Inside report from the 5th Women in Car Wash conference
Even though the car wash industry seems to be a male-dominated environment, things are slowly changing for the better. Last month, the annual conference Women in Car Wash held it’s fifth birthday in sunny Florida. Carwashpro.com asked organizer Brenda Johnstone to write us a small report of the event and gather some reactions.
More than 65 women (and a few men) recently came together in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the 5th Women in Carwash™ Conference. They laughed, learned and networked for three days straight.
On the opening day, guests met and shared a cocktail before enjoying a dinner before a special presentation hosted by Connie-Lee Bennett. She’s the CEO and Founder of Meraki Training Academy, and offered an inspiring talk about Authentic Leaders… Now is Your Time to Stand on the Centre Stage of Your Life.
Tuesday moved on to the Authentic Female Leaders of Tomorrow. We learned about being authentically who we are with Clarity, Confidence, and Charisma. What a fabulous and eye-opening start to the day. They spent the rest of the day learning about PI/Executive Alignment, Employee Evaluation, and The Power of Story to Change Your Business and Your Life, and concluded with Carwash Chemicals 101.
To end the day, guests boarded a coach and set off for a murder mystery dinner theatre event where five guests had been unknowingly incorporated into the plot.
On the third and final day of the conference, Carla Thompson kicked off with a topic about building a Mentorship program within your company. She focused on the Importance of Female Mentorship & Mentoring Programs in a Male-Dominated Industry. Gretchen Matthews hosted Writing Anything, Anyone can Read, and the conference sessions concluded with a very interesting session on Carwash Insurance Basics.
One significant aspect of the Women in Carwash™ conference is the camaraderie. Businesses are left at the door, and the attendees talk, learn, laugh, and build a community from within.
The organisation asked why a company would send their female employees to attend the Women in Carwash™ conference. These are some of the answers. “We believe this is a great way for the women who work at our company to connect with other women they are trying to serve”, says John Tobias of Kleen-Rite. “In a mostly male-dominated industry, there are a lot of successful women in the car washing business at all levels. We want to celebrate that and have the women in our company connect with them.”
“My first Women in Carwash™ conference has been an overwhelmingly positive experience”, says Kleen-Rite employee Shannon. “I have had the opportunity to meet and network with the many amazing women forging paths to success in this industry. I’ve gained some wonderful insight and resources to help build up my fellow car wash ladies while encouraging more women to join us in the ever-evolving world of car washing.”
“I enjoyed the Women in Carwash™ conference. A little of every session spoke deep into my heart”, says Maria Gonzalez of GO Car Wash when asked about her experience. “I’m returning to my job with much more knowledge that I wasn’t sure that I had within myself.”
Before Covid changed the world, Women in Carwash™ hosted a contest where women from across the country were to send the organisation a story sharing why they deserved to win a trip for two to the next Women in Carwash™ conference. Kelly Moroz from Dauphin Co-op in Manitoba, Canada, won the contest by unanimous decision. “I did not know what to expect when I came to my first in-person conference, but I am already blown away”, Kelly beams when asked for a first reaction. “Everyone has been so welcoming. And we are not just talking about work but our lives. The speakers are so knowledgeable, and they keep you interested and make you think and reflect. I like that I can take this information to help me back at work and home.”
A similar reaction comes from Barbie DeLeeuw from California-based Quick Quack Car Wash. “I highly recommend the woman of carwash for up-and-coming new female leaders in the car wash industry. It is a great place to network with other women across the country.”
Have your say
Speakers who presented their knowledge-based educational sessions during the Women in Carwash™ conference offered attendees an opportunity to hear what they had to say. So they could take away information that can be utilized in their daily work lives and build their careers by incorporating new ideas and methods. Of course, there are new relationships and friendships from whom to draw experiences and information too.
“I thoroughly enjoyed every single guest speaker, making connections, meeting vendors and owner/operators”, says Melissa Pirkey of Assured Partners Insurance looking back on the last three days. “I can honestly say this is by far one of the BEST conferences I’ve had the pleasure of participating in.”
The good news is, you don’t have to wait a full year to be a part of the Women in Carwash™ experience. The 6th edition of the conference is scheduled for the coming summer and will be held in Canada between June 20 – 22, at the Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
If you are interested in joining the conference and would like more information, please visit womenincarwash.com.
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