Chicago Auto Show’s Sixth Annual ‘What Drives Her’ Networking Event and Awards Program To Be Held Feb. 10, Finalists Announced

CHICAGO, February 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Chicago Auto Show organizers, in partnership with A Girls Guide to Cars and Women in Automotive, are proud to announce the sixth annual What Drives Her networking event and awards program during the show’s media preview Friday February 10th at McCormick Place.

This year’s event once again brings together influential women in the automotive industry and focuses on the ways women are leading the electric vehicle (EV) revolution. In addition, the What Drives Her Awards program will recognize women and advocates in the industry.

“It’s been wonderful to see how this event has grown over the past six years and how it continues to expand the recognition and awareness we bring to the powerful women who are making a positive difference in the auto industry,” she said Kelly Webb RobertsVice Chair of the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, Producer of the Chicago Auto Show.

“The sheer number of nominations for the award and the diversity of the nominees this year was overwhelming,” said A Girls Guide to Cars Founder and What Drives Her Co-Founder Scotty Reiss. “It shows that there is a shared value in the effort to bring new and diverse people into the auto industry and that there are many really great people leading our industry.”

The event will open with a panel discussion on the topic of women behind the EV revolution, moderated by Cars Media Solutions, VP of Julia Scott. Speakers on this panel include Chris FilllCEO of the Chrysler brand; Kathy GilbertCDK Global Senior Director, Minority Dealer and Women Retail; Melissa Washington, ComEd SVP of Customer Operations; and Linda WhiteBMW director for government and foreign affairs.

Event organizers reintroduced the What Drives Her awards to recognize and celebrate outstanding women and advocates in the industry. Nominations were submitted by people in the industry, including automakers, suppliers, media and dealers. The top-class jury consists of female automobile journalists.

The finalists have now been selected for the following categories.

Rising Star: Employed by an automaker, auto dealer, or core automotive supplier; job title no higher than Vice President; works mainly in North America; She can be notable for her empowerment of others, breaking down barriers that allow others to follow, striving for non-traditional roles or jobs, leadership, and taking on additional roles such as leading a staff resource group or mentoring program .

Natasha AdamsMechanic, YouTube and Instagram influencer
Shauna SichiGeneral Motors Western Communications
Crystal WindhamExecutive Director, Global Industrial Design, General Motors

Other nominees are Sylvia Lopez NavarroNational Manager, Brand Experience, Corporate Events and Shows, Kia America; and Shelley PrattDirector of Marketing Communications and Media, Infiniti United States of America.

Best in Craft Media: Employed as a full-time or part-time journalist for North America, content or media creator with a focus on the automotive industry; demonstrate general excellence of the craft; Create work that explores the role of women in the automotive industry, or create more accessible automotive information and richer automotive storytelling through voice and narration.

Emma Hallself-employed
Elana Scherrcar and driver
Kristin Shawself-employed

Other nominees are Elizabeth SchwarzstockJalopnik, freelance writer, author; Teia Collier, Dallas single parentsself-employed; Eileen Falkenburg-HullNewsweek; Lauren FixThe auto trainer; Lilly MoralesAuthor, Photographer, Jersey Fashionista, Femme Drive, Freelancer; Elizabeth St John, TheCarMom, TheCarPool Podcast; and Dawn Thigpen-GibsonSassy Auto Chick, Femme Drive.

Automobile Ally: A new award for What Drives Her this year, the Automotive Ally Award, recognizes an individual who provides ongoing support, coaching, advocacy, education and understanding, and helps create opportunities for others as they build their careers in the automotive industry . This award is open to any executive, executive, manager or anyone else inside or outside of the automotive industry and reflects the impact that individual has on the industry, both individuals and organizations.

Emily MillerFounder, Rebel Rally
Jennifer NeumanEditor-in-Chief,
Wendy OrthmanGeneral Manager, Marketing, Genesis

Other nominees are Nena BarlowFounder, Barlow Adventures; Elgie HellChair, Automotive Marketing and Management, Northwood University; dean caseCommunications Consultant, Motivo Engineering; Julia Conlinsenior content and communications specialist, Continental Tire; Deborah GriebMarket Research Manager, AutoPacific; Cheryl ThompsonCEO and Founder, Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion and Advancement; Nicole Santana, Account Director, The Axis Agency; and Sabrina YuanVP Strategy, Cariad by VW.

Best Dealer: Employed at a Chicago-Representing the area, this person shows a high level of commitment and energy for every task at hand, be it in sales, service or technical support.

Gabrielle Abinion, General Manager, Fox Valley Volkswagen
Soledad RomeroGeneral Manager, Romeoville Toyota
Carly Wakefinancial manager, Elgin Kia

Other nominees are Christina Baker, Dealer Partners, Rod Baker Ford; Linda Jacobs, Dealer Manager, Bill Jacobs Motorsport; Tina Pade, controller, Arlington Toyota; and Danielle WestHuman Resources Manager/Operations Manager, Fox Valley Volkswagen Buick-GMC.

Awards will be presented during the Chicago Auto Show media preview during a morning pastry and coffee reception Friday February 10th from 8-9:30 a.m on the main stage in the Grand Concourse Lobby, just outside the North Hall. Pre-registration for What Drives You Friday February 10th is required. Please click here to register. Attendees are encouraged to use the event hashtag #WhatDrivesHer when posting to social media.

The What Drives Her program and awards will be streamed live courtesy of Reuters Events Automotive. You can watch live at this link:

Event sponsors include and CDK Global.

For more information about the 2023 Chicago Auto Show, visit Media can visit for more information or to register for media credentials.

About the Chicago Auto Show
The Chicago Auto Show, first held in 1901, is the longest-running auto show in the United States North America. The show is produced by the Chicagoland Automobile Trade Association, which has held the show since 1935. The public show 2023 is 11-20 February at McCormick Place. For more information and the latest updates, visit or

About the Chicago Automobile Trade Association
Founded in 1904 and based in Oakbrook Terrace, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association is made up of more than 400 new car dealership franchises and an additional 150 affiliated members. The group’s dealer members employ approximately 19,000 people in the metro area. The association has organized the world-famous Chicago Auto Show since 1935. Visit for more information.

SOURCE Chicago Auto Show

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