Special Events Offered for Women at the Show

SEMA Member News—January/February 2016

Special Events Offered for Women at the Show

  Athena Woman of the Year

Rose Kawasaki (left) of Exports International and the immediate past chair of the SBN was presented with the Athena Woman of the Year award by Erin Gilhuly, the network’s current chair.


The SEMA’s Businesswomen’s Network (SBN) hosted a slate of enriching events at the 2015 SEMA Show. The SBN believes in empowering the women of the automotive aftermarket industry. During the Show, SBN members and aspiring members attended a variety of events that ranged from networking mixers to educational seminars and meetings designed to inspire today’s youth. Three influential SBN members were also recognized for their work in the automotive aftermarket industry.

Athena Woman of the Year: Rose Kawasaki of Exports International

Rose Kawasaki has served the leadership of the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network for the last 10 years, from select-committee member and chairing the Mustang build committee to the SBN chair. Kawasaki defines the criteria for the Athena Woman of the Year award perfectly. Her continued dedication to the success and growth of the SBN is remarkable. She has volunteered endless hours to promote programs benefiting women and mentoring young women coming into the industry. During that time, she has run her own very successful automotive exports business, helping many SEMA members sell and ship their products abroad.

Athena Champion: Nan Gelhard of Summit Racing

Nan Gelhard is also a true champion of women. She created “In the Know With a Cup of Joe,” one of the best programs highlighting the knowledge that women bring to the industry, and she is always the first to step forward to offer what she can for the betterment of not only women but also anything industry-wide. Her company supports her participation in car builds by women, and she has spearheaded many builds with that spirit in mind. Although termed off of the SBN select committee, she continues to work on projects that champion women in the industry.

Athena Rising Star: Kirstin Stone of Reaction Time Marketing

SBN Rising Star
Kirstin Stone (center) of Reaction Time Marketing was recognized with the Athena Rising Star award. SBN Chair Erin Gilhuly (left) and Chair-Elect Camee Edelbrock presented the honor.

Kirstin Stone is a motivated sales and marketing executive with global experience in the automotive aftermarket. She is passionate about fast cars, high-quality go-fast parts and moving the industry forward. Stone is a dedicated volunteer of both SEMA’s SBN and the Young Executives Network, and she speaks regularly at her college and at high schools about career paths in our industry. She demonstrates all of the qualities of the Athena Rising Star award!

SBN Reception

Women of the automotive specialty-equipment industry gathered at the SBN reception to catch up with old friends and make new business connections through networking. The event provided a relaxed, enjoyable atmosphere featuring a sommelier who introduced wines with unique pairings. An illusionist provided live entertainment for the guests throughout the evening, and the reception had its largest turnout yet!

Education Seminars

SBN education seminars provided attendees with practical business takeaways. These seminars were for women only and featured powerful keynote speeches addressing relevant topics and challenges that women face in the automotive aftermarket industry. Topics included:

  • Communication Roadmap for Men and Women
  • How Expectations Are Changing the Sales Experience for Millennial Women
  • Women in Business: Shattering the Glass Ceiling

Gear-Up Girl

Today’s youth are tomorrow’s future. SBN’s Gear-Up Girl event is designed to connect female students who hold aspirations of a career in the automotive aftermarket industry with influential female industry leaders. This was the fourth annual Gear-Up Girl event that the SBN has hosted, and it was, as always, a highly anticipated event. The students discussed their goals and challenges and received feedback from numerous current industry professionals.

Rate this article: 
Average: 1.5 (2 votes)