Brava to the Women in Automotive board! They’ve done it again, while still making the content and discussions even better than last year.

Subi Gosh, Christy Roman, and the whole team put their all into this conference and it truly shows. From the networking opportunities, workshops, main stage panels, the sponsors, and even the location, this conference brings all the feels—and when it’s over, you wish you had another three days.

Here are some of my favorite takeaways, and stories, from attending WIA:

Networking Opportunities

The first day kick-off was the opportunity to attend a speed networking session for two hours. Think of speed dating, but with a bunch of career-driven women.

What a great way to start a conference. It allowed attendees to walk into the following days knowing names and faces. I had the pleasure of meeting Mary Bricknell, a women’s leadership mentor and entrepreneur, who travels all over conducting trainings and speaking on behalf of building women up in the workplace. She also serves as mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs.

Then, I met a woman who runs BDC at her dealership, and even paid her own way to be able to get to this conference to learn how to advance herself and keep moving forward. If that’s not taking a seat at the table, then I don’t know what is! I also had some one-on-one time with Bobbie Herron and Jennifer Briggs. It’s great to talk to those who have been in auto their whole life finding advancements and opportunities, whether it’s dealer side or vendor side. If there are two women who can really show you all that auto can provide, it’s Bobbie and Jennifer.

Keynote Speakers

The keynotes were so dynamic this year, and all brought their own sense of creativity to public speaking—which as a speaker is great to see and learn from. I sat next to Nicki, a dealer from Vermont, who happened to stumble upon this conference when she sold a car to a woman who told her she should look into it. I told her she sat next to the wrong person, because I may have introduced her to 20 people and shared her story with everyone—how great is that? All by word of mouth, and rocking her career, she got herself to a great conference with the help of a customer.

Interactive Workshops

All the workshops brought on a sense of interacting to them, where attendees were grouped into pairs to work on projects, whether they were creative briefs from Brent Wees or brainstorming with Katie Mares. The days were jammed-packed with content, and enough breaks to be able to talk about what we learned, as well as share success stories with each other. Was happy to attend most of the conference sessions with Crystal Russo from Nextup and Julie Ingram from Lithia Toyota of Abilene. I enjoyed special times at dinner with the Car Wars and CarNow teams, as well.

In addition, it was really cool to meet Lynn Schultz Kehoe who is the Founder and CEO of Shift Up Now, which is an amateur female race team showing girls and women how to gain courage and confidence, while empowering them on the road. This is a great organization that is helping young woman excel on racetracks. Learn more about them here.

The conference ended with Lisa Copeland, and there’s no better way to end a conference. If there’s one person who can motivate you to start selling yourself, and what you stand for, it’s Lisa. I’m so inspired by her journey, and drive to help others succeed.

Final Thoughts

The Women in Automotive conference is not one to miss. I had a great couple of days in Orlando, and highly recommend you and your team attending the next event. The conversations and camaraderie of this event will leave a lasting impression on your network and circle; I mean, name me another conference where I can get glammed with Maria Espinoza from Dealer eProcess while talking about career life. I’ll wait…

Thank you again to the Women in Automotive board for making this possible, and for giving me a platform to share my knowledge of social media advertising!

To see my Women in Automotive presentation, click here

About the Author

Denise Casagrande is an enthusiastic Social Media Director at PCG. When she's not tweeting, posting and sharing, you can find her at the beach or the local yoga studio.