Monday, February 11, 2019

PHOTO RECAP: The Chicago Auto Show and 3rd Annual What Drives Her Luncheon

ChiIL Mama's Adventures at the
2019 Chicago Auto Show 
and 3rd Annual 
"What Drives Her" 
Luncheon and Networking Event

All Photos by Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

I've been attending The Chicago Auto Show since the early 90's and covering it during the media preview days for a decade. 2019 was no exception. I was pleased to partner up again with the Chicago Auto Show organizers, A Girls Guide to Cars, and Women in Automotive on coverage. One highlight was the What Drives Her luncheon and networking event during the show's Media Preview on Friday, Feb. 8 at McCormick Place. I covered the first two What Drives Her events as well, and they've always been informative and inspiring.

Check out live streams and photo recaps on social media from the What Drives Her luncheon & panel by searching the event hashtag #WDH2019. I was live streaming and covering the event on social media in real time with a host of other top bloggers.

The overarching theme this year focused on the major shifts that are taking place in the automotive industry, including the ways that women are shaping its evolution. 

"General Motors CEO Mary Barra is often quoted as saying the auto industry will see more change in the next five years than the last 50," said Autotrader Executive Analyst Michelle Krebs. "Whether it is five years or more, the shift towards electric and autonomous vehicles as well as new ways to acquire personal transportation is occurring now, generating tremendous opportunities for creative women to reinvent what has been a male-dominated business." 

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. It was a pleasure to see so many influential women come together to highlight industry trends and share personal experiences surrounding the impact that females have on the automotive industry. 

Check Out My Full Set of 2019 Chicago Auto Show Photos Below
ChiIL Mama's Photo Recap from the media previews Thursday and Friday are here in the slideshow with favorites embedded below

"Women buy or influence 85 percent of all vehicle purchases and hold the keys to $450 billion in spending each year, yet the biggest challenge is educating them as consumers and users of new technology," said Scotty Reiss, founder of A Girls Guide to Cars. "The most powerful way to change this is by engaging them as employees, leaders and innovators."

Autotrader's Krebs moderated the first panel discussion surrounding how females are driving change in the auto industry. Panelists include Jessica Petty, manager of customer data analytics, Hyundai; Jeneen Rippey, vice president of global quality, electronics division, ZF; and Edie Wines, instructor, National Automobile Dealers Association.

My live stream is below, featuring ANA's female-focused #SeeHer initiative as well as the second panel discussion topic, "Work, Life and Creating Balance While Building a Career". 

Live Streamed Above:
Between the first and second panel discussions, Leah Marshall, director, influencer marketing, with the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), presented ANA's female-focused #SeeHer initiative. I found this particularly compelling, as a mother of a 15 year old daughter. Initiatives like this give me hope that the next generation will finally achieve more relatable and positive female centered images in media, and maybe even gender parity and equality Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Newman moderated the panel of women including Kathy Gilbert, global director of sales & business development, CDK; Laurie King, SVP, global operations & strategic solutions, Turtle Wax; Subi Ghosh, senior director of dealer strategy, Stream Companies; Lauren Brandt, Facebook client solutions manager and Returnity Project co-founder; and Kerri Wise, vice president, industry education and relations, TrueCar.

The What Drives Her event continues to be one example of how Chicago Auto Show organizers actively engage the female demographic. Foresight Research reports the Chicago Auto Show has an almost even split of male and female attendees: 45 percent of which are female.  

"As the nation's largest consumer auto show, one can argue the Chicago Auto Show is the perfect place to assess trends - not just locally but on a national level as well," said Kelly Webb Roberts, a board member for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, producer of the Chicago Auto Show. "We're thrilled to continue to host this event to bring together some of the most influential women in the industry who are at the forefront of this change."

Event sponsors include Autotrader, Facebook, Hyundai, Lot Linx, TrueCar, Turtle Wax and ZF. 

For more information on the 2019 Chicago Auto Show, please visit

About the Chicago Auto Show
The Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show in North America, spanning more than 1 million square feet of production, concept and exotic vehicle exhibit space. In addition to hosting multiple world and North American vehicle debuts, the Chicago Auto Show's First Look for Charity raises more than $2.5 million annually for 18 vital Chicago organizations in a single night. The 2019 public show is Feb. 9-18. For more information, visit or

About the Chicago Automobile Trade Association
Founded in 1904, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association is one of the nation's largest metropolitan dealer organizations. It is comprised of more than 420 franchised new-car dealers and an additional 150 allied members. The group's dealer members employ about 19,000 people in the metropolitan area. The association has produced the world-famous Chicago Auto Show since 1935. For more information please visit

About Turtle Wax
The Turtle Wax story started with the launch of the first-ever liquid auto polish in 1944. Nearly 75 years later, the Most Innovative Brand in Car Care(tm) is still capturing the attention of the auto appearance category as the No. 1 selling brand in spray wax, car wash, carpet & fabric care, and more. With product distribution in more than 90 countries, the Turtle Wax brand resonates around the globe, but the brand's heart remains in its hometown of Chicago, where award-winning innovation is developed to this day. For an inside look at the brand's breakthrough product development process and how Turtle Wax supports car culture worldwide, visit

Photo Favorites From the 2019 
Chicago Auto Show 

Disclosure: I have been compensated for sharing this information with my readers and covering The Chicago Auto Show media preview days. As always, all opinions are my own.

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