Inaugural WIP Conference: A Pivotal Moment for Women in Parking
Flash forward to the inaugural WIP conference March 19-20 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare hotel in suburban Chicago, and many would be in awe at how the organization has developed into a national body of collective voices offering a variety of resources to its membership.
The Women In Parking Inaugural Conference marked a historic achievement for the parking professional organization. Besides attracting a record attendance of more than 100 and garnering rave reviews (see Sidebar), the successful presentation of the conference served as a solid template for the organization’s future conferences.
An opening dinner reception March 19 launched the start of the conference, with a full evening of networking among 140 attendees. WIP Executive Director Ruth Beaman and Chairperson Colleen Niese led the celebration of accomplishments and welcoming of its new leadership board. Other members who took to the podium included original WIP supporter John Van Horn, Editor of Parking Today, and Board Member Alan Lazowski, CEO of Laz Parking, and the conference sponsors.
The formal conference on the following day consisted of professional development speakers and a panel discussion from the new board members. Topics of discussion and seminars covered “Gender Trends in the Workplace,” “Promoting Female Diversity Within a Company” and “Unlocking Secrets of Sales & Negotiation.”
While easy to get engrossed in the fluster of activity, members did not lose sight of the more important goal of the meeting itself – that the Inaugural Conference was a pivotal moment in parking history. Attendees understood the importance of being present for the conference and being part of a movement that could redefine the industry.
The goal of the annual conference was not only for members to network and hone their business development skills, but also to help propel parking to new heights through WIP. While there were many takeaways from the seminars, all agreed that the success of the event was attributed to the conference’s ability to distinguish a clear sense of the past, present and future direction for the organization.
Past: Making History and
Redefining the Organization
It was important that a part of the conference was dedicated to recognizing the progress of the organization and, more important, the evolution of women in the parking industry. Speaker Julie Winterich’s seminar on “Gender Trends in the Workplace” put into perspective a summary of the history of female roles in the workforce compared with the shift in dynamics today. Executive Director Beaman also shared her career path in the industry and how her role has changed, even referencing industry jargon such as “booth babes.” The overall enthusiasm for the advancement of women in parking set forth an optimistic mood for the rest of the conference.
Present: Networking and Mentoring
One of the key attractions to the conference – and arguably to any event – had to do with networking among members. From industry newcomers to seasoned parking professionals, members from all disciplines found the setting to be most welcoming for open discussion. The WIP conference opened the doors for members to share information and to provide a variety of resources to one another.
Future: The Possibilities
are Waiting to be Discovered
In accordance with its “Discover the Possibilities” theme, the inaugural conference served as a platform to encourage members to take advantage of the organization’s benefits. It is imperative that members must be able to apply the knowledge learned from the conference in their workplace. Within the course of this year, meetings will take place, relationships and careers will flourish, and business growth will be generated among WIP members. Many upcoming membership benefits are scheduled for the rest of the year, and hopefully the conference motivated members to take advantage of the opportunities.
The quality of Women In Parking’s inaugural conference was said to have exceeded the expectations of even the organization’s founders. Familiar faces will return to next year’s conference, but it is the organization’s hope that those who missed this year will be able to join next year.
WIP looks forward to making the conference not only an annual tradition, but more important, a lasting legacy and experience for all members in the parking industry.
Tiffany Yu, a Marketing Specialist at Scheidt & Bachmann, joined Women In Parking shortly after her start at the company in March 2013. Last November, she was elected Secretary to the WIP Leadership Board.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.