Nearly 100 of the car wash industry’s high-performing and high-potential women and the people who support them gathered for the first ICA Women’s Leadership Experience, held Nov. 14-15 in Chicago.
“It was amazing to see women come together and share our experiences in a judgement free space,” said Lacey Curry, Car Wash Leader for Royal Farms Car Wash. “I can't wait until next year.”
The event kicked off with an evening welcome reception to provide attendees with an opportunity to connect with one another and set the tone for the event.
“We all experience very similar things,” said Danni Reeves, Multi-Site Manager for Breeze Thru Car Wash. “To have those open conversations and meet others in the industry is a great opportunity. I’ve had more of a learning opportunity here than I have at a lot of shows I’ve attended.”
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Attendees were part of a full day of focused education content focused on issues and solutions for women in the car wash industry. “This has exceeded my expectations,” said Katie Balash, President and CEO of Vaughan Industries. “To see nearly 100 people at the inaugural event reflects that the industry needs this sort of education.”
Education featured sessions on Attracting and Retaining Women in the Car Wash Industry, Differences in Gender Communication Styles, and a facilitated panel of female leaders in the industry. “The speakers were an inspiration as to what women can achieve if they work for it and do not let anyone say they can’t,” said Zips Multi-Site Manager Rebecca Maass.
According to ICA, this event was just a starting point. “Based on the feedback we’re already receiving, we’re already looking at ways to extend the experience,” said ICA Chief Operating Officer Claire Moore. “We’re excited for the opportunity to bring this segment of the industry together.”
“I think this is out on the world stage right now,” said Dorielle Birnkrant, Vice President of PetroCal Associates. “An event like this is starting to shine light in our own industry and help us step out of those [traditional] stereotypes and make sure we’re educated and empowered and proving ourselves in a way that gets respect from both coworkers and clients alike.”