Event Recap: 2015 Women’s Automotive Academy

Our inaugural Women’s Automotive Academy was a huge success – we had over 50 entrepreneurs & small business owners in attendance for a day of learning, networking, and getting their businesses prepared to break into the automotive industry.

Business owners have a unique advantage in Tennessee, which is ranked 1st in automotive manufacturing strength. There are so many opportunities to participate in this industry and we spent the day learning how to capitalize on this fact.

Check out the full gallery on the Pathway Women’s Business Center Facebook page.

Thanks to our speakers!

Our keynote speaker, Toni D. Cooley, President of Systems Companies shared some incredible insights on what it takes to be a successful supplier.  As a second generation business owner she gave some words of wisdom, encouraging the attendees to “rid yourselves of your own demons…it’s not how you got the business, but what you did with the business that matters at the end of the day. You simply have to get rid of those hang-ups that are causing you to not be successful.”

Our OEM Panelists, Suzanne Frakes of Nissan North America, Inc and Matt Green of Toyota Motor Engineering, gave advice on building relationships in the industry and its supply chain. While there are many opportunities for businesses to break into the auto industry, it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to get to know the business, understand their culture, and build relationships so that when an opportunity arises you are at the top of the list.

WBEC Certification Coordinator, Joanelle Bradley, walked attendees through the process of getting their Women’s Business Enterprise certification, a useful tool that can help open doors.

Suppliers, Andre Gist (MIG), Sue Heldson (TFT Global, Inc.), and Joan LaGrasse (Imagen, LLC) talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly of being a supplier.


Thanks to our Academy Sponsors!

WAA 2015 Partner Logo Collage3