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Chicago Auto Show Media Preview to Feature Second Annual ‘What Drives Her’ Luncheon and Panel on Feb. 9

The Chicago Auto Show announced the second annual “What Drives Her” industry networking event and panel discussion to be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9 – the Chicago Auto Show’s final Media Preview day. With presenting sponsorship from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, organizers have partnered with A Girls Guide to Cars and Women in Automotive to host the event which will feature a robust lineup of female speakers that will discuss the integral role women play within the auto industry as contributors, consumers and drivers of purchasing decisions.

“Women buy or influence the purchase of 85 percent of all vehicles but they only hold about 27 percent of the jobs,” said Scotty Reiss, founder of A Girls Guide to Cars. “As jobs in technology, science and mobility grow, it’s critical that women are able to access those opportunities.”

Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) Board Member Kelly Webb Roberts will open the event and introduce Scotty Reiss, who will discuss the future of automotive and the importance of female leadership roles within a largely male-dominated industry. Leaning into Ford Motor Company's sixth annual Trend Report, Reiss will guide a conversation amongst a panel of influential women leaders to gather diverse perspectives on how this year's trends will shape the future — from what takes place on the road to in the workplace.

The 2018 Looking Further with Ford Trends Report shines light on the global shift toward activism, compassion and self-expression as consumers grapple with societal changes around the world. While two-thirds of adults globally are overwhelmed by the surrounding changes, three-quarters believe they can influence positive change. Key trends during the session will include “Minding the Gap” and the worldwide spotlight on inequality, “Singled Out” and the societal expectations surrounding parenthood and marriage, and finally “Technology's Tipping Point” and what the rapid onslaught of intelligent technology — in our vehicles and our daily lives — could mean as we consider “Big Plans for Big Cities.”

“This year's trend report is unlike any other we've published to date as it explores difficult and polarizing themes. Yet despite these uncertain and interesting times, a new energy has emerged to tackle hard issues and inspire change — and women worldwide are one such group leading a powerful example,” said Sheryl Connelly, Ford's corporate futurist. “While the discussions to follow won't be the first of their time nor the last, they will introduce new perspectives that hopefully move the needle towards a shared understanding of how people can positively influence the world around them.”

The Coffee Chat (10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.) lineup features an intentionally diverse lineup of industry women, including: 

  • Editor in Chief Jennifer Newman 
  • Facebook’s Industry Manager, Auto Team, Kim Stonehouse
  • Ford’s Mini and Medium Utility Marketing Manager Cristina Aquino
  • General Motors Women’s Retail Network Director Celeste Briggs
  • National Automobile Dealer Association (NADA) Director of Instructor Led Training and Business Development Camron Wilson
  • Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) Vice President, Automotive Market, Dr. Jody Hall

Following the opening session, Cox Automotive’s Michelle Krebs will kick off the luncheon and panel session with a discussion surrounding the auto industry’s massive transformation, opportunities for women within the industry and incorporating more female thinking into vehicles and the marketing of vehicles. Krebs will moderate a panel of influential women at automotive manufacturers who will shed light on the strides their respective manufactures are taking in this area.
The Luncheon & Panel (12-1 p.m.) session includes the following panelists:

  • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Director of NAFTA Brand Advertising Marissa Hunter
  • Hyundai Senior Group Manager of Brand Marketing and Advertising Monique Kumpis
  • Kia Director of Marketing Communications Kimberley Gardiner

“The auto industry is at a critical intersection, said Krebs. “Women are rising through the leadership ranks to the highest levels at a time when the automotive landscape is on the precipice of massive transformation. Undoubtedly, women will play a key role in shaping the auto industry of the future.”

The What Drives Her event is one example of how Chicago Auto Show organizers engage this very important cohort. When it comes to the public, Foresight Research reports the Chicago Auto Show has an almost even split of male and female attendees: 54 percent are male and 46 percent are female.

“There continues to be a remarkable uptick in female attendance year over year,” said CATA’s Kelly Webb Roberts. “As the nation’s largest consumer auto show, the Chicago Auto Show is proof that males and females are equal players and the gender gap has closed.”

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is the presenting sponsor for the second-annual What Drives Her luncheon. Event partner sponsors include the Steel Market Development Institute, Facebook and Cox Automotive.

For more details on the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, please visit

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