Recent News

Chicago Auto Show Announces 3rd Annual ‘What Drives Her’ Luncheon and Networking Event on Feb. 8


Chicago Auto Show organizers, in partnership with A Girls Guide to Cars and Women in Automotive, announced the third annual What Drives Her luncheon and networking event during the show’s Media Preview on Friday, Feb. 8 at McCormick Place.

Influential women will come together to highlight industry trends and share personal experiences surrounding the impact that females have on the automotive industry. The overarching theme this year will focus on the major shifts that are taking place in the automotive industry, including the ways that women are shaping its evolution. 

“General Motors CEO Mary Barra is often quoted as saying the auto industry will see more change in the next five years than the last 50,” said Autotrader Executive Analyst Michelle Krebs. “Whether it is five years or more, the shift towards electric and autonomous vehicles as well as new ways to acquire personal transportation is occurring now, generating tremendous opportunities for creative women to reinvent what has been a male-dominated business.”

The 2019 What Drives Her event will feature a robust lineup of female speakers who will discuss the integral role women play within the auto industry as contributors, consumers and drivers of purchasing decisions.

“Women buy or influence 85 percent of all vehicle purchases and hold the keys to $450 billion in spending each year, yet the biggest challenge is educating them as consumers and users of new technology,” said Scotty Reiss, founder of A Girls Guide to Cars. “The most powerful way to change this is by engaging them as employees, leaders and innovators.”

Autotrader’s Krebs will moderate the first panel discussion surrounding how females are driving change in the auto industry. Panelists include Jessica Petty, manager of customer data analytics, Hyundai; Jeneen Rippey, vice president of global quality, electronics division, ZF; and Edie Wines, instructor, National Automobile Dealers Association.

Between the first and second panel discussions, Leah Marshall, director, influencer marketing, with the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), will present ANA’s female-focused #SeeHer initiative.

The second panel discussion topic will be centered around work, life and creating balance while building a career. Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Newman will moderate the panel of women including Kathy Gilbert, global director of sales & business development, CDK; Laurie King, SVP, global operations & strategic solutions, Turtle Wax; Subi Ghosh, senior director of dealer strategy, Stream Companies; Lauren Brandt, Facebook client solutions manager and Returnity Project co-founder; and Kerri Wise, vice president, industry education and relations, TrueCar.

The What Drives Her event continues to be one example of how Chicago Auto Show organizers actively engage the female demographic. Foresight Research reports the Chicago Auto Show has an almost even split of male and female attendees: 45 percent of which are female. 

“As the nation’s largest consumer auto show, one can argue the Chicago Auto Show is the perfect place to assess trends – not just locally but on a national level as well,” said Kelly Webb Roberts, a board member for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, producer of the Chicago Auto Show. “We’re thrilled to continue to host this event to bring together some of the most influential women in the industry who are at the forefront of this change.”
Pre-registration for What Drives Her on Friday, Feb. 8 is required. Please click here to register. What Drives Her begins at 11:15 a.m. with a coffee networking event at the Grand Concourse Media Stage (inside McCormick Place) and concludes in Hyundai’s exhibit at 2:30 p.m. with a wine and dessert reception. Attendees are encouraged to use event hashtag #WDH2019 when posting on social media.

Event sponsors include Autotrader, Facebook, Hyundai, LotLinx, TrueCar, Turtle Wax and ZF.

For more information on the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, please visit, or watch this promotional video. Media can visit for more information or to register for media credentials.

Back to News