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Chicago Auto Show Hosted Third Annual What Drives Her Luncheon during the Show’s 2019 Media Preview


Chicago Auto Show organizers, in partnership with A Girls Guide to Cars and Women in Automotive, held 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 were invited to come together for a robust lineup of presentations and panel discussions surrounding the pertinent impact that females have on the automotive industry. This year’s theme focused on the major shifts taking place in the automotive industry, including the ways that women are shaping its evolution. 

“We’re thrilled to be hosting our third annual What Drives Her Luncheon today to celebrate women in the auto industry,” said Kelly Webb Roberts, board member of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, producer of the Chicago Auto Show. “The content shared through this event is extremely important, especially the discussions surrounding work/life balance because I think that’s hard for a lot of us out there.”

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

“This year we brought two really important conversations to the stage,” said Scotty Reiss, founder of A Girls Guide to Cars. “Our mission is to inspire the women out there to see the opportunities ahead; not only for themselves, but for other women who want to find a role in the automotive industry.”

“Women buy or influence 85 percent of car purchases, spending roughly $450 billion a year, yet they only hold about 25 percent of jobs in automotive. This holds a lot of opportunity,” said Reiss.

Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for Autotrader added, “I think what’s interesting about my panel is it’s extremely diverse in terms of backgrounds. We have people from the retail part of the business, from the automaker part of the business, part supply, so everybody came to this industry in a different way.”

A common theme among the women on the panel is that they never aspired to go into the automotive industry, but once they were in it, they ended up enjoying the business. They all started their careers at a young age and then worked their way up through the ranks to become successful in the field.

“I never set out to be a trailblazer or anything like that; I just happened to be the only woman at my company so I did what I needed to do, which was my very best,” said Edie Wines, instructor, National Automobile Dealers Association. “As a result, it impacts other people and their performance levels.”

Additional key factors of success shared were diversity in the workplace, taking advantage of opportunities presented and being a leader. Wines talked about how women are more inclined to change with the new ways of business instead of going against it. This trait helps females to be successful in the workplace because they’re open-minded and are able to easily adapt.

Jennifer Newman, editor-in-chief, kicked off the second portion of the panel discussion which was centered around creating balance while building a career. Newman asked the panelists how each of them attain balance while climbing the corporate ladder and trying to maintain a family and personal life.

Laurie King, SVP, global operations and strategic solutions, Turtle Wax, answered, “For me, as a leader, it’s the basis of recognizing that everybody you work with has a life outside of work, whether it’s their family at home, personal life, etcetera.”

“I personally believe that you have to allow people to be successful and happy in their personal life in order for them to be successful in their professional life. While it’s not always easy, the more we treat employees in this manner, the more we’re helping them to succeed.”
Kerri Wise, vice president, industry education and relations, TrueCar added, “There are a couple of things we need to think about. We need to check our guilt. In some ways, we want to be perfect at everything. Are we using our time efficiently? Are we working on projects that matter?”

Approximately 200 members of the media, industry and social media influencers attended the third annual What Drives Her Luncheon. Event sponsors included Autotrader, CDK Global, Facebook, Hyundai, LotLinx, TrueCar, Turtle Wax and Zed F.

Manufacturers, exhibitors and show organizers will build on the momentum of the What Drives Her event during its annual Women’s Day today, Tuesday, Feb. 12. Women are admitted entry at the reduced rate of $7.

For more information on the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, please visit, For high resolution photos and b-roll from First Look for Charity, visit:

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