patricia Walsh presented “Reimagining Achievement in the Face of Adversity” on the first day of the 2023 WIN Educational Conference.

The Women’s Industry Network (WIN) opened its annual Educational Conference on May 1 in San Antonio, TX, kicking off a three-day chance for women in the collision repair industry to connect, learn and celebrate.

This was the second year the conference offered attendees the choice to attend in person or virtually. It continues through May 3.

In her opening remarks, WIN Board Chair Tanya Sweetland thanked everyone for taking the time out of their schedules to invest in themselves and their futures.

This year’s conference theme is “Reimagining Tomorrow,” and Sweetland said part of that is trying new things, like ChatGPT, an AI chatbot, which she asked to create a five-minute opening speech. When she asked it to generate a version with humor added, it came up with: “We need to be willing to try new things, even if it means saying goodbye to your old comfy slippers and putting on some new uncomfortable heels.”

“Ladies, this is what AI has to inspire you,” Sweetland said. “I just didn’t feel like it so I’m not going to.

“Whether you’re in heels, Vans, flip flops, whatever, technology is here and many of you are on the leading edge of pushing it,” she said. “The good news here is no matter what AI says, we are writing the script for tomorrow, that’s what we get to do. As you’re working toward your tomorrow, you’ll need people in your corner, and that’s the power of WIN.”

Sweetland said WIN recently hit a new record number of members---800, more than half of whom represent sponsor organizations.

The opening day also included two inspiring presentations: Gina Schaefer, founder and CEO of a chain of Ace Hardware stores in Washington, D.C., presented “Finding and Using Your Own Superpowers,” and Patricia Walsh, an engineer, Paralympian and world record holder in the 140-mile paratriathlon distance, presented “Reimagining Achievement in the Face of Adversity.”

Also packed into the first day were an NABC Recycled Rides presentation to two U.S. military veterans, WIN committee updates and a recognition of the previously-announced WIN scholarship winners.

The conference continues May 2. Check back tomorrow for a recap of the second day’s events.

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