CHICAGO, IL – Although currently 80-95% of car-buying decisions are driven by women, it was over forty years ago that women weren’t allowed to sign for bank loans that their 17-year-old sons could. Thank goodness for progress.
Yesterday was not only Women’s Day at the Chicago Auto Show, but marked the third annual Women Driving Excellence event to celebrate incredible women who have made great strides in shattering glass ceilings and enjoying fulfilling careers long held by their male counterparts.
MJ Tam and Beth Rosen of the popular tech- and social media-savvy quartet that is #Chicagonista Live! presented Women Driving Excellence to a delighted crowd of women who were inspired by the impressive panel’s careers and life journeys. The National Association of Women Business Owners Chicago (NAWBO) was also in attendance and is celebrating 40 years of helping and advancing women.
The event, which kicked-off at 11:00 am, was emceed by fitness and media personality Andrea Metcalf. By 1:00 pm, attendees were treated to a sneak-peek performance of the 2013 Broadway hit First Date, which performances are currently at the Royal George Theater. By 2:00 pm, attendees were treated to a live taping of #Chicagonista Live! Representatives from the event sponsors (State Farm, Nissan and Verizon) were guests during the live-stream. The show’s interviews and discussions ranged from women’s increase in buying power, to consumer driving safety, to teenagers and the rise of distracted driving, respectively.
The event concluded with a lightning round of expert social media tips from Chicago Tribune columnist Beth Engleman and Shawna Coronado, author and social media expert.
Six trailblazing women honored
The six trailblazing women honored were Chicago Police Department Commander Lucy Moy-Bartosik, Cook County Illinois State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, 31-year media veteran and television host of ABC 7’s 190 North, Janet Davies; Dr. Suzet McKinney, Deputy Commissioner, Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response; certified CPA and YWCA CEO Dorri McWhorter, and premium entertainment and event planner Debi Lilly.
Chicago’s top cop, Lucy Moy-Bartosik was very humble in noting the achievements throughout her career, against Chinese tradition and her parents’ wishes (but she has absolutely no problem tackling and handcuffing you). Dr. Suzet McKinney shared her ease of being the only female in the room when discussing managing public health crises… and she’s not the scribe. Debi Lilly credited saying “Yes,” in providing opportunities for other females, as a component of her success.
“The broad’s gonna win.”
The honorees expounded on their multitude of crack-of-dawn tasks they perform daily while most of us are still snoozing. They also shared the highs and lows of holding positions that were dominated by men. State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez shared the kind of crude commentary used before besting five male opponents during the 2007 primary and beating the Republican challenger in the general election, through a phone call received from what Alvarez calls “an old-time Chicago politician.”
“A friend of mine was doing a poll on another office and we decided to throw in State’s Attorney to see what would happen,” the caller begins.
“The broad’s gonna win,” the caller reported.
“Well, this broad won, and won again and will run again!” Alvarez triumphantly declared. (VIDEO)
Power networking tips
Power networking preceded the event, was conducted during and continued post event via face-to-face introductions as well as carrying the conversations over to Twitter via the event hashtag #WDE15. It remained one of Chicago’s top Twitter trending discussions well over two hours following the event’s close.
The Exclusive Professional Women’s Networking Group (EPWNG), which was established in 2009 to create a forum for working women to exchange information and support one another, was in the building and shared the following five power networking tips:
1. Find common ground.
2. Keep your elevator speech brief.
– Know who you’re speaking to and know how to help them.
3. Be authentic, but mirror the person you’re talking to.
– E.g., if the person you’re speaking to is analytical, dig deeper into providing numbers.
4. In group settings, connect with everyone.
– Branch out. Get out of your comfort zone.
5. Always leave with a way to help that person.
– Make sure to create the opportunity to reconnect.
– Before parting ways: “It was great meeting you. How can I help you?”
YWCA Chicago CEO Dorri McWhorter echoed that sentiment.
“To fully unlock the potential of women, look around within your own industry to find out who you can reach out to. Also, fully optimize your capabilities byvoting and consciously spending your dollars through companies that support women.”
How you can help
To join in on the initiative to support other women, visit the following websites respectively to find out how you can contribute sponsorship, content, talent or otherwise meet the needs of the following service organizations and brands:
#Chicagonista Live! Show (Contact; sponsor a show): www.chicagonistalive.com
Women Driving Excellence: www.womendrivingexcellence.com
Cook County Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office (Volunteer and Employment opportunities): www.statesattorney.org/employment.html
Chicago Police Department (Volunteer Programs): www.bit.ly/1znMkOm
Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response (Volunteer): www.bit.ly/1MxrZPH
YWCA Metropolitan Chicago (Volunteer or Donate): www.ywcachicago.org
Janet Davies Media: www.janetdaviesmedia.com
A Perfect Event: www.debililly.com
You have a whole year to get yourself WDE-ready, so visit the Women Driving Excellence website to submit your nomination: www.womendrivingexcellence.com
The Chicago Auto Show ends Sunday, February 22. Tickets are $12 for adults; $6 for children (ages 7-12) and senior citizens (age 62+).